The spectacle of Ukraine’s president and first lady being featured in Vogue along with a glossy photo shoot by the celebrity portraitist Annie Leibovitz has triggered outcry from a predictable chorus of Western scolds. How can the Zelenskys indulge in such frippery when there’s a war on? Surely they have more urgent demands on their time. This is how they repay all our donations? And, of course, there’s the wokier fringe inveighing with heated objections to the heteronormative nature of the pairing, not to mention (gasp) the implicit wife-as-helpmate symbolism.
Yet the actual profile and interview, ostensibly centered on Mrs. Zelensky (Olena Zelenska), comes across as sober, gritty and thoroughly focused on Ukraine’s struggles. Nor do any of the photographs appear flamboyant or loudly fashion-conscious. Lacking any substantive cause, the clamor seems to have been largely provoked by the quietly confident elegance on display.