A pub in the tiny village of Vogue in Cornwall, England, has told the publishers of Vogue magazine that its response to a request to change its name is a "categorical NO." The long-established Star Inn at Vogue—known to locals as "the Vogue"—received a cease-and-desist letter from Conde Nast in March, saying the pub's name could "cause problems" because "as far as the general public is concerned a connection between your business and ours is likely to be inferred," the Guardian reports. It warned that "remedial steps" would be taken if there was no response within seven days. Pub owners Mark and Rachel Graham say they were initially shocked, and then very amused.
In his response to the publisher, Mark Graham said he found the letter "hilariously funny." He explained that the pub takes its name from the Cornish word vogue, meaning a blowing mill or furnace. "I note in your letter that you have only been in existence since 1916 and I presume that at the time when you chose the name Vogue in the capitalized version you didn’t seek permission from the villagers of the real Vogue," he wrote, per Cornwall Live. He told the magazine that it is "at liberty" to use the uncapitalized word without their permission, as is Madonna, who recorded "Vogue" in 1990. He also joked about setting up a local "Vogue Magazine."
"I explained to them that the village has been here for 200 years, the pub slightly less than that," Mark Graham tells the BBC. The couple believes that when they changed their trading status to a limited company, it triggered a letter from overzealous company lawyers who failed to do their research. In its reply to Graham's letter, the company said it was grateful to learn more about the business" in this beautiful part of our country," adding: "You are quite correct to note that further research by our team would have identified that we did not need to send such a letter on this occasion." (Read more pubs stories.)