|Madonna on the cover of US Vogue, May 1989. Editor Anna Wintour was told the cover would not sell||British Vogue beat the US edition in having a Madonna photograph for its front cover four months earlier, February 1989|
I've been looking through some old Vogue covers. I reckon this is the first Madonna Vogue cover in the US edition, dated May 1989.
Fashion Indie noted a while back that editor Anna Wintour says she was told '[Madonna will] never sell', but, in fact, newsstand sales rose 40% with the photo shoot. Strange that Wintour hadn't checked with Liz Tilberis, her successor at the British sister magazine - 'Brogue' - which had run this Madonna Vogue cover in February
Of course, Madonna has a reputation that has seen her described as having the 'world's most exploited belly button' and she vies with Joan Collins and Kate Moss as the biggest magazine cover star.
Yet neither of these Madonna Vogue covers can claim to be the first magazine to carry a Madonna photograph cover, because Madonna Louise Ciccone, to use her full name, had appeared on magazine front covers as early as February 1984 in Britain.
British Vogue has an online cover archive that used to be really useful, with the ability to search on date, model, photographer or editor, but it's messed that up and now there's just a page with endless scrolling for covers. The first Vogue cover under Liz Tilberis was of Naomi Campbell - that model's first appearance on the front of the fashion magazine.
One thing you'll notice is that Madonna seem to reinvent herself for every cover shoot, as you'll see from the first Madonna magazine cover in February 1984.