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Is Vogue planning a 119-year digital archive?

August 4, 2011 | 11:50 am

Vogue magazine

Does Vogue magazine have a digital archive in the works -- one would stretch all the way back to its original 1892 issue? Rumors say that's exactly what the long-lived fashion magazine is up to.

The blog Fashionista reads the tea leaves:

Vogue editor Anna Wintour attending the Webbys in June, accepting her magazine's "People's Voice" award by saying, "Sometimes, geeks can be chic." (Webby Award winners must give five-word speeches).

Vogue publisher Susan Plagemann telling AdWeek that the magazine will be rolling out a new Web property in December. She declined to specify what that might be.

A "reliable source" confirming that a digital archive is what Vogue has in the works.

Since the AdWeek article -- which was focused on the print ad sales for Vogue's September issue, which are strong -- fashion watchers have been speculating about "Vogue's secret website."

Although the rumors might just be rumors, another Conde Nast property, the New Yorker, has a long history of making its digital archives available to readers -- believe me, I've got the DVDs to prove it. Maybe the digital archive idea is making the Conde Nast rounds.

Or maybe Wintour has been inspired by the excellent new long-form nonfiction site Grantland, and wants to create a lady version. Owned by ESPN, Grantland's content tends toward the sporty, and its masthead is predominantly male -- a site as smart as Grantland focused on beauty and fashion might be a way for Vogue to look forward online, instead of back. But I just say that because I like reading. There are lots of other ways for Vogue to look forward -- and we may have to wait until December to find out what's really going on.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Vogue covers from June 2011, left, and April, 1950, right. Credit: Conde Nast / Associated Press

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