It Wasn't Anna Wintour's Idea to Put Kim and Kanye on the Cover of 'Vogue'

It was Grace Coddington who decided to shoot them.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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It was Grace Coddington who decided to shoot them.
Photo: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

Photo: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

Vanessa Friedman is about to leave her post at the Financial Times to take on the dual role of fashion director and chief fashion critic at The New York Times next month, but before departing, she sat down for a chat with Vogue's illustrious creative director Grace Coddington for the paper's "Lunch with the FT" column. 

Coddington is never short of clever soundbites, and Friedman's interview is no exception: The 73-year-old editor doesn't shy away from opening up about body image, her current lack of inspiration in the fashion industry and her longtime colleague Anna Wintour. She also shares some interesting tidbits about the infamous Kim Kardashian and Kanye West cover story, which she — not Wintour — helped to initiate.

Coddington doesn't often work on celebrity cover shoots, because she prefers to work with models. “The clothes look better, because they are made for them. And you can ask them to do things you might not ask a celebrity to do," she says. But despite the fact that she knew the Kimye shoot would be controversial, she was the one who made the push for West and Kardashian to appear.

She tells Friedman how the couple eventually was chosen for the cover: “There was a wedding story to be done, and Anna probably had them in mind, because she had been seeing a lot of Kanye, so she said, ‘Maybe we should shoot it on lookalikes.’ And I thought, ‘Why not just do it on the real thing? This is Vogue.’ And I do think Kim Kardashian represents this moment in our culture. I’m fascinated by her, in the same way I’m fascinated by the people I see on the street or the subway.”

The shoot was so top-secret that she didn't even tell the designers involved who the featured models were — she just sent over the measurements — and says that, afterwards, all parties involved were thrilled with the end result. That's not to say there weren't haters: "I got an envelope from Texas, with the cover ripped up into little pieces inside," she tells Friedman.

Head on over to the FT for the full story — it's a great read.