Vogue 125th Anniversary: Black Cover Girls

In celebration of Vogue’s 125th year as one of the leading fashion publications in the world, the magazine compiled a group of today’s most influential models for their March 2017 cover to reflect the diverse, multifaceted images of the ‘Modern American Women.’

Vogue March 2017 125th Anniversary Shoot

Although Vogue is making an effort to depict a more inclusive image of the modern day woman, it is more important than ever to take a step back and acknowledge the group of black women who forged the way to make this inclusivity possible. These groundbreaking black models forced their way into a once unwelcoming fashion industry, making history as the first of their kind to be visible in an industry that often emphasized only one beauty standard. Fashion is often thought to be one of the most open and expressive forms of art, but ironically, it experienced one of the slowest transitions into inclusivity, with the first black woman gracing the cover of major magazines years after the diversification of other mediums, including movies and television. While the images in other mediums of entertainment may have been over-glorified in comparison to the true strife of being black in America in during these periods, fashion editorial remained as a testament to the far ways we still had left to go. From Beverly Johnson, who became the first ever African American model on the cover of Vogue to Naomi Campbell, who now boasts over 40 Vogue covers in her lifetime, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the best Black Vogue cover girls of all time.

The Game Changers

Donyale Luna, British Vogue, 1966

Donyale Luna, first black model to cover any international Vogue.

Beverly Johnson, American Vogue, 1974

Beverly Johnson was the first Black women to cover American Vogue.

Naomi Campbell, Paris Vogue, 1988

Naomi Campbell just barely lands the cover of PAris Vogue in 1988, until YSL threatened to pull his ads from the publication if they did not feature her.

The PlayMakers

Iman, Italian Vogue, 1976
Linda Spierings, 1986

Shari Belafonte, Vogue, 1982

Sheila Johnson, March 1980
Gabriella Layne

Editor-in-Chief of The Strut Magazine

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