Vanity Fair (magazine)

Last updated

Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair Logo.svg
Editor Radhika Jones
Total circulation
First issueFebruary 1983;37 years ago (1983-02)
Company Condé Nast
CountryUnited States
ISSN 0733-8899

Vanity Fair is a monthly magazine of popular culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast in the United States.


The first version of Vanity Fair was published from 1913 to 1936. The imprint was revived in 1983 and currently includes five international editions of the magazine. As of 2018, the Editor-in-Chief is Radhika Jones.


Dress and Vanity Fair

Cover of November 1924 issue VanityFairNovember1924.jpg
Cover of November 1924 issue

Condé Montrose Nast began his empire by purchasing the men's fashion magazine Dress in 1913. He renamed the magazine Dress and Vanity Fair and published four issues in 1913. It continued to thrive into the twenties. However, it became a casualty of the Great Depression and declining advertising revenues, although its circulation, at 90,000 copies, was at its peak. Condé Nast announced in December 1935 that Vanity Fair would be folded into Vogue (circulation 156,000) as of the March 1936 issue. [1] [2]

Modern revival

Condé Nast Publications, under the ownership of S.I. Newhouse, announced in June 1981 that it was reviving the magazine. [3] The first issue was released in February 1983 (cover date March), edited by Richard Locke, formerly of The New York Times Book Review . [4] After three issues, Locke was replaced by Leo Lerman, veteran features editor of Vogue. [5] He was followed by editors Tina Brown (1984–1992) and Graydon Carter (1992-2017). Regular writers and columnists have included Dominick Dunne, Sebastian Junger, Michael Wolff, Maureen Orth and Christopher Hitchens. Famous contributing photographers for the magazine include Bruce Weber, Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino and Herb Ritts, who have all provided the magazine with a string of lavish covers and full-page portraits of current celebrities. Amongst the most famous of these was the August 1991 Leibovitz cover featuring a naked, pregnant Demi Moore, an image entitled More Demi Moore that to this day holds a spot in pop culture. [6]

In addition to its controversial photography, the magazine also prints articles on a variety of topics. In 1996, journalist Marie Brenner wrote an exposé on the tobacco industry titled "The Man Who Knew Too Much". The article was later adapted into a movie The Insider (1999), which starred Al Pacino and Russell Crowe. Most famously, after more than thirty years of mystery, an article in the May 2005 edition revealed the identity of Deep Throat (W. Mark Felt), one of the sources for The Washington Post articles on Watergate, which led to the 1974 resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon. The magazine also features candid interviews with celebrities, including a monthly Proust Questionnaire. Other notable interviews have included: Teri Hatcher, who revealed in the magazine that she was sexually abused as a child; Jennifer Aniston's first interview after her divorce from Brad Pitt; Anderson Cooper, who talked about his brother's death; and Martha Stewart's first interview after her release from prison.

Some of the pictorials in Vanity Fair have attracted criticism. The April 1999 issue featured an image of actor Mike Myers dressed as a Hindu deity for a photo spread by David LaChapelle: after criticism, both the photographer and the magazine apologized. [7]

The magazine was the subject of Toby Young's book, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People , about his search for success in New York City while working for Graydon Carter's Vanity Fair. The book was made into a movie in 2008, with Jeff Bridges playing Carter. [8] [9]

In 2005, Vanity Fair was found liable in a lawsuit brought in the UK by film director Roman Polanski, who claimed the magazine had libelled him in an article by A. E. Hotchner published in 2002. [10] The article recounted a claim by Lewis H. Lapham, editor of Harper's , that Polanski had made sexual advances towards a young model as he was travelling to the funeral of his wife, Sharon Tate, in August 1969, claiming that he could make her "the next Sharon Tate". The court permitted Polanski to testify via a video link, after he expressed fears that he might be extradited were he to enter the United Kingdom. [11] The trial started on July 18, 2005, and Polanski made English legal history as the first claimant to give evidence by video link. During the trial, which included the testimonies of Mia Farrow and others, it was proved that the alleged scene at the famous New York restaurant Elaine's could not possibly have taken place on the date given, because Polanski only dined at this restaurant three weeks later. Also, the Norwegian then-model disputed the accounts that he had claimed to be able to make her "the next Sharon Tate". [12]

Polanski was awarded £50,000 damages by the High Court in London. [13] The case was notable because Polanski was living in France as a fugitive from U.S. justice, [14] and never appeared in the London court for fear he would be extradited to the U.S. Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, responded, "I find it amazing that a man who lives in France can sue a magazine that is published in America in a British courtroom." [15]

On April 25, 2008, the televised entertainment program Entertainment Tonight reported that 15-year-old Miley Cyrus had posed topless for a photo shoot with Vanity Fair. [16] The photo, and subsequently released behind-the-scenes photos, show Cyrus without a top, her bare back exposed but her front covered with a bedsheet. The photo shoot was taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz. [17] The full photograph was published with an accompanying story on The New York Times website on April 27, 2008. On April 29, 2008, The New York Times clarified that though the pictures left an impression that she was bare-breasted, Cyrus was wrapped in a bedsheet and was actually not topless. [18] Some parents expressed outrage at the nature of the photograph, which a Disney spokesperson described as "a situation [that] was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old to sell magazines". [18] In response to the internet circulation of the photo and ensuing media attention, Miley Cyrus released a statement of apology on April 27: "I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic' and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about." [18]

In 2013, Condé Nast Entertainment struck a deal with Discovery Communications-owned cable channel Investigation Discovery for Vanity Fair Confidential, a crime and mystery documentary TV series based on stories from Vanity Fair magazine. [19] Condé Nast Entertainment launched a Vanity Fair YouTube channel in July 2013. In anticipation of its 100th anniversary that year, Vanity Fair co-produced 10 short films, one to celebrate each decade, from well-known documentary filmmakers like Barbara Kopple and including the film producer Judd Apatow, and actors Don Cheadle and Bryce Dallas Howard. [20]

In January 2014, Vanity Fair was under fire for allegedly altering the appearance of a celebrity featured in its pages for its February issue, Lupita Nyong'o, an actress known for her role in 12 Years A Slave . In Nyong’o's case, the magazine tweeted the photo and it began with fans accusing the company of altering her complexion. However, some believe that the Vanity Fair images are simply a product of bright set lighting, rather than deliberate skin lightening. Nyong'o was pleased with the work and saw no harm done to herself; she did not hold Vanity Fair or the photographer liable. Shortly before the Nyong'o case, Vogue magazine, a partner and buyer of Vanity Fair in 1936, was accused of altering actress Lena Dunham's photos. Dunham considered the modified photos to be offensive. [21] [22]

Vanity Fair launched The Hive in June 2016, its online business, politics and technology news vertical. In January 2017, Vanity Fair's Hive and Condé Nast Entertainment partnered with Cheddar online TV channel to create a live weekly series called VF Hive on Cheddar. Editor Graydon Carter called the series a "representation of how people are consuming more voraciously than ever". [23]

It was announced in November 2017 that Radhika Jones, editorial director of The New York Times books section, will succeed Carter as Editor-in-Chief on December 11, 2017. [24] [25]

In 2018, Vanity Fair received accolades for removing actor James Franco from a cover shoot following sexual harassment allegations. [26] [ citation needed ]

International editions

There are currently five international editions of Vanity Fair being published; namely in the United Kingdom (since 1991), Italy (since 2003, ISSN 1723-6673), [27] Spain (since 2008), France (since 2013), and Mexico (since 2015), with the Italian version published weekly. The British Vanity Fair was first published in 1991. [28] The Italian Vanity Fair was established in October 2003 [28] [29] and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013. [30]

Vanity Fair Germany launched in February 2007 at a cost of 50 million, then the most expensive new magazine in Germany in years and Condé Nast's biggest investment outside the United States. After circulation had plummeted from half a million to less than 200,000 per week, the German edition was shut down in 2009. [31] A French version started in June 2013. [32] The Spanish version of the magazine was first published in Spain in 2008 and it has been published monthly. [28] In April 2015 Condé Nast México y Latinoamerica was to launch Vanity Fair Mexico.


As a successor to a similar invitation-only event annually held by the late agent Irving Paul Lazar, the first Vanity Fair Oscar Party took place in 1994. [33] During its first years, the magazine's Oscar party was co-hosted by producer Steve Tisch at Morton's in West Hollywood. [34] At first, editor Graydon Carter kept the invitation list small, at around 120 for dinner. [35] Between 2009 and 2013, the party was held at Sunset Tower. [33] The 2014 edition took place in a temporary, 12,000-square-foot glass-walled structure at 8680 Sunset Boulevard. [35] Vanity Fair makes a limited number of invitations available each year for charity. [36] [37]

In recent years, Vanity Fair and Bloomberg hosted an after-party at the French ambassador's house following the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. [35]

Related Research Articles

Condé Nast (businessman) American publisher (1873–1942), founder of the eponymous publishing house

Condé Montrose Nast was an American publisher, entrepreneur and business magnate. He founded Condé Nast, a mass media company, now a subsidiary of Advance Publications, who published and maintained brands such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, and The New Yorker.

Vogue is an American monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine covering many topics including fashion, beauty, culture, living, and runway based in New York City. Vogue began as a weekly newspaper, first published based in New York City in 1892 in the United States, before becoming a monthly publication years later.

Graydon Carter Canadian-born American journalist

Edward Graydon Carter, CM is a Canadian journalist who served as the editor of Vanity Fair from 1992 until 2017. He also co-founded, with Kurt Andersen and Tom Phillips, the satirical monthly magazine Spy in 1986. In 2019, it was announced he is launching a new weekly newsletter called Air Mail, which is for "worldly cosmopolitans."

Condé Nast is a global mass media company founded in 1909 by Condé Montrose Nast, and owned by Advance Publications. Its headquarters are located at One World Trade Center in New York and The Adelphi building in London.

<i>Architectural Digest</i> magazine

Architectural Digest is an American monthly magazine founded in 1920. Its principal subject is interior design and landscaping, rather than pure external architecture. The magazine is published by Condé Nast, which also publishes international editions of Architectural Digest in China, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Mexico, and Latin America.

<i>Details</i> (magazine) American monthly mens magazine

Details was an American monthly men's magazine that was published by Condé Nast, founded in 1982 by Annie Flanders. Though primarily a magazine devoted to fashion and lifestyle, Details also featured reports on relevant social and political issues. In November 2015 Condé Nast announced that the magazine would cease publication with the issue of December 2015/January 2016.

<i>Womens Wear Daily</i> Fashion-industry trade journal

Women's Wear Daily is a fashion-industry trade journal sometimes called "the bible of fashion". WWD delivers information and intelligence on changing trends and breaking news in the men and women's fashion, beauty and retail industries with a readership composed largely of retailers, designers, manufacturers, marketers, financiers, media executives, advertising agencies, socialites, and trend makers. It is the flagship publication of Fairchild Fashion Media, which is owned by Penske Media Corporation. James Fallon is the editorial director of Fairchild Fashion and the publisher of WWD is Paul Jowdy. Its editor-in-chief is Miles Socha. The final newsprint edition of WWD was printed on April 24, 2015 as the paper switched to a digital daily format and a weekly print edition was launched on April 29, 2015.

<i>Vanity Fair</i> (magazines) Wikimedia list article

Vanity Fair has been the title of at least five magazines, including an 1859–1863 American publication, an 1868–1914 British publication, an unrelated 1902–1904 New York magazine, and a 1913–1936 American publication edited by Condé Nast, which was revived in 1983.

Mitchell B. Fox is an American former leading business executive of Condé Nast Publications. He served as group president and publishing director of Condé Nast Publications, as well as president of The Golf Digest Companies, and publisher of Vanity Fair and Details magazines. Fox was one of the leading figures in Vanity Fair's rise in the 1990s. He oversaw Condé Nast's golf publications, its Fairchild fashion group including W magazine and Women's Wear Daily, its Bridal group, and other magazines, including Self, Allure, Bon Appetit, and Condé Nast Traveler.

<i>How to Lose Friends & Alienate People</i> (memoir) book by Toby Young

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2001) is a memoir by Toby Young about his failed five-year effort to make it in the United States as a contributing editor at Condé Nast Publications' Vanity Fair magazine. The book alternates Young's foibles with his ruminations about the differences in culture and society between the United States and England, and specifically between New York City and London.

Nicholas Coleridge British media executive

Nicholas David Coleridge is chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum, chairman of the Prince of Wales' Campaign for Wool and chairman of the Gilbert Trust for the Arts. He is an ambassador for the Landmark Trust and a patron of the Elephant Family.

<i>Self</i> (magazine)

Self is an American online magazine for women that specializes in health, beauty, and style. Part of Condé Nast, its print edition had a circulation of 1,515,880 and a total audience of 5,282,000 readers, according to its corporate media kit in 2013. The editor-in-chief is Carolyn Kylstra. Self is based in the Condé Nast U.S. headquarters at 1 World Trade Center in New York, NY. In February 2017 the magazine became an online publication.

<i>Cookie</i> (magazine) lifestyle magazine for the modern mother

Cookie was a lifestyle magazine for the modern mother published from 2005 until November 2009 by Condé Nast Publications. According to Conde Nast, it featured "an editorial mix of fashion, home décor, travel, entertainment and health for her and her family."

Annie Leibovitz American photographer

Anna-Lou "Annie" Leibovitz is an American portrait photographer. She is best known for her engaging portraits, particularly of celebrities, which often feature subjects in intimate settings and poses. Leibovitz's polaroid of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken five hours before Lennon's murder, is considered Rolling Stone magazine's most famous cover photograph. The Library of Congress declared her a Living Legend, and she is the first woman to have a feature exhibition at Washington's National Portrait Gallery.

<i>Glamour</i> (magazine) American magazine

Glamour is an online women's magazine published by Condé Nast Publications. Founded in 1939 and first published in April 1939 in the United States, it was originally called Glamour of Hollywood.

<i>Vanity Fair</i> (U.S. magazine 1913–1936) American magazine published 1913–1936

Vanity Fair is an American society magazine published from 1913 to 1936. It was highly successful until the Great Depression led to its becoming unprofitable, and it was merged into Vogue in 1936.

Lupita Nyongo Mexican-Kenyan actress and film director

Lupita Amondi Nyong'o is a Kenyan-Mexican actress and author. The daughter of Kenyan politician Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, Nyong'o was born in Mexico City, where her father was teaching, and was raised in Kenya from the age of one. She attended college in the United States, earning a bachelor's degree in film and theater studies from Hampshire College.

<i>Tatler</i> British Magazine established in 1901

Tatler is a British magazine published by Condé Nast Publications focusing on fashion and lifestyle, as well as coverage of high society and politics. It is targeted towards the British upper-middle class and upper class, and those interested in society events. Its readership is the wealthiest of all Condé Nast's publications. It was founded in 1901 by Clement Shorter. Tatler is also published in Russia by Conde Nast, and in Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines by Edipresse Media Asia. The editions in Russia, mainland China and Taiwan are in local languages, while the editions in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines are in English.

Condé Nast Entertainment is a production and distribution studio with film, television, social and online video, and virtual reality content.

Radhika Jones is an American magazine editor and the fifth editor-in-chief of the Vanity Fair magazine. She succeeded Graydon Carter who retired after 25 years in the role.


  1. "Vanity Fair Merged With Vogue by Nast", The New York Times , p. 21, December 30, 1935, archived from the original on February 22, 2014.
  2. "Conde Nast Publications To Combine Two Magazines", The Wall Street Journal , p. 2, December 31, 1935.
  3. "Conde Nast to Revive Vanity Fair Magazine", Wall Street Journal, p. 16, July 1, 1981.
  4. Salmans, Sandra (February 6, 1983), "Courting the Elite at Condé Nast", New York Times, p. F1, archived from the original on August 4, 2017.
  5. Suplee, Curt (April 27, 1983), "Vanity Fair Editor Fired", Washington Post , p. B4.
  6. "1991 Vanity Fair cover featuring pregnant Demi Moore named 1 of most influential images of all time". Women in the World in Association with The New York Times - WITW. November 18, 2016. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  7. SAJA Vanity Fair article, June 9, 2000 Archived January 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  8. Weide, Robert B. (October 3, 2008), How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, archived from the original on January 3, 2018, retrieved January 18, 2018
  9. "Bridges agrees to "Alienate People"". Reuters. May 18, 2017. Archived from the original on January 19, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  10. Cozens, Claire (July 22, 2005). "Polanski wins libel case against Vanity Fair". the Guardian. Archived from the original on October 10, 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  11. Polanski takes appeal to Lords Archived March 5, 2006, at the Wayback Machine BBC News (online), November 17, 2004
  12. Lyall, Sarah (July 23, 2005). "Polanski Wins Vanity Fair Libel Suit". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331. Archived from the original on February 28, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  13. "Polanski wins libel payout of £50,000 from 'Vanity Fair'". The Independent. July 23, 2005. Archived from the original on February 28, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  14. "Polanski wins £50,000 damages". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on February 28, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  15. How I spent my summer vacation in London being sued by Roman Polanski – and what I learned about "solicitors," pub food, and the British chattering class Archived May 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine , by Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair, September 19, 2005
  16. "Miley Cyrus topless controversy". April 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2008.
  17. Stephen M. Silverman (April 27, 2008). "Miley Cyrus: I'm Sorry for Photos". Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2008.
  18. 1 2 3 Brook Barnes (April 28, 2008). "A Topless Photo Threatens a Major Disney Franchise". Archived from the original on May 12, 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2008.
  19. William Launder (July 29, 2013), Condé Nast Pushes Into TV Business Archived February 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Wall Street Journal .
  20. Christine Haughney (September 8, 2013), Harder Edge From Vanity Fair Chafes Some Big Hollywood Stars Archived March 7, 2017, at the Wayback Machine New York Times .
  21. "Did Vanity Fair Lighten Lupita Nyong'o's Skin Color? Check Out the Controversial Photo". E!Online. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  22. "Lena Dunham Twitter". Twitter. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  23. Guaglione, Sara (January 9, 2017). "'Vanity Fair,' Cheddar Partner For Weekly Live Series". Media Post. Archived from the original on January 10, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  24. Ember, Sydney (November 13, 2017). "Radhika Jones, Vanity Fair's Surprise Choice, Is Ready to Go". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 14, 2017.
  25. Wattles, Tom Kludt and Jackie. "New York Times books editor to head Vanity Fair". CNNMoney. Archived from the original on November 14, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  26. "James Franco Was Digitally Erased from Vanity Fair Cover After Sexual Harassment Allegations". Archived from the original on April 20, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  28. 1 2 3 Eric Pfaner (September 24, 2012). "A Vanity Fair for France Puts Timing in Question". The New York Times. Paris. Archived from the original on November 2, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  29. Stefania Medetti (December 12, 2003). "Italy receives the first weekly edition of Vanity Fair". Campaign. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  30. Alessandra Turra (25 October 2013), Italian Vanity Fair Fetes 10th Anniversary Archived November 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Women's Wear Daily .
  31. Caitlin Fitzsimmons (February 20, 2009), Condé Nast closes German Vanity Fair Archived September 21, 2016, at the Wayback Machine The Guardian .
  32. Christina Passariello and Quentin Marion (June 25, 2013), Vanity Fair French Edition Launches Wednesday Archived February 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Wall Street Journal .
  33. 1 2 Gary Baum (November 13, 2013), Vanity Fair Oscar Party Exits Sunset Tower; Will It Land in Parking Lot? Archived February 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine The Hollywood Reporter .
  34. Annette Haddad (May 12, 2007), Mortons to be a memory Archived January 20, 2014, at Wikiwix Los Angeles Times .
  35. 1 2 3 Alex Williams (February 28, 2014), Graydon Carter, the Last Impresario Archived September 9, 2017, at the Wayback Machine New York Times .
  36. Christopher Palmeri (February 9, 2012), Vanity Fair Oscar Party Invites Draw $100,000 Prices at Charity Auctions Archived February 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Bloomberg .
  37. Vanity Fair llega a México Archived September 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine GQ. October 29, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2015.