Voguing in Dallas

February 2, 2012

Update (Feb. 2, 2012): ProQuest is offering a free trial period to its full Vogue Archive (1892–2012) from February 2 through February 16. Sign up here.

Ann Arbor­–based electronic publisher ProQuest held a special event in Dallas January 22 to introduce its customers to a new digital product launched in December—an archival set of Vogue magazine consisting of more than 400,000 pristine, full-color pages from 1892 to the present that includes all covers, images, ads, and fold-outs. Each issue is fully indexed with metadata identifying fabrics, models, designers, garment types, and advertisers, making it a veritable treasure trove of visual images of interest to cultural historians and students of the fashion industry.

ProQuest representative Beth Dempsey told American Libraries that sales of the Vogue Archive have been vigorous. An engineering library even purchased the set because the engineers were interested in seeing what fabric components were used in clothing over time.

Keynote speaker of the evening was Ivan Shaw, Vogue’s director of photography since 1999, who presented slides of some of the magazine’s most famous covers and images. “Vogue is not just a photography-driven fashion magazine,” Shaw said. “It’s a historical archive of the 20th and 21st centuries, a cultural mirror of art, entertainment, literature, politics, women’s issues, and current events.”

Shaw told American Libraries that his favorite project was a 23-page “Alice in Wonderland” photo shoot in the December 2003 issue done by Annie Leibovitz with model Natalia Vodianova as Alice. “It was a perfect marriage of portraiture and fashion,” Shaw said, “done during a period when we were at a creative peak. Everyone got involved in the shoot, including such top fashion designers as Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, and Donatella Versace.”

According to project manager Matt Dellinger, the scanning was done by business services firm Apex CoVantage, which created 400-dpi images from Vogue’s own archival issues using flatbed scanners. New issues of the magazine will be added to the Vogue Archive within one week of publication.