Jill Biden’s Vogue Cover Kicks Up Further Debate (2024)

Rosemary Feitelberg

·5 min read

Jill Biden’s Vogue Cover Kicks Up Further Debate (1)

As Jill Biden’s role in encouraging President Joe Biden to stay in the presidential race — despite his lackluster performance in Thursday night’s debate with Donald Trump — continues to be hashed over in the media and around the globe, Vogue debuted its August issue with the first lady on its cover.

In this already deeply divided country, the Condé Nast fashion magazine — intentionally or not — has ratcheted up the public dispute about Biden’s full-steam-ahead plans. As of Monday afternoon, Vogue’s post of the first lady’s cover had 51,960 likes and 5,286 comments. The first lady donned an ivory Ralph Lauren Collection dress for the Norman Jean Roy-shot cover that accompanied Maya Singer’s interview.

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A Ralph Lauren spokeswoman did not acknowledge a media request Monday afternoon, nor did Roy, or his agent. The Max Ortega-styled shoot includes images of Biden wearing Coach, Michael Kors Collection and Irene Neuwirth earrings. But it was politics, not fashion, that many of the commenters focused on via Vogue’s Instagram.

Jill Biden’s Vogue Cover Kicks Up Further Debate (2)

Keeping things of-the-moment, Vogue checked back with Biden after the debate. The interview was believed to have been conducted in April. Vogue noted in its post Monday that “following the June 27 debate Dr. Jill Biden has fiercely defended her husband and stood by him — as she’s always done. Reached by phone on Sunday at Camp David, where the Biden family had gathered for the weekend, FLOTUS told Vogue that they ‘will not let those 90 minutes define the four years he’s been president. We will continue to fight.'”

Requests for comment from Vogue’s global editorial director Anna Wintour and Singer through a Vogue spokesperson were declined. The company spokesperson said, “It’s no secret that Anna has been a supporter of Democratic campaigns for decades. Our August cover story is a look at the tremendous work Dr. Biden has done, and the most urgent issues in 2024 and beyond.”

Jill Biden’s Vogue Cover Kicks Up Further Debate (3)

The fact that Melania Trump never landed a Vogue cover in her White House years was such a point of consternation that she criticized Wintour, who also serves as Condé Nast’s chief content officer, for that during a 2022 Fox News interview. However, Trump, a former professional model, had been a Vogue cover girl in 2005, wearing her Christian Dior haute couture wedding gown.

Her stylist Herve Pierre declined to comment Monday about Biden’s second Vogue cover.

Wintour has supported the Democratic party in different ways. Last fall Jill Biden attended the 40-person seated dinner that Wintour hosted as a fundraiser in her West Village town house. The guest list included designer Tory Burch and Michael Kors. A few weeks ago in London, Wintour hosted another fundraiser for the Biden-Kamala Harris ticket in London. That event was separate from another one that same night in London that was hosted by Democrats Abroad, the group’s global press secretary Sharon Manitta said Monday.

In previous presidential election cycles, Wintour helped enlist fashion designers to create limited-run merchandise to benefit the campaigns for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. She was credited with being “the brainchild” of that idea in 2008 and created the model, according to Meaghan Burdick, the senior adviser for Biden for President and the “Believe in Better” collection project lead in 2020. What’s planned for this election season in terms of designer merchandise is not yet fully known. This time around Burch has designed a tote and T-shirt that will be available the week of July 22 on the Biden Victory Fund’s online store, according to a spokeswoman for the designer. A spokesperson for Kors did not respond to a media request Monday.

Jill Biden’s Vogue Cover Kicks Up Further Debate (4)

Christian Siriano helped Jill Biden get out the vote in a different way Friday, by suiting up the first lady in a navy silk cap-sleeved crepe dress imprinted with “VOTE” for a post-debate rally in Raleigh, N.C. Siriano told WWD Friday via email that the first lady’s team had reached out and asked for a new take on the “Vote” dress that he had done a few seasons ago. Siriano said he came up with “this shape that felt classic, but modern and hopefully tasteful for this event.”

Siriano added, “I think we all knew after the first debate it was going to be an important one that could send a message to the world.”

As for whether the designer has done any merchandise that will support the Biden-Harris campaign, will be hosting any fundraisers or supporting the ticket in any way, a spokesperson for Siriano said Monday, “Not as of now!”

Vogue has run into political headwinds in the past with a cover of the then Vice President-elect Kamala Harris wearing a Donald Deal pantsuit and Converse sneakers. Some social media critics questioned the decision to feature the first female vice president as well as the first Black and Asian American to be elected to that role wearing sneakers — even though she regularly wears them with her outfits, including on the campaign trail. They described the photo as “disrespectful,” “poor quality” and “a washed-out mess.”

When the controversy was showing no signs of subsiding, Wintour issued the following statement to The New York Times: “Obviously, we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover and I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the Vice President-elect’s incredible victory.”

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