The September Issue(s) – BRITISH VOGUE VS ELLE UK

Ahh, the tremendous time has rolled around – fall season. Well, they haven’t yet arrived in the stores but they are in all the magazines currently which is sort of the same thing (inspiration-wise). I find winter dressing infinitely more stimulating than summertime, the latter being a season I usually loathe. I live for knits and trousers and coats and boots – the standard winter wardrobe. As a result of this, the September issue is logically my favourite. Arguably the most important issue of the year which was solidified in this position by the R.J Cutler documentary The September Issue, released in 2009, which followed Anna Wintour and her team at American Vogue. The documentary, filmed in 2007, captured the process of making the September 2007 issue (which at the time was the biggest ever) and all the hard work that went into creating it.

From "The Homecoming"

From “The Homecoming” – British Vogue

However, this post is not about the documentary but instead about the 2 biggest fashion magazines in the UK, Vogue and Elle, and their respective September 2014 issues. As most people will have their hands on the issues already and the images from inside are scattered across the web, I don’t feel like I’m posting any spoilers. I have subscriptions to both of these magazines and each month I find myself debating (alone) which one I prefer. I thought that since it was the big-bumper-bonanza of 2014, it would make to do a little comparison and pit the two magazines against each other. I’m going to split things into 4 categories: cover, editorial, casting, content & campaigns. Let us commence.


The covers of the two biggest fashion magazines in Britain look slightly similar this month. Similar colour palette, 60s styling and blonde models. I prefer the colour of text on Elle as opposed to the red of Vogue as red is a colour I avoid in all aspects of life. The Elle cover I received was slightly different as I got the subscribers cover (which I don’t like getting much as the main cover usually has a better image). I like the styling on both of these but ultimately, if I were buying in a shop, I’d choose Elle. It speaks to me more – “LOOK LUXE FOR LESS” and “WHICH COAT?” are practically written for me, and many other women will think the same when they see the headlines. However, that is not to say that Vogue fails. If I’m going to be honest, I’d pick Elle just to avoid seeing Cara Delevingne. Kate Upton wins every time. Out of the two celebrity models (read: not supermodels), she is the one I prefer 100 times more.



Starting with VOGUE:

This month Kate Moss styled Lara Stone (who had a brilliant Vogue Nederland cover too) in a stunningly beautiful editorial. Entitled “The Wolf in Her“, it was like a wild fairytale complete with wolves and Lara, who was smouldering in the setting. There were two images in particular that I loved, one with Lara in an oxblood silk-satin Versace dress, hair slicked back, holding this beast with zero sign of fear. And another, a black and white image of Lara and the wolves in the wild in a black Alexander McQueen gown. The captions that accompanied the shots were sublime and I felt made the editorial even better. My favourite being “A girl’s best friend? Versace’s silk number in a feral shade of oxblood”.


There was also a wonderful story with Naomi Campbell returning to South London, “The Homecoming”, with a couple of other young British models accompanying her. It was nice to see Naomi mingling with the locals but it still remaining a fashion spread.

I didn’t like “Abstract Thinking” purely for the zany prints and colours, not my style. Nor was I mad on “Mix & Max”, “Groove is in the Heart” or “Cold Comfort” but I loved “Join Our Club”. The styling of the Tommy Hilfiger suede coat with an Adidas zip-up track top underneath was ingenious to me and I am now desperate to get back my old Adidas jumpers that I had when I was about 12 – Kate Phelan, I applaud you. Moreover, seeing Lily McNenamy in the Louis Vuitton dress (belted, naturally) reminded me how much I love this collection and has made me obsess over it ever since.

Onto ELLE:

I liked “The Beat Goes On” purely because the group of models looked like a cool bunch of people to hang around with, I wanted to be there. Also, I love the blueish green tint on many of the photos. Moreover, I am so here for the return of thigh-high boots, something I have been championing for ages now. However, I don’t like how one of the looks was pulled straight from the Gucci campaign – slightly unoriginal.


Power Lines” was ok but didn’t stick out in my memory, I only remembered it when flicking back through the magazine to write this post. I love the nose chain in “Super Bold”. “Parka Life” was cool but you’ll never see me in a parka (not really my style, I don’t have that level of cool). And I’d say the photos that accompanied Kate Upton’s interview weren’t so much an editorial, more just nice pictures to go with it. She looked great though, she is undeniably beautiful and seems like a genuine down-to-earth person from her interview too.

WINNER – Vogue


The casting of the models, I’d say, can make or break an issue. The models are needed to realize what the fashion editor envisioned when coming up with the concept for the shoot. They are an essential part of a magazine really. There are certain models I am just not a fan of, whether it be based on their appearance or general lack of modelling skills. I’m not a fan of Cara Delevingne and am frankly sick of seeing her everywhere, hence why I chose Elle as a better cover. However, Vogue‘s casting has been pretty good this month. They used many models including Lara Stone, Malaika Firth, Lily McMenamy (who I have just recently fallen in love with, an odd beauty but a beauty nonetheless) and Freja Beha Erichsen. Elle, on the other hand, had Kate Upton on the cover which I was fine with. However, inside none of the models were jumping out at me as faces that I knew really.


WINNER – Vogue


By content I mean the articles written inside – the features. In general, I prefer Elle. They seem a little younger and really are more provocative, dealing with harder hitting or more taboo like issues – always an interesting read. Sometimes what I have read in Vogue is a little less me, probably because I’m not at all its target audience. However, the September issue seems to produce the best of the best in terms of stories. I still have last year’s British Vogue September issue because of the mass of good articles in it (this is a big deal as I never keep magazines, not enough space unfortunately).



I loved the shoe guide, knee high boots, yahoooooo. I also liked the story about the gold couture bra, but I won’t be buying one! The story about the woman who converted to Judaism and as a result, can no longer wear trousers was interesting and eye-opening to me as I never knew anything about this before. Finally, I loved reading about the Brit who is now heading up Saks Fifth Avenue, what I can only describe as a dream job.


The story about the 36-year-old virgin was slightly odd but provocative nonetheless, it certainly got me thinking. After watching the game show “Only Connect” for the past few months and being completely oblivious to the fact that the host Victoria Coren Mitchell writes an amazing column in Elle, I realised this month. And yes, it was just as enjoyable knowing that it was her writing it and not some 20-odd year old graduate like she looks like in her picture! Finally, I just adored the interview with Jeremy Scott. Upon reflection, I am enjoying the cheeky, fun element of his first Moschino collection and reading his interview has helped me value his work more. He is right, to paraphrase here, he said that people don’t seem to give him credit for the effort and research that goes into creating his collections and that he does just as much as other designers like Miuccia Prada. I respected him greatly after reading this and it did change my perspective on him. Because yes, although his designs seem fun and silly, it is all thought out, meticulously researched and toiled over for hours on end. Even though his output seems low-brow and somewhat ridiculous, it required the same effort, ideas, planning and references that all other designers use too. The only difference with Jeremy Scott is that he doesn’t get even half the intellectual credit that they do.



I probably should have devised a better system before coming up with this post as the end result has generated a tie. But it seems to say what I thought it would. Vogue is the clear winner in terms of editorial content whereas Elle is ahead in terms of features. When you buy a fashion magazine you want a mixture of the two, hopefully in equal proportion of quality. I think Elle often uses lesser known models whereas Vogue more often than not uses the big names, which is always good in my eyes (they didn’t get big for no reason). Honestly, I recommend that you buy both magazines. I strongly encourage you to take a look at the editorials yourself, some are so worth the money spent on the magazine (or you can probably find them online if you google it). Go on, give them a try and pick your favourite!



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