Real people are allowed to be in Vogue once in a while, but it helps to be real male. The September issue featured a spread set at the Mount, the estate of Edith Wharton (who turns 150 this year), and “All the Single Ladies” writer Kate Bolick reports that it was the talk of the Berkshire WordFest this year. Not in a good way.
Casting actors, models, and writers as Wharton and her cohort, Vogue failed to include any female writers. I wouldn’t blame a writer for turning down the opportunity to be dressed up as (and inevitably compared to) Wharton — besides, Vogue regular Natalia Vodianova won the leading role — but the magazine didn’t hesitate to include the popular men of contemporary fiction. Bolick writes:
There is Jeffrey Eugenides in a bowler hat doing his best Henry James. There is a bow-tied Junot Diaz as Wharton’s (unrequited) love interest, diplomat Walter Berry. There is Jonathan Safran Foer, hair severely parted down the middle, posing as Wharton’s collaborator, the architect Ogden Codman, Jr.
The popular opinion is that Jennifer Egan, she of the Pulitzer Prize and the high cheekbones, was a criminal omission.