Anna Wintour has defended her Vogue cover featuring US Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris wearing Converse trainers after it was widely criticised online.
The politician appears on the front of the February issue of the magazine and is seen wearing a suit and sneakers and standing in front of a pink curtain.
The image was released over the weekend, but prompted a fierce backlash on Twitter, with some claiming the cover looked "amateurish" and "disrespectful".
One tweeted: "The pic itself isn't terrible as a pic. It's just far, far below the standards of Vogue.
"They didn't put thought into it. Like homework finished the morning it's due. Disrespectful."
The publication later released another image from the shoot, showing Harris looking much more formal in a blue suit with both pictures being shared as digital covers online.
The magazine's famous editor-in-chief has now addressed the backlash and spoken out in defence of the trainers picture, which she described as "charming and relaxed" and "surprising and real".
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In a statement to the New York Times, Wintour said: "Obviously we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover and I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the Vice President-Elect's incredible victory.
"We want nothing to celebrate Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris' amazing victory and the important moment this is in America's history and particularly for women of colour all over the world.
"There was no formal agreement about what the choice of the cover would be. And when the two images arrived at Vogue, all of us felt very very strongly that the less formal portrait of the Vice President Elect really reflected the moment that we were living in.
"Which we were in the midst of as we still are of the most appalling pandemic that is taking lives by the minute .
"We felt to reflect this tragic moment in global history, a much less formal picture, something that was very very accessible and approachable and really reflected the hallmark of the Biden\Harris campaign and everything they're trying to and am sure will achieve."
She also opened up about the cover in an interview with the New York Times' Sway show, revealing Harris picked the clothes herself and with Wintour insisted the trainers were her "favourite" part of the look.
The fashion mogul said: "Well we are honoured that we have the current Vice President-Elect on the cover...
"Obviously it's a historic moment for women of colour in America... We very much wanted to have this cover around the time of the inauguration as we felt it would be such a celebration, of joy."
She added: "They were her own clothes... and she looks fantastic."
Wintour went on: "She has a very assured sense of style, she has a strong sense of self and what she wants to wear...
"I think the fact that the cover is so charming and relaxed and so surprising and so real... as I listen to the President-Elect and the Vice President-Elect talk about empathy and unity and bringing people together, to me this cover symbolises that.
"I feel it's a very welcoming image... What's amazing about the February cover to me is that it's just so joyful and optimistic and I cannot imagine that there's anyone that is really going to find this cover anything but that, positive...
"To me it's just a very important and positive statement about women and women in power."