Vogue editor defends cover photo of US Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue magazine, arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" in the Manhattan borough of New York, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Vogue editor Anna Wintour said images of Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris were meant to celebrate her achievements

US Vogue editor Anna Wintour has defended the magazine following criticism of its front-cover portrait of Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.

The image shows Ms Harris wearing an informal outfit including jeans and a pair of Converse trainers.

Social media users have criticised Vogue for the photo's "washed out" lighting and styling, saying it does not reflect Ms Harris's achievements.

But Ms Wintour said the photos were intended to highlight her success.

"We want nothing but to celebrate Vice-President-elect Harris's amazing victory and the important moment this is for America's history and particularly women of colour all over the world," Ms Wintour said in a statement to the New York Times' Kara Swisher.

She also defended Vogue's decision to use the picture for the print cover of its February issue, rather than an alternative portrait of her in a more formal suit.

A member of Ms Harris's team told AP news agency that Vogue staff, including Ms Wintour, agreed to feature the blue-suited image on cover. But Ms Wintour denied that any formal agreement had been made.

"All of us felt very, very strongly that the less formal portrait of the vice-president-elect really reflected the moment that we were living in," said Ms Wintour.

"We felt to reflect this tragic moment in global history, a much less formal picture... really reflected the hallmark of the Biden/Harris campaign and everything they were trying to - and I'm sure they will - achieve," the editor - herself an influential supporter of the Democratic Party - added.

Sources at Vogue told the New York Times that the second, more formal image may be used as a cover for a separate print edition.

Both pictures were taken by Tyler Mitchell who, in 2018, became the first black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover.

The magazine has been criticised in the past over issues relating to race.

Several former employees previously shared experiences of alleged racism in the workplace with the New York Times.

Earlier this year, British Vogue editor Edward Enninful spoke out after he was allegedly "racially profiled" by a security guard at the magazine's UK offices.

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