Vogue editor Anna Wintour says the magazine had no intention of disrespecting Vice president-elect Kamala Harris with a cover that turned out to be highly controversial. Critics said the photo, in which Harris, wearing sneakers, stands in front of green and pink drapes, was too informal and "familiar," especially when compared to a photo of Harris in a blue suit that was used as the cover of the digital edition. "We felt to reflect this tragic moment and global history, a much less formal picture, something that was very, very accessible and approachable and real, really reflected the hallmark of the Biden-Harris campaign and everything they're trying to, and I'm sure will, achieve," Wintour said in a statement to Kara Swisher, host of the New York Times' "Sway" podcast.
"It was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the vice president-elect’s incredible victory," said Wintour, who denied reports that Harris' team had asked for the other photo to be used. "There was no formal agreement about what the choice of the cover would be," she said. "And when the two images arrived at Vogue, all of us felt very, very strongly that the less formal portrait of the vice-president-elect really reflected the moment that we were living in." In a statement to the Guardian, Vogue said it had "collaborated closely on all creative decisions including that she would dress and style herself for the shoot, and both looks were selected by the VP-elect and her team." In Swisher's podcast, recorded before the controversy, Wintour said she believed the cover would be considered "joyful and optimistic." (Read more Kamala Harris stories.)