Why Meghan Markle was missing from that British Vogue cover.

It's no surprise that for his final cover as the editor-in-chief of British Vogue, Edward Enninful managed to pull off something that seems unachievable to most. 

It's all anyone in the fashion world can talk about right now - and for good reason. Enninful, who is best known for revolutionising British Vogue during his tenure with jaw-dropping and unconventional covers, gathered 40 of the most famous women in the world to pose together for a powerful group shot.

Watch: Behind-the-scenes of Harry Styles' Vogue photoshoot. Post continues below.

Video via Vogue.

Yes, you read correctly. 40 women posed together for one photo, at the same exact time. There was no photoshopping, or adding someone in afterward - every woman on the cover (who, mind you, are booked and busy) cleared up their schedule for Enninful.

40 of the world's most booked and busy women came together for Enninful's final issue. Image: British Vogue.


And if you don't believe me, then British Vogue shared an on-set video to their Instagram, proving that they all came together to be shot by legendary fashion photographer Steven Meisel. 


Our hearts go out to the bookers and the hair and makeup teams because that's no simple feat.

Enninful's exit marks the end of an era at British Vogue, as the man who has long been considered Anna Wintour's successor, shook the industry after announcing his resignation last year.

But who is Edward Enninful? And how did he manage to get so many powerful women together in one room? Let's discuss.

Who is Edward Enninful?

Edward Enninful is possibly one of the most respected people in the fashion industry. Making his start at the age of 18 as fashion director at i-D - a role usually reserved for people much older - Enninful became the youngest-ever fashion director for an international publication. 

Enninful wanted fashion to be a space for everybody. Image: British Vogue.


He inspired people through his eye for edgy street style, which ultimately went on to become his trademark. 

"We British have to customise our clothes, we have to be more creative, informing who you are - and I am still obsessed with the streets," he said at the time.

Enninful quickly went on to become an innovator and defined what we now know as '90s fashion. After a string of achievements and accolades - including styling the iconic Calvin Klein adverts that are still spoken about today - Enninful became a contributing editor to Italian Vogue in 1998.


That was where he met Steven Meisel, whom he credits for helping him mature as a stylist.

"I always say that I was a London stylist but when I worked with Steven, I became a proper stylist," Enninful told the Business of Fashion back in 2017.

As a black man, Enninful has always been passionate about representation and spearheaded it during a time when it was severely lacking. One of his biggest achievements while at Italian Vogue was producing its "Black Issue", which featured only black models including Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn and Alek Wek.

One of Enninful's biggest achievements while at Italian Vogue was producing its "Black Issue". Image: Vogue Italia.


At the time, Enninful said he hoped the issue would help end the "white-out that dominates the catwalks and magazines." The edition proved so enormously successful that it sold out in the UK and US within 72 hours, causing publisher Conde Nast to print an additional 40,000 copies.

In 2006, Enninful moved to American Vogue as contributing fashion editor, before working at W magazine, where he was asked to take the style directorship to help the failing magazine find its feet once again.

And that's exactly what he did.

After Enninful's takeover, began showing signs of life, all thanks to his decision to be more risque and unconventional. 

On April 10, 2017, Enninful was confirmed as the new editor-in-chief of British Vogue, making him the first man and first black person to hold the title. Since being handed the reins, he turned a century-old publication around and gave it a refreshing makeover. 

So far, British Vogue has seen a 51 per cent increase in digital traffic since his appointment, and unlike other publications that struggled during the pandemic, British Vogue remained financially stable. 

He's produced some remarkable covers, but one that springs to mind is the September 2019 issue, which was guest-edited by Meghan Markle, and featured 15 female change-makers including Greta Thunberg and Jane Fonda.


The British Vogue "Forces for Change" issue was guest edited by Meghan Markle. Image: British Vogue.

Then, there was the May 2023 issue, featuring many women from the Disabled community - because if there was one thing Enninful would always display, it was his commitment to diversity. 

Speaking of diversity, Enninful commissioned Misan Harriman to shoot the September 2020 issue. He was the first black male photographer to do so in the publication's 104-year history. 


Throughout his tenure, Enninful has always championed diversity. Image: British Vogue.

He also undid the act of his predecessor, Alexandra Shulman, who famously employed an all-white editorial team. Ever since Enninful took control, 25 per cent of British Vogue's team are people of colour, proving that everyone is welcome.


Why did he resign? And what will he do now?

He was at the top of the world, and fashion enthusiasts strongly believe it should've been him running the show at Vogue US instead of Wintour - so why did he call it quits?

Enninful announced his resignation in June 2023, and when he did, the fashion world was reeling. After six years of consistently breaking boundaries and redefining what it means to be an icon, Enninful chose to step down as editor-in-chief and instead move into an advisory role within Conde Nast.

This way, he can still work for the publisher while also pursuing external projects.

In his final letter as editor-in-chief, Enninful wrote, "I'm determined to keep championing the incredible array of voices in fashion and media, and ensure we keep the energy explosion of the last few years going.

"We always say it, because it always needs to be said: there is a great deal yet to be done."

His successor will be London-born journalist Chioma Nnadi, who will be given the title of head of editorial content rather than editor-in-chief. She is the first black woman to edit the legacy magazine.

Who made an appearance on the latest cover of British Vogue?

Now you know his incredible story, it makes sense that so many incredible women dropped everything to be by his side for his last British Vogue cover. 

Every single person featured on the cover worked with Enninful in some capacity during his time as editor-in-chief. Laverne Cox became the first trans person to appear on the cover of British Vogue for its September 2019 issue, and Adwoa Aboah was featured front and centre in Enninful's debut December 2017 issue. 


And of course, you have the original supermodels Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista.

40 of the world's most iconic women came together for Enninful's last issue. Image: British Vogue.

The rest of the cover includes Karen Elson, Irina Shayk, Anya Taylor-Joy, Serena Williams, Rina Sawayama, Karlie Kloss, Jourdan Dunn, Amber Valletta, Precious Lee, Jodie Comer, Gemma Chan, Vittoria Ceretti, Gigi Hadid, Adut Akech, Paloma Elsesser, Victoria Beckham, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Cara Delevingne, Jane Fonda, Miley Cyrus, Iman, Ariana DeBose, Jameela Jamil, Oprah, Salma Hayek Pinault, Selma Blair, Maya Jama, Kate Moss, Cynthia Erivo, Simone Ashley, Lila Moss, Anok Yai, Kaia Gerber and Dua Lipa.


Why didn't Meghan Markle make an appearance?

Considering Enninful worked closely with Markle when she guest edited British Vogue, royal fans expected to see the former Duchess among the crowd of women for his final cover.

However, she was noticeably absent, resulting in people taking to social media to say she was "snubbed" from the issue.

But the reason isn't as sinister as you might think, because only women who had previously appeared on the cover were invited to take part.

While Markle did contribute to British Vogue in 2019, she never appeared on the cover over fears of looking "boastful". Instead, she chose to recruit 15 barrier-breaking women instead.

"From the very beginning, we talked about the cover - whether she would be on it or not. In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a ‘boastful’ thing to do for this particular project," said Enninful at the time.

"She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires."

Feature Image: British Vogue/Getty.

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