Home » How a new editor’s Vogue cover defines a fashion era – from Anna Wintour to Chioma Nnadi

How a new editor’s Vogue cover defines a fashion era – from Anna Wintour to Chioma Nnadi

After 25 years at Vogue’s helm, Shulman resigned in 2017 and Edward Enninful, the London-born son of Ghanaian immigrants, was made editor. His version of the magazine grappled with both the weight of fashion history and the reality of post-Brexit Britain.

Model of the moment Adwoa Aboah starred on a cover which could have come straight from the 70s or 80s Vogue archives with her turban, dazzling jewellery and bold, glossy make-up. “Edward’s first cover was very beautiful with a very vintage feel of Vogue at its most classic,” notes Picardie. “When you become editor, you have to take on the legacy of your publication and with Vogue that stretches back to the late 19th century.”

Alongside the image of Adwoa was a roll call of diverse British stars, from Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell to Zadie Smith and Salman Rushdie. “This is a country built on tradition, but – much like fashion – one that is forever changing,” Enninful wrote in his editor’s letter. “The time seemed right to redefine what Vogue can mean today. To open it up. So I present to you the British Issue: a tribute to our country and to a group of people who brilliantly represent it, both at home and on the world stage. Whatever your views are on Brexit, there is surely one thing we can all agree on: we are a talented bunch.”

Chioma Nnadi – the Gen Z sweetener of 2024

British Vogue’s new editor, Chioma Nnadi, has been hailed for her cool, eclectic style and down-to-earth persona. She’s also just returned to her hometown of London after a two decades living in New York so the cover line “Fashion’s coming home” feels like as much of a personal message as a wry nod to the football anthem. 

“It’s a real statement,” says Picardie. “She’s doing something different by going outside. I love covers which are shot out of the studio and it’s very London with the taxi. Your cover credit [the designer you chose for your subject to be wearing] is very important so it’s notable that she’s chosen Loewe which is designed by Northern Irish designer JW Anderson.”

Of all the recent Vogue debuts, this is the only one to feature a known personality from beyond the fashion world. “It’s significant that Chioma has chosen a musician rather than a model,” says Picardie. “FKA Twigs is someone with a real story to tell”. She also appeals to the Gen Z readers which titles like Vogue desperately need to attract, whether they pick up a physical copy of the magazine or watch the shoot content on TikTok. 

As for the cover lines, designed to entice readers to buy the magazine, a story about parenting when you’re in an open marriage is trailed; “It’s interesting to have the nod to parenting which will appeal to older readers,” says Picardie. 

Nnadi describes FKA Twigs as an “artist who represents the ideal of the modern British eccentric: she is a shape-shifter who rejects conformity and takes real joy in clothes.” In her editor’s letter, she also says; “while much has changed in the 20 years I have been living in the US, London’s beautiful, creative, scrappy energy – one that just can’t be found or emulated anywhere else – remains undimmed.”

Against a backdrop where fashion insider gossip has swirled about the globalisation of Vogue, Nnadi’s first cover couldn’t feel more rooted in London.