Vogue magazine threatens to sue Cornish village pub of the same name

A letter from Vogue magazine’s owner Condé Nast called on the owners of Star Inn at Vogue in Cornwall to stop using the name, with landlord Mark Graham initially thinking it was a joke

Mark Graham, owner of the Star Inn Vogue in the tiny hamlet of Vogue, St Day, Redruth Cornwall

A bemused publican in the tiny Cornish town of Vogue was shocked to get a ‘cease and desist’ letter from one of the biggest fashion magazines in the world over their use of the name ‘Vogue’.

The letter, which was sent to the Star Inn at Vogue – a 200-year-old pub – by Vogue magazine’s owner Condé Nast, called on them to stop using the name as it might confuse the public. .

The letter asked publicans Mark and Rachel Graham to stop using the name of the Cornish hamlet because it might confuse Vogue’s readers – who might associate the glossy magazine with the Cornish village boozer in a village, reports CornwallLive.

“When I opened the letter I thought some b***** in the village was having me on,” Mark, the 60-year-old Truro-born publican said.

“Surely these people can’t be serious. In this modern day and age someone couldn’t be bothered to go onto Google and see that Vogue is a Cornish hamlet that’s been here for hundreds of years.

Mark Graham outside his pub which has stood for 200 years



“It seems common sense you have taken a backseat on this one.”

In the letter Condé Nast’s chief operating officer Sabine Vandenbroucke, wrote: “Our company is the proprietor of the Vogue mark, not only for its world-famous magazine first published in November 1916 but in respect of other goods and services offered to the public by our company.

“We are concerned that the name which you are using is going to cause problems because as far as the general public is concerned a connection between your business and ours is likely to be inferred.”

Ms Vandenbroucke’s letter, dated March 1, 2022, also asked Mark and Rachel to provide more information about what type of business the Star Inn Vogue pub is about and any imagery it uses to make sure it obviously can’t be confused with the magazine. At the end it adds threateningly: “Please reply within seven days or we will take remedial action.”

Mark, who thought some of his punters were having a laugh at his expense, did reply with a long letter of his own, complete with a selection of photos of the pub and street names found in the area, bearing the name Vogue.

Mark with the letter



He thinks the confusion arose when he and his wife decided to change their trading status from a partnership to a limited company and the name popped up on Companies House.

In his letter to the New York publisher’s London offices, the publican said: “While I found your letter interesting on the one hand, I also found it hilariously funny. I presume your magazine bases its name on the dictionary term for being in fashion which is uncapitalized as used in the Oxford English Dictionary.

“If a member of your staff had taken the time to investigate they would have discovered that our company, the Star Inn, is in the small village of Vogue, near St Day, Cornwall. Yes, that’s right, Vogue is the name of our village, which has been in existence for hundreds of years and in fact is a Cornish word, not English.

The publisher complained the name might cause members of the public to think there was a connection between magazine and pub



“I note in your letter that you have only been in existence since 1916 and I presume that at the time when you chose the name Vogue in the capitalized version you didn’t seek permission from the villagers of the real Vogue.

“I also presume that Madonna did not seek your permission to use the word Vogue (again the capitalized version) for her 1990s song of the same name.

“You are both at liberty to use the uncapitalized version without our permission. As a side note she didn’t seek our permission either.”

Mark concluded by saying: “In answer to your question whether we would change our name, it is a categorical NO.”

The Mirror has contacted Condé Nast for comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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