Vogue’s September Issue Is Here, And Ariel Nicholson Is The First Trans Model To Grace The Magazine’s Cover

by Freya Drohan

Vogue’s model-heavy glossy September issue has landed, and it’s a fitting tribute to where American fashion is at post-pandemic and post-global civil rights movement. On the cover, Anok Yai, Ariel Nicholson—who’s making history as the first trans model to cover the publication—Bella Hadid, Lola Leon, Sherry Shi, Yumi Nu, Kaia Gerber, and Precious Lee have been chosen to illustrate what a new era of beauty looks like.

The issue is centered around the theme of New Beginnings; an idea that will be reflected in the various global September editions of Vogue too. Inside the spread, a diverse array of designers who are currently at the forefront of fashion, including Christopher John Rogers, Fe Noel, Brandon Maxwell, and Kerby Jean-Raymond, are seen outfitting various models at Condé Nast’s One World Trade Center HQ, barely commanding any attention from Vogue staffers who work diligently in the background. In a nod to the greats of American fashion, models also wear pieces from Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Rick Owens, Proenza Schouler, Thom Brown, Carolina Herrera, and many more. It’s somewhat of a teaser for what celebratory American fashion will be served at the Met Gala next month, and boy are we here for it.

Written by Maya Singer, lensed by Ethan James Green, and with Tonne Goodman and Gabriella Karefa-Johnson on fashion editor duty—the old and the new guard, might we add—it’s a snapshot of where we’re at, how far we’ve come, and the work that’s still to be built on. “I feel like fashion has gotten the message that casting models from diverse backgrounds is the absolute bare minimum. But what people are starting to wrap their heads around now is that ‘diversity’ isn’t the point—the point is respect; the point is dignity,” designer Becca McCharen-Tran of innovative and inclusive label Chromat is quoted as saying.

The full cover story is on Vogue.com now; the issue will land on newsstands nationwide on August 17.

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