How a Vogue Cover Created an Uproar Over Kamala Harris
Though it might seem, in light of all that is going on currently in Washington, D.C., the least of the matter, on Sunday a leaked shot of Vice President-elect’s Kamala D. Harris’s Vogue cover set off an unexpected firestorm.
February’s issue features Ms. Harris in a dark jacket by Donald Deal, skinny pants, Converse and her trademark pearls. She stands against a leaf green backdrop bisected by a spill of pink curtain, colors meant to evoke her Howard University sorority, caught in what seems like mid-laugh, hands clasped together at her waist.
The image was shot by Tyler Mitchell, who, in 2018, became the first Black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover (his subject was Beyoncé) and is known for his unstudied aesthetic. Though Gabriella Karefa-Johnson receives credit as the sittings editor, a.k.a. the fashion editor in charge, Ms. Harris chose and wore her own clothes. The selected photo is determinedly unfancy. Kind of messy. The lighting is unflattering. The effect is pretty un-Vogue. “Disrespectful” was the word used most often on social media.
As the maelstrom of public hot takes began to swirl, Vogue released another, more formal portrait of Ms. Harris in a powder blue Michael Kors Collection suit with an American flag pin on her lapel, her arms crossed in a sort of executive power pose against a gold curtain — the “digital cover.”