There’s always a star in Vogue magazine, but chances are, the Star Inn at Vogue, a pub, has been around longer. Confused? So was the owner of The Star Inn at Vogue pub, who claims Vogue magazine publisher Condé Nast recently sent a letter saying the pub’s name may “cause problems” – and asked if he could change it.
The pub’s landlord, Mark Graham, said he not only received the letter, which BBC News has seen, but when he replied, Condé Nast wrote back.
The letter Graham first received stated: “We are concerned that the name 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.”
Graham had recently registered the business as a private limited company on Companies House, the U.K.’s registrar of companies.
“Please would you kindly let us know what field of business your company is trading/intending to trade, and whether you will change your company’s name in order to avoid problems arising,” the letter continues. The letter, which appears to have come from the office of Condé Nast Britain’s Chief Operating Officer Sabine Vandenbroucke. CBS News has not independently verified the letter.
Graham said he thought it was a joke at first “but apparently it is real.” The pub has been in the small U.K. village of Vogue for 150 years, and Graham felt the letter was “a little heavy-handed.”
“So, I thought I’d send them a letter back – being heavy-handed too,” he told BBC News.
“Whilst I found your letter interesting on the one hand, I also found it hilariously funny on the other,” he wrote.
In his reply to Condé Nast, he explained “that the village has been here for 200 years, the pub slightly less than that. We chose the name of the pub to be the name of the village,” he said. He added that Madonna did not ask the village to use “Vogue” for the title of her hit 1990 song either.
Graham said he considered countering their claim, since “we were here first,” and joked that they should start a magazine for the village called Vogue magazine.
He said he received a reply from Condé Nast. In the second letter, the publisher said it was “grateful” for Graham’s reply, and to learn more about the pub “in this beautiful part of our country,” BBC News reports. Condé Nast said it has a team that regularly monitors the use of the name Vogue. It was alerted to the use of the name for the pub through Companies House.
“You are quite correct to note that further research by our team would have identified that we did not need to send such a letter on this occasion,” the letter read, according to BBC News.
CBS News has reached out to Condé Nast and Condé Nast Britain for comment and is awaiting response.