I think the endurance of these superstitions has a lot to do with the pressure magazine editors face. Witness Joanna Coles, the new editor of Marie Claire. She recently OK'd a black-and-white cover featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar. It reportedly tanked, and she's come under increasing scrutiny since.
It must be nice for such editors, who must turn a blank page into a blockbuster month after month, to have certain touchstones to return to and certain options that are verboten. And it must also be nice—when you're feeling especially confident—to flout convention once in a while. Bazaar's Bailey says that, for the magazine's January cover, the editors photographed actress Julianne Moore in a blue dress, as well as the notorious green one. But, she says, even though the green dress broke "every rule in the book," the shot worked. "I think in January, that image on the beach with the watercolor blue sky, it just felt like inhaling fresh sea air when you saw it on the newsstand."
Got any idea why Liberman detested green? Was there an apple-hued Vogue that flopped in the '60s? An issue of Vu that performed like merde? Send theories to email@example.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless otherwise stipulated.)