Vogue magazine puts spotlight on Wharton
LENOX -- The Edith Wharton Restoration at The Mount, which has gained prominence as a result of recent worldwide celebrations of the literary lioness's birth 150 years ago, again is in the spotlight, thanks to a lavishly illustrated, 16-page spread in Vogue.
The leading international fashion, cultural and lifestyle monthly magazine has a circulation of more than 1.2 million.
Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz and a Vogue crew took over the property for three days in late June for a secret on-location shoot, according to Rebecka Mc Dougall, The Mount's marketing and communications director. The feature appears in the September issue, soon to be available in stores and online at www.vogue.com/magazine.
McDougall and The Mount's executive director, Susan Wis sler, created a pitch that scored with Vogue through the efforts of Regan Com munications, a New York City public relations firm.
Vogue calls its 120th-anniversary issue the largest ever, weighing five pounds.
The Vogue team studied historical images of Wharton and her literary and high-society circle of friends during her residence at The Mount.
Leibovitz scouted the property last May, and Vogue editors approved the project.
"A small army of easily 50 people came," McDougall recalled.
"It was like a movie set," said Lila Berle, chairwoman of the Mount's board.
"The entrance hall was transformed into a giant dressing room," Wissler said. "The drawing room was sort of the war room, with poster boards depicting what they were going to be doing."
Most of the costumes and dresses were commissioned for the project, re-creating period authenticity with a modern flair, Wissler said. A group of actors, writers and models, including some Whar ton admirers, posed for the photography.
After proofs of the fashion spread arrived, "We were very jubilant," Berle said. "It's a big lift to be recognized by an important publication."
The title of the Vogue presentation, "The Custom of the Country," is identical to one of Wharton's books.
"It means there is a resurgence -- she's important, relevant, current, and hip," Mc Dougall said.
Or as Entertainment Week ly put it recently, "Edith Wharton is hot."