Subtlety isn't big right now. The public seems to crave celebrity, so books tend to be marketed with personalities on the cover and it's less common to go into Barnes & Noble and see a display like the one above. At least not in any section that relates to fashion or current affairs.
When The World in Vogue was first published in 1963, the book jacket design was graphic and eye-catching but none of the many historic 20th-century figures discussed within the pages were featured on the cover. Instead there were bold multi-colored letters with a shaded, slightly ombre-like quality. It's interesting to compare the design with that of the second edition scheduled to be released next month.
I have the mid-century volume, which spans the first seven decades of Vogue including World Wars I and II. The jacket reads: "Seven momentous decades of the names, the faces, and the writing that have held the public eye in the arts, society, literature, theatre, fashion, sports and world affairs." And those seven categories are also highlighted in colorful typeface. In 1963 the jacket must have looked very fresh and modern. To me, it stands the test of time but I'd love to hear what all the graphic designers (and design enthusiasts) out there think of it.