Probably the biggest undertaking in the entire 119-year history of American Vogue comes to its completion today with the online launch of the Vogue Archive. For the first time ever, The Cut reports, every single printed page from every single issue of Vogue ever assembled since its debut in 1892 is now available for a subscription of – and this is where you hold on to your f’in hat – $1,575 a year.
Teaming up with WGSN, a website specializing in trend forecasting, Vogue has made a completely comprehensive and user-friendly navigable vault of historically treasured material that is searchable by decade, photographer, brand and designer. But $1,575? The average Vogue reader, who doesn’t have an expendable account and turns to the magazine for the vicarious experience it provides, will surely scoff at the proposition. So who is this really for? Companies already working with WGSN who need the archive for branding purposes will supposedly be granted the option of discussing package deals for access, while Vogue promises to allow select, curated access to its subscribers come 2012, stress on the ‘select access’ part.
It must be noted that the Valentino Garavani just launched his own rich archives via an interactive virtual museum, that were it to be physically realized, would encompass a 100,000 sq. ft space. And the access is completely, totally, absolutely free. No strings attached. The Vogue Archive will be completely free of advertisements, so sustaining the site will come solely from subscriptions. That could account for its ridiculous exorbitance. But if Valentino can do it, why couldn’t Vogue?