Anna Wintour responds to criticism of Kamala Harris Vogue cover
© Getty Images

Anna Wintour is responding to criticism about Vogue's latest cover featuring Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden must wait weekend for State Department pick Senators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal An ally in the White House is good for abortion access, but not enough MORE, saying the magazine wasn't trying to "diminish the importance" of the California Democrat's historic win and that an informal snapshot "reflected the moment" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Obviously we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover," Wintour, Vogue's editor in chief, said in a statement to The New York Times on Tuesday.

"I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to in any way diminish the importance of the vice president-elect’s incredible victory," she added.

ADVERTISEMENT

The fashion magazine's February issue with Harris posing on the cover was assailed by critics when it was leaked online on Sunday, who slammed it as disrespectful and too casual for the country's soon-to-be first Black female vice president.

The image shows Harris, sporting her signature Converse sneakers, standing in front of a seemingly hastily assembled glossy pink and green backdrop, meant to represent her sorority's official colors.

ADVERTISEMENT

Wintour has long faced accusations of excluding Black cover models and talent from Vogue. The famed fashion editor issued an apology last year for past "mistakes" made in failing to elevate Black voices.

"We want nothing but to celebrate Vice President-elect Harris's amazing victory and the important moment this is in America's history and particularly for women of color all over the world," Wintour told The New York Times's Kara Swisher for its "Sway" podcast following the cover image backlash.

A second, more formal cover photo of a smiling Harris posing with her arms crossed in a blue suit, will reportedly be used for a digital edition of the magazine.

Wintour, a longtime Democratic fundraiser, said the coronavirus pandemic came into play amongst Vogue's editors when they decided on the photo that would grace the cover: "There was no formal agreement about what the choice of the cover would be, and when the two images arrived at Vogue, all of us felt very, very strongly that the less formal portrait of the vice president-elect really reflected the moment we were living in."

"We felt to reflect this tragic moment in global history," Wintour said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, "a much less formal picture, something that was very, very accessible, and approachable, and real, really reflected the hallmark of the Biden-Harris campaign and everything they are trying to and I'm sure will achieve."