British 'Vogue' Wants You to 'Buzzfeed Your Wardrobe'—But What Exactly Does That Mean?
27 Ways This Heritage Brand Is Jumping the Shark
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
You've seen The September Issue, right? That documentary about US Vogue's landmark annual issue—the big one; the one with hundreds of pages of glossy perfection, all presided over by Anna "Nuclear" Wintour.
It paints Vogue magazine as a supremely well-oiled machine, motoring away under the hawk-like eye of Wintour as she slashes and slices features and shoots, and expressionlessly judges the new season of Jean Paul Gaultier. It illustrates Grace Coddington's knack for imaginative shoots and impeccable styling, and André Leon Talley's position of general tastemaker and spiritual icon for the brand itself. In all, it paints Vogue as a corner of publishing giant Conde Nast that, above all, prides itself on being luxuriously self-assured.
This all seems a little at odds with a feature in UK Vogue's latest issue, entitled "Buzzfeed Your Wardrobe."
It appears that the editorial team over at Vogue had a meeting to discuss the most effective way to give me an aneurysm, and holy hell they came close. It's as if the feature has been purpose-built to upset, a cruel invention by the sadistic boffins in a Room 101 type scenario. There's me, strapped to a chair, eyes Ludovico'd open, and a "PROOF THAT IT'S SUDDENLY A GOOD IDEA TO DRESS LIKE THE FLINTSTONES" sidebar forced into my field of vision:
But how does one "Buzzfeed their wardrobe"? Or perhaps the question here really is how does Vogue Buzzfeed its editorial content? Let's delve a bit deeper into this six-page mega feature.
Duvet days, am I right? A whole day spent in bed, like a grieving mother, or a hospital-ridden malaria patient. So cute! The mass-appeal intentions here are right, but these duvets just aren't Buzzfeed enough.
Sure, Fendi and Celine are cool, but where's the Adventure Time pattern? Where's the whole slanket vibe? Why are there no references to "nom noms" like pizza, or ice cream, or any other food stuffs consumed primarily by petulant children? Come on, Vogue, you're going to have to do better than that.
This is more like it. An arbitrary claim of something having the ability to change your life—something as inconsequential as, say, a dress. Don't get me wrong: That Peter Pilotto dress, with its hippie-commune-full-of-sad-acid-flashback-waifs vibe, is great. But unless the hem is filled with razor blades that slice off your legs when you try to cross the road too early, I fail to see how any lives will be changed by it.
We're in shaky territory now. You're not fooling us with that jagged white arrow pointing towards content heaven, Vogue. Deifying celebrities with "this is everything"s and "I can't even"s is Buzzfeed's bread and butter, but models who haven't even had a cocaine scandal yet? Come on.
If you want your content to buzz, you need to get the big names. We know you want to promote new young talent, Vogue, but this is no way to go viral.
That's more like it! Seven pieces to wear to make it look like you're famous when walking through an airport. Personally, when I walk through an airport—which is about once a year, if I'm lucky—the last thing I'm thinking is: What am I going to look like on the side bit of the Daily Mail website? Are people going to comment on my arm fat? It's more: That panini tasted a bit like forest fire. I don't feel so good now. Hope I don't vomit on myself over Macedonia.
But none of that matters, because there are famous people wearing clothes in these photos. Not clothes curated by a top-drawer stylist or photos taken by a gifted photographer, but crass, transient voyeurism, momentarily releasing that sweet dopamine before you move onto the next group of colors and words. C'est magnifique, Vogue!
Yes, you're doing it! You're extracting any meaning that could be garnered from this and reducing it to nothing! You're taking your heritage brand and you're pushing it through a juicer, creating a new liquid called "Lowest Common Denominator with Acai Berries." Drink it up, Vogue, you've earned it.
You get the feeling that this feature was the result of an hour's worth of silence. A meeting room of section editors, flicking ballpoint pens up and down against their molars, slouching. Then this idea gets farted into view, watches are looked at, and the go ahead is given. But it's nonsensical: It has nothing to do with Buzzfeed in any way. It's just a bunch of small collated lists, things that magazines have been doing long before BF got the monopoly on it.
You can smell the panic. A nothing, six-page feature existing purely so "BUZZFEED" can appear as a cover line, which might make someone spot it out of the corner of their eye and decide to spend $6 on it. No one goes to Vogue for bullshit internet nonsense, in the same way no one goes to Buzzfeed to stay on board with the high fashion zeitgeist.
For shame, Vogue. For shame!
Follow Joe Bish on Twitter.