Vogue Paris, a French-American Affair

Founded in the United States, Vogue magazine launched its French edition in 1920. Vogue Paris, a leading publication often referred to as “the bible of fashion,” is now celebrating its 100-year anniversary with an exhibition at the Palais Galliera in Paris.
Guy Bourdin, “Youth Beauty Bulletin: Rush on Red,” Vogue Paris, May 1970. © The Guy Bourdin Estate 2021, courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery

Apart from the Occupation, nothing has ever prevented the publication of Vogue Paris. Every month since June 1920, the magazine owned by the American group Condé Nast has been making and breaking trends, driven by a squadron of artists, illustrators, stylists, and visionaries. If the title has rooted a certain idea of French fashion and the figure of the Parisian woman in the collective imagination, it is mainly thanks to an international, cooperative effort.

Vogue Paris appeared eleven years after the acquisition of Vogue, then a weekly society gazette, by the American lawyer and publisher Condé Montrose Nast (he also launched a British version in 1916). The early days of the magazine, affectionately nicknamed “Frog,” a contraction of “French” and “Vogue,” were marked by transatlantic interaction. Edna Woolman Chase, editor in chief of the American edition, regularly visited her French counterparts and participated in the magazine’s creative frenzy. In the 1920s, the American couturier Main Rousseau Bocher took over the Parisian editorial team before launching his own fashion house. Sixty years later, Joan Juliet Buck – the first and, so far, the only American woman to have helmed the French magazine – continued this tradition of exchange.

René Gruau, Lanvin-Castillo suit, Revillon dress, Vogue Paris, March 1957. © Société Réné Gruau
David Bailey, Catherine Deneuve, Vogue Paris, May 1966. © David Bailey
Mario Sorrenti, “Paris mon amour,” Vogue Paris, August 2012. © Mario Sorrenti/Paris Musées, Palais Galliera

Issue after issue, Vogue Paris has become a reference in terms of elegance and style. A true art object. On its glossy pages every month, readers discover illustrations by Tom Keogh and René Gruau and photographs by Henry Clarke, Lee Miller, Horst P. Horst, Guy Bourdin, Erwin Blumenfeld, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh, David LaChapelle, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, and Mario Testino, which shake up the aesthetic codes of fashion. This constantly evolving graphic universe continues to make the magazine famous.

In one hundred years and 1,007 covers, Vogue Paris – the oldest French fashion magazine still in business – has been able to distinguish itself by its audacity and its repertoire of artists. A recipe that has made these few cleverly bound pages a historical work worthy of a sumptuous exhibition.

Vogue Paris 1920-2020
From October 2, 2021, to January 30, 2022
Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris