It’s a classic social media dilemma: You wake up to see your friend tagged you in a new photo. You will look at the message. The light has washed you away, you don’t know what you’re doing with your hands, and your smile is painful, like you’re waving to an enemy who just passed you in the grocery line. Your friend, unwittingly you hope, has put you in a terrible situation.
All of this just happened to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Except the parody was captured, so we could all cringe, on the cover of VogueFebruary issue.
This is not a criticism of Harris’ appearance, or his ubiquitous style, nothing to do here all black. Her style for the cover, photographed by Tyler Mitchell, matches the story she continues to tell us through her clothes, which radiate unpretentious warmth.
As a politician, Harris works overtime to make it clear that dress is not her purpose. And so she often wears jeans, tailored blazers and for a touch of personality, Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers. (The Daily Beast’s Brooke Leigh Howard wrote a great article on what Harris wearing Timberland boots meant to her as a black woman.)
According to Vogue, the pink and green background of the cover is “inspired by [the colors] from his college sorority Howard. In theory, it’s a nice nod to Harris’ background and a visual representation of his historic victory.
But in execution, there’s Harris, dressed casually, looking like a human resources rep who just laid off half of her staff, offering those who stay a dovish pizza.
The problem is the background and the layout. It is, sad to say, an optical blanc-manger, a poorly designed mess. The pink sheet does not look lush, it looks like it was thoughtlessly thrown on the green background. Harris, through no fault of her own, is sort of lost in this rough sea. The portrait does not meet the moment, and Harris deserved much more.
But what does “more” mean? Powerful women will always be scrutinized for the clothes they choose. Hillary Clinton came under fire for her expensive wardrobe during her 2016 presidential run, including a plucked $ 12,495 Armani jacket for an inequality speech. Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, served as a style consultant for this failed campaign.
Four years, a presidency, and a devastating pandemic later, Wintour and his crew – and possibly Harris herself – want to project austerity when it comes to Harris. It all makes sense. Giving Harris a full glamor team and designer choices would draw criticism, especially from those on the right who like to scream needlessly about things like that. Maybe the idea wasn’t to give them one more reason to attack Harris, even though they will anyway.
And yet the way the creative team went – so lifeless and anemic, as if Harris was welcoming you to a weird abandoned fabric store – is simply depressing. All of this speaks to the desperate outlook Harris will have to contend with over the next four years.
The coverage was first posted by journalist Yashar Ali, who noted on Twitter that “this is not the coverage the vice president-elect’s team were expecting.” He showed a different and more stately portrayal of Harris in a powder blue suit, American flag tie, and full rash.
This blow will be Voguethe digital cover of, and that was the cover tweeted by Mitchell on Sunday morning; no sign of a weird, draped dud.
A representative for Vogue confirmed to the Daily Beast that the wrong cover was the one that was printed. The spokesperson did not comment on the case regarding Ali’s claims that Harris’s team had approval for the cover and were blinded by the last-minute change.
Sunday afternoon, Vogue had published the two portraits on his Instagram and Twitter feeds. The profile of Alexis Okeowo’s future vice president had been posted on the glossy’s website, and the more confident photo of Harris in his blue suit was his main image. We feel a step back from Vogue. Unfortunately, it’s too late for the print magazine itself, which will soon hit newsstands.
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