It will go down as one of the great Vogue covers – a feat of diary synergy, three months of ego-caressing and an estimated 1,000 WhatsApps to get 40 of the world’s most famous models in the same studio just before Christmas.
Oprah Winfrey, Kate Moss, Serena Williams, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Jane Fonda, Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell , Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa , Maya Jama and 29 more big names answered the call from the fashion bible’s first Black editor-in-chief.
Mr Enninful, 51, has revealed that his famous friends came to New York in December – at their own expense. Some flew in from Mexico, Milan, London, Paris and elsewhere around the world to mark his long goodbye from Vogue.
He had written personal notes to each woman asking them to attend and thanking them for appearing on one of his 135 covers since he made history when he was appointed Vogue’s first Black editor-in-chief in 2017.
Oprah arrived for her fitting to cheers while wearing a purple tracksuit and told Edward ‘whatever he’d chosen for her was fine’.
Model Gigi Hadid brought her daughter Khai with her with Enninful making sure the shoot ‘ran smoothly’ so mothers like Gigi could get it done and get home in time to bathe their children and put them to bed. Each model had a strict 15 to 30 minute slot with Kate Moss at 9.30am, Naomi Campbell at 10.30am and Dua Lipa the last up at 2.30pm.
According to a schedule shared on Instagram, the shoot lasted for more than six hours from 8am before the famous 40 faces were brought together for the final group shot at the end. The exact date is not clear but it appears to have been around December 5.
The 40 stars were supported by 40 hair and make-up professionals. There were also teams of dressers, an army of admin staff as well as photographers, videographers and caterers.
Edward Enninful closes the shoot to cheers from the famous women who agreed to appear on his final Vogue cover, all of whom came to New York at their own expense and some from around the world
The slots each star was given for a personal shoot before the final group picture with Anok Yai first and Dua Lipa last
Gigi Hadid arrives with her daughter with a smiling Victoria Beckham smiling to her left
British model Adwoa Aboah gives a thumbs up with actress Jodie Comer with Amber Valletta in the background during the historic shoot
Adwoa with Gigi Hadid, Maya Jama and Karlie Kloss as the huge team prepares them for the shoot
Jane Fonda, Cara Delevingne, Oprah Winfrey and Adwoa Aboah behind the scenes
Maya Jama, Simone Ashley and Jameela Jamil all pose with their friend Edward during the shoot
Adwoa with Paloma Elsesser, Dua Lipa, Maya Jama, Karlie Kloss and Jourdan Dunn
Actress Gemma Chan also appeared on the cover and shared this shot with Edward
Vogie shared footage of the final moments of the shoot from December
The historic cover: 1. Anok Yai, 2. Kaia Gerber, 3. Naomi Campbell, 4. Dua Lipa, 5. Maya Jama, 6. Kate Moss, 7. Cynthia Erivo, 8. Simone Ashley, 9. Lila Moss, 10. Ariana Debose, 11. Jameela Jamil 12. Oprah, 13. Salma Hayek, 14. Christy Turlington, 15. Selma Blair, 16. Miley Cyrus, 17. Iman, 18. Linda Evangelista, 19. Jane Fonda, 20. Cara Delevingne, 21. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, 22. Gigi Hadid, 23. Adwoa Aboah, 24. Victoria Beckham, 25. Paloma Elsesser, 26. Gemma Chan, 27. Jodie Comer, 28. Precious Lee, 29. Amber Valletta, 30. Adut Akech, 31. Cindy Crawford, 32. Karen Elson, 33. Irina Shayk, 34. Laverne Cox, 35. Anya Taylor-Joy, 36. Serena Williams, 37. Rina Sawayama, 38. Karlie Kloss, 39. Vittoria Ceretti, 40. Jourdan Dunn
Presenter and model Jameela Jamil shared behind the scene pictures with Jodie Comer and others and also revealed that most went out for a celebratory dinner in New York afterwards. Mother and daughter Kaia Gerber and Cindy Crawford carpooled while Salma Hayek Pinault and Linda Evangelista also shared a lift after Salma stayed at Linda’s house the night before.
While Dua Lipa and Miley Cyrus are believed to have been in and out of New York in 24 hours to ‘keep to their popstar schedules’. Miley was overheard saying when surrounded by the stars: ‘To get one of these women on a cover takes months. To get 40? Unheard of’.
Edward then gave a speech to wild cheers thanking the women for ‘always showing up’, ‘being more than friends’ and ‘truly inspiring women’ during his ‘six-and-a-half years of love’.
Many of the 40 women could command a combined rate of north of £1.5million per day. Oprah famously can be paid up to £600,000 a day while Linda Evangelista famously said she wouldn’t get out of bed for less than £10,000.
But Mark Borkowski, one of Britain’s leading PR gurus, told MailOnline that being featured on such an iconic cover would mean that most, if not all would, have not charged Vogue at all. Some of their costs may have been covered by fashion houses and model agencies who want the exposure, he said.
Only one woman invited to attend, Nicole Kidman, had had to decline after the Hollywood actors’ strike ended and she had to work.
Another absentee was Meghan Markle, who guest edited the magazine’s September 2019 issue but reportedly left Vogue writers in ‘silent exasperation’ by her demands- and apparently even its well-liked editor – when it was claimed she tried to get Vogue to rip up its schedule so that the magazine would be published in the US before the UK.
According to a schedule shared on Instagram, the shoot lasted from 8am until 2.30pm when the famous 40 faces were brought together for the final group shot.
The exact date is not clear but it appears to have been around December 5.
Mr Enninful has claimed that the cover of his final British Vogue ‘said what I wanted to say’ – and many have interpreted the ensemble and ‘legendary’ headline as a message of defiance aimed at his all-powerful former boss Dame Anna Wintour .
Vogue’s March cover was photographed by Steven Meisel and took place at Highline Stages in the Meatpacking District of New York in early December but appears to have been organised shortly after Edward announced he was leaving in July.
‘I’m just so honored that all these women saw what we did at British Vogue and stood behind it,’ Enninful told The Washington Post.
‘When I look at the cover, I think what a great run it’s been. Had the magazine not been selling. I’d have been gone a long time ago’, he said.
Jill Demling’s Creative Casting Agency organised the non-models. Jill said: ‘I was in shock at how it even came together. I’ve been doing this so long. I’m always worried until they actually show up’.
Last year, 51-year-old Mr Enninful announced he would be stepping down from his role at the top of the fashion magazine to take up a newly created position this year.
Writing for Vogue, he said of his last shoot as editor-in-chief: ‘It’s been an extraordinary ride and an absolute honour.
‘As I step into my new role, as Conde Nast’s global creative and cultural adviser for Vogue, I’m determined to keep championing the incredible array of voices in fashion and media, and ensure we keep the energy explosion of the last few years going.
‘We always say it, because it always needs to be said: there is a great deal yet to be done.’
In an editor’s letter, Enninful described the ‘gratitude’ he felt and said he was ‘proud that some important work has been done’ at the publication.
Fashion Editor of British Vogue with Edward outside Highline Stages in New York, after the shoot took place
Vogue footage shows Naomi Campbell with Oprah behind her and Dua Lipa next to her
Kate Moss was also front and centre of the so-called ‘big 40’ on the cover
The group came from all over the US and the world to be there – and paid for their own travel apparently
Some insiders have suggested the shoot is a clear message to the indomitable Anna Wintour
Serena Williams gave a glimpse of her prep for the shoot, clutching a dress in front of her closet
Jameela and Jodie in New York for the shoot
Jameela has said that those on the shoot and the team behind it went for dinner and drinks that night
Jamil revealed the inside track on the trip – having lunch with Whoopi on the following day
Jameela also took Insta followers behind the scenes in the fitting room
Other famous women who feature on the cover of the British magazine include Killing Eve star Jodie Comer, Orange Is The New Black actress Laverne Cox, supermodel Cindy Crawford and singer Miley Cyrus.
Laverne said: ‘I couldn’t believe all 40 women were there in the same room. It made a statement about Edward and his influence and the impact he’s had on our lives.’
British model and actress Cara Delevingne, actress and activist Jane Fonda, fashion model Gigi Hadid, Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek and singer Dua Lipa also feature.
There is also The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy, singer Rina Sawayama, fashion model Christy Turlington, TV presenter and actress Jameela Jamil and former tennis player Serena Williams.
Ghanaian-British Enninful was honoured with an OBE for services to diversity in the fashion industry as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s 2016 Birthday Honours List.
He took over as editor-in-chief of British Vogue in August 2017, as the first black man to hold the top job at the British fashion magazine, and in December 2020 was promoted to European editorial director of Vogue.
During his years at the top of the fashion magazine, he has continued to break boundaries and been a champion for greater inclusivity in the industry.
He described the May 2023 issue of the publication, which included 19 disabled people from the worlds of fashion, sport, culture and activism and featured five disabled people on its cover, as ‘one of the proudest moments of my career’.
The March issue of British Vogue is available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday 13 February
An iconic goodbye! Victoria Beckham has joined Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid as 40 legendary British Vogue cover stars came together for epic shoot to mark Edward Enninful’s final edition… so can YOU name them all? (Answers below)
Kate Moss posed up a storm alongside Victoria Beckham and Christy Turlington
Christy Turlington joined Maya Jama, Selma Blair and Precious Lee on set
Kate, Cindy Crawford, Jourdan Dunn, Karlie Kloss and Irina Shayk looked incredible
Miley Cyrus and Kate Moss put on a leggy display in mini dresses for the photoshoot
Naomi Campbell was a vision in a white gown with a drop waist
(L-R) Gemma Chan, Simone Ashley, Rina Sawayama, Anya Taylor-Joy, Maya Jama, Precious Lee, Jameela Jamil
Linda Evangelista and Salma Hayek arrived at the shoot together after having a sleepover the night before in preparation for the shoot
Jane Fonda was assisted by a cane as she strolled past with good friend Oprah