Taylor Swift does not do anything by accident. And neither does UK Vogue editor Edward Enniful. So we may consider this cover, only the second one under Enninful's editorship, to be sending approximately ten different signals, all of them important.
The first might be that Enninful, a known champion of diversity (he put model Adwoa Aboah on his first issue), would choose to put Swift on the cover in the first place. It's a sign that he considers Swift to be smart enough, and possibly woke enough, to carry his new vision.
And what a vision it is: Swift, who is wearing dark plum lipstick and an embellished dress by YSL on the cover, has been photographed across 12 pages by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, the same dudes who photographed her for her album, Reputation.
Thank you @edward_enninful and @mertalas for your passion, spirit, and contagious laughter on set. Mert and Marcus took these photos for @britishvogue and my album photos for reputation, and it's been such a bonding experience working together so closely and talking so much about what we wanted to make. It's been a while since I've done a magazine cover. I'm really happy my first one back was with such wonderful people. #newvogue
That said, Swift does not give an interview. Instead she has written a poem. For Swift, this may be a sign that she is moving into Beyonce territory; you know, keeping the mystique by saying as little as possible (a lesson she's learned the hard way). It might also have been the perfect vehicle for Enninful who does not have to stand behind any potential obnoxious comments that Swift might have made.
Perhaps that's a little too pessimistic; because it seems as if Enninful has nothing but love for her, as he writes on the magazine's website,
"For me, the chance to help transform America's most fascinating sweetheart was a joy. As we took the pop icon on an epic fashion journey with photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, what struck me most about Taylor was her brilliant sense of humour, but also how, for a woman in her twenties, she has an incredible sense of who she is.
"Obviously she is a world-class lyricist - and has written a stunning poem just for Vogue on the timely subject of reinvention and moving on - but she also takes her duties as a role model very seriously. Taylor is acutely aware of her following and how she communicates with young women, and will never portray a character that would send the wrong message.
"That said, even superstars aren't immune to the power of a great dress," he adds. "Taylor says she has never seen herself transformed like this before, and I was very touched to see how emotional she was at the end of our shoot day in London."