Wintour, who has been editing the magazine since 1988, wrote that Vogue's long-held tradition 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."
Critics were quick to denounce the issue Friday with blog The Fashion Law tweeting "Dear
Even "Buffy" star Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn't having it: "Well, I guess I'm canceling my Vogue subscription," the actress tweeted.
Meanwhile, Nikki Finke, former editor-in-chief of Deadline, wasn't as nice:
Others called out Vogue for succumbing to West's demands.
The rapper, 36, had urged the magazine to consider his reality star fiancee in an interview Ryan Seacrest last October. "There's no way Kim Kardashian shouldn't be on the cover of Vogue," he said, claiming she was more influential than first lady Michelle Obama in her clothing choices.
"He did nothing of the sort," she wrote. "The gossip might make better reading, but the simple fact of the matter is that it isn't true."
Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, the cover shows Kardashian wearing a white wedding-style dress with West's arms around her and the hashtag 'World's Most Talked About Couple' underneath.
"Kanye is an amazing performer and cultural provocateur, while Kim, through her strength of character, has created a place for herself in the glare of the world's spotlight, and it takes real guts to do that."
Kardashian immediately posted the cover on her official Twitter and Instagram accounts Friday morning saying: "This is such a dream come true!!!" West wrote "Thank you @voguemagazine" on his Twitter account.