This is how a plebeian reads Vogue. Credit: Brianna Wellen

As an employee of a print publication I feel it’s my duty to keep a close eye on the industry. Why did so-and-so magazine become an online-only read? How does such-and-such newspaper keep producing a daily edition? Is print really dying? 

For an answer, let’s look to Vogue‘s September issue. This year the fashion institution printed an 832-page book. That’s 832 honest-to-goodness glossy paper pages. I’ve never been one to follow fashion; growing up, I mostly turned to these magazines to practice figure drawing and make collages. And, truth be told, most of my clothes are from Target’s clearance racks or my 18-year-old sister’s closet. But when I saw this massive issue (and Queen Bey on the cover), I just had to pick it up to see what all the fuss was about. HEY—maybe this is the future of print media. 

Here are some random thoughts as I flip through the pages: 

  • Hmm, a perfume ad with a couple on two separate horses kissing across the gap between the horses. Naturally. How long did that moment take to capture? How many bones did the models break in the process? I bet those horses are fucking millionaires. 
  • Oh no, is everyone going to start wearing those jeweled things that look like collars but are actually necklaces? I just don’t have time to begin to understand these things. 
  • Kind of funny that Kendall Jenner (or Kylie maybe? They’re basically identical twins, right?) is posing with puppets in her Fendi campaign. She must feel right at home. 
  • The woman in this Miu Miu ad looks really upset that she had to wear this hideous snake-skin coat. I’m confused—are they trying to sell it to me or not? Is she mad at me for not having one? I better buy it, just in case. 
  • Ha, this dumb girl is bowling with a bottle of Chanel perfume. That’s never gonna work, lady! You’re only going to get, like, five pins. Max. 
  • I’ve already looked at 112 pages, and I’m just now getting to the table of contents?! Do they think they can get away with this?! That we won’t realize we’ve been looking at ads for—ooooh, pretty! Charlize Theron for Dior!
  • I sincerely love that so many fashion models have gapped teeth and glasses. It makes 12-year-old me look like freakin’ Kate Moss. 
  • Page 240 is STILL the TOC?! Mother of god, will any of us make it out of this magazine alive?!
  • We can all agree that despite what Tom Ford believes, it’s pretty impractical to stand on top of a rock in the middle of the desert in high-heel platform boots, right? 
  • Target has a 21-page spread in Vogue! Fashionistas: they’re just like me!
  • This magazine is soooooooo white. If they only had one white girl to pose in all these photos, I doubt anyone would be able to tell the difference. 
  • Oh, neat! A Wes Anderson fashion spread! Oh wait, this is just inspired by Margot Tenenbaum. Oh no, this woman just thinks she spent the day with the fictional character Margot Tenenbaum . . . hmm. 
  • Finally some good old-fashioned journalism on page 656: How to get the perfect ass. 
  • Aw, a cat! How is this the first cat in the whole magazine? Have they learned nothing from the Internet? 
  • Oh! Hey! Look! A woman of color! Beyonce! The magazine’s cover girl! On page 756!
  • I’m sorry, a ten-page spread about the TV show Empire with only one photo of Cookie Lyon looking fierce? AW, HELL NO!
  • And now the part where they tell me where to get all the totally wearable looks featured in the issue. Why not spend $595 on an Oscar de la Renta brooch? Brian Atwood pumps for $1,995? How about topping it off with three Larkspur and Hawk hairpins for $1,400?
  • Ah, back to reality. The final page in the glorious September issue is filled with 90s Mariah Carey-style butterflies and tubes of something Clinique lovingly calls “chubby lash fattening mascara.” “Don’t worry,” Vogue says with a smirk. “You can go back to being the orthopedic-shoe-wearing, nail-polish-picking piece of trash you always have been. See you next September!”