We re-created a ‘Vogue’ cover from 50 years ago from our collections. Here’s what happened.

The year was 1990, and Madonna was queen.

Each night of her Blond Ambition World Tour, Madonna would cast off a black blazer, revealing a pale pink satin corset with a conical bra sharp enough to impale the patriarchy from miles away.

It was a symbol of not only female liberation, but power. In the world of fashion, it was the start of a movement.

For evidence, just flip through Vogue magazine: In the years immediately following that tour, mentions of corsets in the magazine nearly quadrupled, after having mostly declined for 80 years.

In fact, traces of pop culture phenomena are scattered across history — and in our documents. Through the Library, Berkeley researchers can access the full archive of Vogue, following the colorful quirks and trends of fashion across the magazine’s over-100-year history.

Vogue covers
Vogue magazine covers from across the decades, from the first issue, left, in 1892, to the September 2000 issue, far right. (© 2012 Condé Nast via ProQuest)

Hilary Schiraldi, Berkeley’s business librarian, acquired the Vogue archive for students researching the fashion and advertising industries. Last year, Schiraldi worked with a student in the School of Information, who used the archive and computational tools to analyze the poses of men and women in fashion photography.

The archive would also come in handy for research on photography, graphic design, textiles, gender issues, or marketing, said Lynn Cunningham, Berkeley’s art librarian.

“The archive provides the opportunity to view and use this (magazine) as a full dataset in ways that have never been possible before now,” Cunningham said.

Users can scan the archive via the online database ProQuest — filtering by designer, editor, photographer, brand, date, and more — or mine the archive as a raw dataset, analyzing over 400,000 pages of text and images. The Library also holds physical copies of Vogue, which researchers can request on OskiCat, the Library’s online catalog. (Other resources for fashion research can be found on this Library guide.)

To celebrate the Vogue collection, we at Library News tried to re-create a Vogue cover from 1969, choosing from dozens of iconic looks. Watch our attempt — fake eyelashes, wig, 3-D-printed jewelry, and all — above.