Graydon Carter knew Caitlyn Jenner's cover would be popular, but this popular?
That was a surprise.
"I knew it would be a thing. I had no idea how big a thing it would be. We decided to work with the Internet rather than just complain about the Internet as a monthly magazine, and it turned out to be amazing," the Vanity Fair editor said Thursday while seated front row at a Gucci cruisewear fashion show.
By "work," Carter meant the magazine's choice to release the cover on social media and simultaneously offer prospective readers the chance to buy the article on iTunes for $4.99 (U.S.).
Soon after, Jenner herself helped break the Internet with a new Twitter account that set a record for the fastest trajectory to 1 million followers – up to 2.37 million four days later. She also amassed 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
Jenner's Old Hollywood style look in a creamy corset for the cover and classic gowns in gold sequins and black were important statements for her, said Jessica Diehl, the magazine's fashion and style director who also attended the Gucci show.
And Jenner – formerly Bruce – was definitely in charge when it came to her debut in the photos shot by Annie Leibovitz.
"I think it was very important for her to come out in a very iconic, timeless but very open way," Diehl said.
Did Diehl, who has styled numerous covers for the magazine, find herself managing Jenner's nerves?
"I think the relief she feels overcomes any nervousness," Diehl said.
The shoot required unprecedented security for the magazine. Diehl hunted for looks incognito in stores.
"We did absolutely nothing digital. Normally we would send pictures to each other but everything was completely offline."
Has Diehl been in the business too long to be moved by the overwhelming attention for Jenner and the cover shoot?
"Not at all," the stylist said. "She's very inspiring."