‘More Is More’: Vogue Italia Raises the Bar on Inclusion With 100 September Covers

Zazie Beetz, left; Bethann Hardison; Precious Lee for Vogue Italia’s September issue.

Zazie Beetz, left; Bethann Hardison; Precious Lee for Vogue Italia’s September issue.
Screenshot: Mark Borthwick (Vogue Italia

This September, the Vogue franchise has organized around a single message: Hope, with each global iteration of the famed fashion magazine publishing its own version of what the theme means to its team. To that end, American Vogue enlisted acclaimed painters Kerry James Marshall and Jordan Casteel to create its September covers, which also featured Black subjects and designers. Meanwhile, British Vogue made activism its focus, with Black editor-in-chief Edward Enninful featuring Dr. Bernice King, Angela Davis, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Tamika Mallory, Janet Mock and more on its trifold cover.

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Well, Vogue Italia said “hold my grappa,” opting to create 100 covers this September featuring a wide swath of representation across race, age, size, and gender expression (albeit predominantly femme). And with the diversity of beauty—which spans famous and lesser-known faces—came a challenge: to tell each cover model’s story in one minute. Their stories are, at turns, inspiring, poignant, gripping, and sweet, reminding us all that cover stars are human, too.

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Pioneering models Pat Cleveland and Bethann Hardison; actors Zazie Beetz, KiKi Layne, Indya Moore; models Paloma Elsesser, Precious Lee, Binx Walton, and many more—over of a quarter of the faces Black and far more of color—each garnered their own covers for Vogue Italia’s landmark issue. Each cover star is photographed wearing black and white, and all can be seen on the magazine’s Instagram account. Editor-in-chief Emanuele Farneti explained the inspiration in a post, writing:

At times like these human beings can do one of two things: shut up or shout. Last April, when we decided to leave our cover white, we were convinced that silence was the right message of respect and reserve. Now, instead, with the onset of a new season that will in many ways be crucial, we think this is the moment to raise our voices and talk about hope and beauty. For the first time, we have shot and printed 100 covers. Each of them is dedicated to an individual protagonist. It is the portrait of a community that, having waited diligently, now finds itself making a fresh start.

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The concept was reportedly the brainchild of Creative Director Ferdinando Verderi, who added:

The idea is very simple: more is more…A challenge to the canons of quantity with which fashion has always measured itself. A celebration of diversity and uniqueness, a desire for rebirth that, once printed, becomes a collective experience…We casted 100 people with interesting stories, talented people in the most diverse fields, icons of the past, people who have nothing to do with fashion, of all ages. We then asked each of them to tell us the story of their life in a minute. A project that aims to become a document of our times.

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Vogue Italia’s September issue hit stands on August 28.

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