The Shmooze

Anna Wintour Chose Israeli for First Vogue Cover

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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As Vogue gets set to celebrate its 120th anniversary in 2012, there has been a lot of looking back at the fashion bible’s history. Most important for fashionistas everywhere is the fact that the magazine’s complete archives is now available online.

One of the items in the archives is the cover of the November 1988 issue, featuring Israeli model Michaela Bercu. This was not just any Vogue cover, but rather editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s first one. It amounted to a game changer that announced to the fashion publishing world that Wintour was ushering in a new direction and a new era for the magazine.

Wintour recently told CBS news how she adventurously made the decision to break from her predecessor Grace Mirabella’s preference for formal, posed headshots and go for the impromptu natural-light shot of Bercu in jeans. It was the first time a model had ever graced the cover of Vogue in jeans, and likely the first time the Israeli Bercu ever appeared wearing a cross — and not a little dainty one like Rachel Weisz recently wore for a fashion shoot. Rather, it was a huge, heavily bejeweled one taking up the entire front of a cropped sweater by Christian Lacroix.

The Israeli-American celebrity site AbbaNibi reports that the blond, 6-foot Bercu is considered “the most successful supermodel of all time.” Somehow, it’s not surprising that she bears a striking resemblance to Israeli supermodel du jour, Bar Refaeli. Bercu, who has also done some acting, is now the mother of four children and lives with them and her husband, Israeli businessman Ron Zuckerman, in Los Angeles.

It’s not hard to find photos of that watershed cover on the Web. However, a glimpse of it in the official Vogue online archive comes with a hefty fee. Just how much does it cost to access to the 400,000 odd pages dating back to 1892? You’ll need to shell out “$1,575 a year, or the price of a Dolce and Gabbana lace and satin bustier dress at Net-a-Porter,” according to Agence France-Presse. That’s probably around the same amount that the none-too-Jewish top Bercu wore would have gone for.


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