Spotted: A “Vogue” Photo Shoot at the White House

We hear Annie Leibovitz is shooting a cover with First Lady Michelle Obama.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

Spotted Thursday morning at the White House: a team from Vogue moving cameras into the residence. What could that be about? Well, it turns out it’s a photo shoot of First Lady Michelle Obama for the magazine’s cover, most likely the March issue. Also the President’s public schedule is clear for the day, which could indicate he may be involved in the photography session. On the other hand, he may just be staying off the radar as Congress begins confirmation hearings for former Republican senator Chuck Hagel, who has been nominated for Secretary of Defense.

Either way, what we hear is that noted celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz is doing the shoot. What we don’t know is what Mrs. Obama will be wearing, though she has been actively involved in making the choices. Typically, when Vogue does a shoot, they bring a number of fashion options—clothes, shoes, accessories, plus experts for hair and makeup—and that’s just for “regular” people. For the First Lady the project is probably comparable to a small military deployment.

Vogue’s editor, Anna Wintour, was one of the Obama reelection campaign’s most prolific fundraisers, so much so that she was rumored to be in the running to be named ambassador to the United Kingdom, always considered a plum reward for individuals who bring a lot of dough to the candidate’s coffers. The New York Times recently reported that the post will likely go to Matthew Barzun, who was the campaign’s finance chairman. Through a spokesperson, Wintour, who was born in England but is a US citizen, said she was happy with her job at Vogue.

This would not be Michelle Obama’s first Vogue cover or Leibovitz photo. The photographer’s portrait of the First Lady appeared on the cover of the March 2009 issue. In that photo Mrs. Obama wore a dress by designer Jason Wu, who designed her gown for both inaugurations.

We asked the Vogue press department for confirmation of Thursday’s goings on, but director of communications Megan Salt would say only, "We never comment on rumors about future editorial."*

*This post has been updated from a previous version.