Thursday, October 2, 2008


“Which country has the most powerful VOGUE; Italy, France or the United States"? - I have been asked this question on numerous occasions. It is a very difficult question to answer because the definition of "power" could vary from person to person. However, I am up for the challenge. Let me start off by saying that the American Vogue was the original Vogue. It is the book that initiated the Vogue brand. After which, followed by Vogue Italia and then Vogue Paris.

Vogue Italia: Vogue Italia was launched in 1964 and was one of the first magazines in Italy to put the commercial aspect of fashion to the side and bring creative, avant-garde fashion journalism to the forefront. Since 1988, the Editor-In-Chief has been Franca Sozzani; who is credited with discovering the great Steven Miesel. Vogue Italia currently has a tiny circulation of around 145,000. I must point out that you should not let the small circulation fool you. Europeans traditionally do not buy magazines in the way that American’s do. While an American magazine’s circulation can be a couple of million, It is almost non-existent for a European magazine to have a similar circulation.

Moving on, Italian Vogue tends to make its statements through startling, provocative images rather then the written word. It has been said that it is the “Top fashion magazine in the world”. For some time now, it has been considered the most inspirational Vogue in the sense of creativity. However, over the past few years, many people (especially Italians) have started to get bored with the Italian Vogue and have instead started to go to the French Vogue for inspiration.

Vogue Paris: Vogue Paris (aka French Vogue; Vogue France) was launched in 1987. Unlike American magazines, it is unconcerned with making fashion wearable or accessible to its readers. It is not inclusive: There is no advice on how to dress if you’re shaped like a pear, apple or hourglass and they don’t care about how you are going to dress when you are about to turn 50. French Vogue does not give a damn. The Editor-In-Chief for the past 7 years is the great, ever so spectacular
Carine Roitfeld; who by the way actually styles editorials for the magazine; which is FABULOUS but not common. One thing that is very interesting about Carine is how she prepares to style a fashion editorial. Traditionally, the majority of Fashion Editors and Stylists start with the clothes. They get inspired by a certain shape, color or theme within the clothing. However, Carine actually starts with the model. She looks at a model and then comes up with a story that she feels is suitable to the girl. She sort of makes a movie in her mind and continues to ask herself “Who is this girl”?

Vogue Paris currently has a SMALLER circulation than Vogue Italia; with only 133,000 copies sold monthly. However, as I said before Vogue Paris has really began to be the “go-to” publication for inspiration. Many Fashion Editors tend to find Vogue Paris the perfect blend of American Vogue and Italian Vogue; which ironically is a great blend. Italian Vogue is very creative, while American Vogue knows how to sell the “it” dress, the “it” shoe and the “it” bag. We all want magazines to be creative and to inspire us but magazines MUST also help designers sell merchandise in order to keep advertisements and in order to make money. So being somewhere in the middle of creative and commercial is great.

Vogue U.S : American Vogue was founded in 1892 and started as a bimonthly publication. It has for some time been considered the “Fashion Bible” and is either LOVED or HATED. It is EXTREMELY commercial and has received some criticism from readers on that issue. Many people feel that American Vogue demands that it reader must buy, buy, buy in order to be “in fashion”. Regardless of all, American Vogue boasts a circulation of 1. 3 million. So obviously, they are doing something right. The current Editor-In-Chief is Anna Wintour; who has been in power since 1988. Since taking over, Wintour has become what some call “The most powerful person in the Fashion industry”. She has become famous for her signature bob and her act of wearing sunglasses inside.

While American Vogue is the most powerful magazine in the United States, it tends to be only relative here in the states and not really as important in Europe.

So which is most powerful?
We have Italian Vogue, which has actually been called the “Top Fashion Magazine in the World, French Vogue, which is a perfect blend of creative and commercial fashion and then we have American Vogue, which makes the most money.

In my opinion, I believe French Vogue is the most powerful right now. Paris houses the best designers so ultimately, French Vogue get's first dibs on Dior, Chanel, YSL, Balenciaga, Commes de Garcons, etc. Also, I find it relative to all people who are interested in fashion because it has such a great balance of creative juices and commercial viability. The creative person can look at it and get inspired along with the typical consumer/shopper who can look at it specifically to buy. I love American Vogue and as many of you know Grace Coddington (Creative Director of American Vogue) tremendously inspires me. I also love Italian Vogue, but for me the French Vogue takes the cake.


  1. Merci beaucoup for your wonderful article. I have just begun researching subscriber rates to the various Vogues and this is very helpful information. I could not agree more, Vogue Paris and Carine Roitfeld rock the fashion world. Her vision is driving the fashion industry right now, it just takes a few months to filter through the channels. Two questions, do you know how "subscribers" are defined, i.e. subscription only or includes newsstand sales? Also, do you have any similar information for other Vogues such as Russia, Japan, or India?

  2. Circulation is based on paid subscriptions and newstand sales combined.

    You can email me, I will provide the other circulations to you.

    How ever, Vogue Russia has a 200,000 circulation as of now