Vogue US editor Anna Wintour, who provoked Twitter outrage over the magazine's April cover featuring Kim Kardashian, is defending the choice, having anticipated the ire before the issue went public.
The April edition created shockwaves among the fashion-minded when its cover was revealed on Friday, showing the reality starlet appearing in a strapless, white gown in the arms of her fiance, hip-hop maestro Kanye West.
The choice sparked ridicule on Twitter, where fans disapproved of the fashion authority making a sophisticated cover girl out of a Hollywood celebrity who more regularly appears in tabloids.
But Wintour disagreed, writing in her editor's letter inside the April edition that "part of the pleasure of editing Vogue ... is being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it".
"I think we can all agree on the fact that that role is currently being played by Kim and Kanye," she said.
On the inside pages, the couple appear in photographs by famous photographer Annie Leibovitz walking down a desert highway and lounging in a private jet. Their nine-month-old daughter North West also makes a cameo appearance.
Although rumours had spread for months that Wintour would not hear mention of Kardashian, the editor rejected as "gossip" the rumour that Kanye had begged her to feature his fiancee.
The cover, which Wintour found "both charming and touching", was "entirely our idea", she said.
But fashion enthusiasts - and Hollywood actors - were flocking to Twitter to challenge the choice.
Actors Seth Rogen and James Franco produced their own spoof version with Rogen saying "it had to be done".
Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar said she would scrap her magazine subscription while style bloggers Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez said: "This is NOTHING about fashion."
"Hell hath frozen over," tweeted Canadian fashion magazine Flare.
Kardashian, however tweeted that it was "such a dream come true!!!" to her more than 20 million followers.