How to Join
the Fashion Spot / Visualizing Fashion / Behind the Lens
FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Rules Links Mobile How to Join
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
31-01-2009
  31
don't look down
 
tigerrouge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Béal Feirste
Gender: femme
Posts: 11,884
Today in the Independent (a UK newspaper) there was an interview with Alexandra Shulman...

Quote:
Life in Vogue: The fashionable world of Alexandra Shulman

As editor of Vogue, Alexandra Shulman is one of the most important people in fashion. But how does she feel about the luxury-goods business now that recession is biting?

By Deborah Orr
Saturday, 31 January 2009

Alexandra Shulman is riled. Fashion, she passionately believes, gets a rough ride: "Scarcely a day goes by without me reading in some newspaper or other about some unethical aspect of the industry that they've uncovered. Fashion is blamed for paedophilia, landfill, drug addiction, animal rights ... Every kind of goody-goody projects on to fashion as the epicentre of all that is wrong with the Western world and I do get irritated about it, because you just think: 'Why?' "

Blimey. And Shulman – editor of Vogue for 16 years now and well established as one of the most powerful people in British fashion – hasn't even mentioned eating disorders, the obsession with looking youthful unto death, the generation of a consumer debt unequalled by any other country on the planet, or regular exposés of sweatshop working practices. I've mentioned some of this though, and it has not gone down terribly well. The article I'm intending to write, Shulman asserts rather witheringly, is just going to be like all those reams of other anti-fashion articles that make her so annoyed.

I'm not, I assure her, "anti-fashion". All I'm trying to suggest is that the huge growth in demand for more and more new clothes, has played a significant part in fuelling the boom that has now been so clearly revealed as a hypertropic, transient bubble.

I agree with Shulman that it isn't, and wasn't, Vogue's job to report on the iniquities of store-card APRs, or to carry long editorials questioning the wisdom of aggressive, globalised consumerism. Neither the 220,000 people who buy the venerable and expensive magazine each month, nor the companies that buy its advertising space and contribute to its status as Britain's most profitable glossy, do so in the hope that Vogue will tell them that their paradise might be a foolish one. But surely Shulman cannot be entirely impervious to the idea that things may have got just a little bit crazy?

Shulman insists that fashion is about design, while I'm talking about retailing. Yet Shulman's own belief in "fashion values", she freely admits, involves strong identification with the fashion consumer. In fact, Shulman's embrace of the fashion mainstream is part of what has made her editorship of the magazine distinctive. The editor of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, covers fashion as an esoteric art form. The editor of US Vogue, Anna Wintour, counts her understanding of the corporate aspects of fashion as part of the formula that has made her two-decade tenure such a success. But Shulman has always taken a more democratic approach, and the editor of British Vogue lauds Primark with as much enthusiasm as she does Prada.

"I really do like buying things and spending money," she says. "It gives me a lift. I'm a real sucker for that feeling that your world will change because of something you've bought. I know that it won't, really. But I totally buy into that idea that for a brief moment everything seems better, when you've got a new dress that you look good in. I've always felt that. So I'm not a great fashion person in terms of a huge knowledge or body of work within pure fashion design, but I love clothes and the whole thing of looking at them and shopping and all of that stuff."

As hobbies go, shopping is hardly an unusual one. But it is quite unusual for a Vogue editor to boast that she's "not a great fashion person". Shulman's appointment in 1992, when she was 34, was greeted as a controversial one, precisely because she was considered not to be "a great fashion person" – and she's gone quietly along with this myth ever since.
Actually though, virtually everyone in Shulman's immediate family has been involved in journalism or high-end fashion glossies, at some time or another. Her father was the theatre critic Milton Shulman; her mother, Drusilla Beyfus, was for a time a Vogue features editor; her brother, the artist Jason Shulman, was once the highly respected art director of Tatler; and her sister, the writer Nicola Shulman, was for a long time a contributor to Harpers and Queen. Shulman herself, divorced from the journalist Paul Spike – with whom she has a son, Sam, born in 1995 – now lives in north-west London and is in a relationship with the writer and magazine editor David Jenkins. With all this in mind, her successful career at Vogue publisher Condé Nast can't have come as that much of a surprise.

Anyway, after stints on Over 21, Tatler and the Sunday Telegraph, Shulman herself served as Vogue's features editor under Liz Tilberis, the editor she was to replace, and was moved into the top job from her editorship of another Condé Nast flagship title, the men's fashion glossy, GQ. Certainly, Shulman was hired at Vogue with a brief that involved recapturing an "intellectual range" that it was felt had been "slightly jettisoned" during the 1980s. But under Shulman's editorship the magazine has increased circulation by diversifying its coverage while maintaining a tight focus on fashion as its defining subject. Which was exactly what she was hired to do.

Shulman took her place in the editor's chair just as Britain was coming out of another notable recession. The 1980s had been dubbed the "designer decade", and characterised as the period when Britain – and Vogue – took to its heart the concept of conspicuous mass consumption. But at the start of the 1990s, there was some speculation that the last decade of the millennium would mark a return to wider, more inclusive values. Green politics, it was suggested, might start to dominate. People would start asking whether money was really everything. Society would become more gentle, more caring. Shulman's appointment was no doubt made in part in anticipation of such a shift. It didn't work out that way.

Shulman remembers that period well. "I'm not sure if it was actually classed as a recession, or just a downturn, but I remember all the 'For Sale' signs ranked in rows on terraced houses and everything. Certainly we'd lost a lot of ad pages in the previous year, and business for Vogue was a lot tougher than it had been in the 1980s.

"But at that time a whole slew of new designers bubbled up – like McQueen, Stella McCartney, Hussein Chayalan Clements Ribeiro. A new generation came up through that period ... actually the whole Brit Art thing bubbled up then. I'm not sure whether it encourages creativity, whether it's because people are looking for alternatives to what's fed to them on a mass scale, whether they are more interested in what's happening on the underground, or what it is, but you do get new names, new businesses, during recessions. Things happen. It can be quite an exciting time creatively. And old names often die."

Shulman is far too much the diplomatic businesswomen to be tempted to speculate on which of the old names will die, although she is pretty sure that Vogue won't be one of them: "We had, up until the end of last year, as good a year as the one before, and that was a record year. That's in ads. Circulation, I think we're going to be 1 per cent down on the newsstand, which compares to other people being 20 per cent down. So we've been really lucky. The first issue we've lost some ads is February. And I'm still waiting to hear about March which is a big fashion special. Nobody thinks it's going to be as good next year as last year, but it's a question of: 'How bad?' "

But she will go as far as to admit that while Vogue has experienced only advantage during the boom, the recent, seemingly insatiable, demand for product has not always been unequivocably welcomed by the designers whose work the magazine primarily exists to analyse and assess. "I talk to Matthew Williamson or Alber Elbaz at Lanvin or Alexander McQueen," she says. "They will all say that they are being pressurised into designing more and more lines and merchandise by department stores. Because up until now there have been people coming in with a lot of money and wanting more different things to go in, to look at, and to buy.

"During this worldwide recession there are going to be far fewer of those people able to walk in and buy a new handbag every week, or three a week, or whatever – whether they were right or wrong to do it, I'm not making that point.

"And I'd never say: 'Debt-fuelled consumerism has damaged Karl Lagerfeld's creativity'."

__________________
You're perfect, yes, it's true. But without me, you're only you.
Status: Online
 
Reply With Quote
 
31-01-2009
  32
don't look down
 
tigerrouge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Béal Feirste
Gender: femme
Posts: 11,884
Cont...

Quote:
This is just as well. Few people would find it easy to accept that fashion designers have been the helpless victims in the fashion boom, reluctantly labouring away at filling the shops with new stuff, and unable to protest because the gold that has been stuffed into their mouths has rendered them dumb.

Yet while Shulman is comfortable discussing the less beneficial effects of the demand for novelty on designers, she is loath to say anything critical about decadent buying patterns that have driven this market, or the fashion market more generally. She is keen to get across that there's a difference between high-street fashion and designer fashion. But she admits that the retail model for both has been for a long time driven by novelty and volume. "Topshop for instance. I'm a huge fan of Topshop, I think it's great, I think their designs are fantastic; they have a huge range now, they have an endless amount of new merchandise coming in, and that's a totally different model.

"There's no department store saying we need more Topshop, it's totally Topshop saying: 'We need new things.' That is again because they've got people coming in every week wanting to see something new to buy – shopping as a leisure activity and so on. And people just aren't going to be able to buy like they did. There is going to be an organic change. So, yes, maybe things have gone too far, and there is going to have to be a readjustment."

What, exactly, has "gone too far" though? Shulman herself experiences the act of purchasing as "a lift" or "a hit", and one that fades quickly, leaving the purchaser dissatisfied and disappointed. Even though this spiral of need is the same as that described by a smack addict, Shulman firmly denies that there may be anything dysfunctional about questing relentlessly for that perfect new top that will make everything wonderful.

Yet isn't the creation of want the very thing that may have "gone too far"? And isn't that most obvious in fashion because – unlike technology, say – the industry is often striving to sell the illusion of novelty, rather than the benefits of actual innovation? If even those who are involved in fashion as an art form, rather than fashion as a retail opportunity, are complaining of the insatiable demand for "new things", isn't something awry?

"Fashion designers are between a rock and a hard place. If they don't supply something new – one season it's skinny-leg trousers, the next season it's peg-top high-waisted trousers – then fashion critics will say: 'Oh, so-and-so has no new ideas, there's nothing new on the catwalk.'

"I don't think that is right. We don't say it here at Vogue, and I'd never say that personally. But designers do quite often get hammered by the press. So I think fashion journalists play a part in that desire for something new."

Shulman warms to her theme, gets up from her white table in her white office, and picks up some sort of unguent. "This? Right! A bottle with a liquid in it. You've got to make this bottle in some way stand out from another 3,000 other bottles that aren't that dissimilar. I think a lot of people who are engaged in this process, in this fevered, febrile thing ... including me, probably ... develop a disengagement with what's happening at the other end."

Yet "disengagement" is – in a broader sense, across the economy – exactly what has got us into the mess we are now in. The classic example is that bright sparks in finance decided it was a good idea for the people granting mortgages to become "disengaged" from those recovering the capital that had been lent. But strange, dangerous firewalls have developed in all kinds of industries.

Shulman has great sympathy with designers, the people she talks to, when they say that vast demand has its downside. But when other critics point to the difficulties created in other parts of the industry by the same thing, she suspects they are "anti-fashion". Shulman is personally attractive for a number of reasons. One of them is that she is not herself a super-thin, over-groomed, clothes-horse. Another is that she is not afraid to say: "I don't know".

She admits she does not know much about the working conditions of those involved in the mass manufacture of clothes, or about the glut of discarded cheap clothing that has become so great that only a small fraction of it can be recycled in any form. Narrowly, she is right to say that these are not the concerns of Vogue. But the problem is that the Big Picture has become the concern of no one. The fashion industry, like so many other areas of commerce, has been atomised, and while Shulman is reluctant to address this, she does, even in her defence of shopping, concede that context is crucial.

"I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with liking shopping and liking clothes," she says. "The problem comes when you don't want anything else. If you're not reading any poetry, or interested in discovering new films ..." But Shulman also asserts that, "it's a very elitist view, to say that it's all right to buy a new book every week, or see a new film, but not to buy a new T-shirt."

While we are on the subject of books, I bring up the subject of Susan Irvine's recently published first novel, Muse. Irvine is the long-term partner of Shulman's brother, Jason, and straddles nicely the parental preoccupations of her boyfriend's parents by combining fashion writing with theatre criticism.
Irvine's book combined these preoccupations as well, and offers a theatrical and vivid portrayal of a young woman trying to make it in the fashion media, and becoming unhinged as she does so. At one point her only regular income comes from a freelance contract which obliges her to supply copy for a magazine's "This Week's Must-Have" spot. What did Shulman make of this?

"I liked the book very much, it's a very good novel. But it was about a small area of the fashion business, an obsessive area. There's an obsessive quality about all – I don't want to sound wanky here – but about all those creative areas, if you work in the music industry, if you work in the art world. When you're dealing with things that are intangibles. Fashion is smoke and mirrors – a lot of it. We create images, we create a world of stuff, yes, ultimately to make people want to have it. Yes, most people in the Western world don't need another expensive coat. They probably don't need another white T-shirt either. They don't need it. What we're trying to do is make people want it. There is an argument to say that is evil. But obviously I don't believe that."

Perhaps some people do believe that the creation of want is evil. For most people though, there is only a problem when want is created without attention to anything but the price on the tag.
independent.co.uk/life-

__________________
You're perfect, yes, it's true. But without me, you're only you.

Last edited by BetteT; 31-01-2009 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Removing link.
Status: Online
 
Reply With Quote
01-02-2009
  33
backstage pass
 
TraiT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Singapore
Gender: homme
Posts: 648
^Thanks a billion for that interview tigerrouge!

though very formal and serious, I thought that shulman handled it, and presented herself really well. Very down-to-earth.

And never do I know that her whole family's involved in fashion journalism! Interesting!

__________________
TraiT - Blog
  Reply With Quote
01-02-2009
  34
V.I.P.
 
vogue28's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
Gender: homme
Posts: 16,771
I wonder why she does not attend many fashion shows?

__________________
.
  Reply With Quote
01-02-2009
  35
backstage pass
 
TraiT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Singapore
Gender: homme
Posts: 648
^I think she attend london shows more. There're a couple of interviews of her after some london shows.

Actually, I kinda like her and her team(kate and chambers) to be a little mysterious.

__________________
TraiT - Blog
  Reply With Quote
15-03-2009
  36
front row
 
christrinity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Dublin,Ireland/Paris,France
Gender: homme
Posts: 375
I really admire the work she has done with British Vogue, I agree that its definitely better than US Vogue! Though they have Kate Moss on the cover FAR too much, I think she has had something like 25 covers? Every couple of months there is always a Kate cover! It gets a bit irritating

__________________
Inside the hectic PR office of an LVMH brand in Paris!
http://twitter.com/KenzoPR
  Reply With Quote
20-03-2009
  37
V.I.P.
 
kasper!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Gender: homme
Posts: 4,351
Fall 2009 Ready-to-Wear
Miu Miu

Front Row

British Vogue's Alexandra Shulman and i-D's Terry Jones.



style.com

__________________
tumblr
  Reply With Quote
29-03-2009
  38
 
Marvystone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: femme
Posts: 3,988
Quote:
Vogue On Vogue

27 March 2009
BRITISH fashion's number one - Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman - and VOGUE.COM's Dolly Jones sat down to a fashionable tête a tête as the Fashion Business Club convened at One Alfred Place to hear Shulman discuss her "incredible" career, fear of flying and supporting British fashion.
Shulman's career path has been well documented but, as she confessed to Jones, few people know that it was only after reading in the newspapers that she was a candidate for the top job at Vogue that she began to think of herself in the role.
"Until I started reading my name in the papers," she said, "it didn't even enter my head that I could do it or even that I would want to do it." And of her non-fashion background, Shulman admitted that "there was no depth to how much I didn't know."
One reason not to do it, she said, was that it potentially could take over her life. "I was worried that it might mean I wouldn't marry or have a child if I had such a big job," she said. "But luckily both of those things did happen."
Another factor considered before taking the helm of British Vogue was her long-held fear of flying. "I hadn't been on a plane in 10 years," she told the rapt audience. "How could I accept a job that would mean that I had to fly all the time? I'm still very nervous on a plane."
Asked if she felt scrutinised by the press, ever, Shulman said that she had made a decision long ago not to be distracted by the public perception of her. "It's funny when people say to me that I don't look like the editor of Vogue," she said. "I sort of think - 'it's been 17 years now, I mean, this is what the editor of Vogue looks like.'"
When the audience was given a chance to ask the lauded editor their questions, the chairman of the British Fashion Council - Harold Tillman - himself was keen to point out that intrinsically British brand Burberry is "the most profitable luxury fashion business in the world."
To young designers, Shulman offered the following advice: "If you are going to be a designer, it is a business. You can't just be an artist. Try to form a partnership with someone who can manage the business side; Valentino Garavani, Giorgio Armani and Matthew Williamson all formed partnerships with people who take care of business."
And what of the future for Alexandra Shulman? "I am not going to be editor of Vogue all my life. I am very aware that Vogue goes on and on and I'm only here for a while, just passing through it. It's important not to define yourself by your job because you'll be devastated when you lose it; and people do lose jobs."
"I've always thought I want to write a book, though I have no idea what it would be about. And the first challenge is to get past my 3,000 word limit. Other than that, on my to-do list is to become a proper gardener - currently I think of myself as one but in fact I have someone who comes to do it for me - and to learn how to do things properly: how to use my Mac properly, for a start."
vogue.co.uk

__________________
  Reply With Quote
30-03-2009
  39
V.I.P.
 
vogue28's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
Gender: homme
Posts: 16,771
thank you for posting the picture at Miu Miu Fall 2009
& the 'Vogue on Vogue' article was a great read, thanks for posting.

__________________
.
  Reply With Quote
13-06-2009
  40
rising star
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: England,UK
Gender: homme
Posts: 143
Wasnt sure where on the forum to post this so sorry if theres a better section for it

Quote:
Vogue Shreds Firms On Size-Zero Models

2:02pm UK, Saturday June 13, 2009

The editor of one of the world's most influential fashion magazines has lashed out at haute couture companies for forcing the use of super-skinny models.


The fashion industry has been accused of pressuring women to conform
In an unprecedented move, veteran Vogue UK editor Alexandra Shulman sent a letter toluxury fashion firms complaining about the clothes sent for models to use in photo shoots in her magazine.
The Times has now published parts of the lambasting letter, which was not intended for publication, from Ms Shulman about so-called size-zero models.
"During the time I have been at Vogue the sample sizes that models are required to wear have become substantially smaller," she wrote in the missive.
As a result, the editor accused designers of making her hire models with "jutting bones and no breasts or hips".
She added: "Nowadays, I often ask the photographers to retouch to make the models appear larger.
"I am finding that the feedback from my readers and the general feeling in the UK is that people really don't want to see such thin girls either in editorial or advertising."
Ms Shulman told the newspaper: "I don't want to be too specific about it, but it was very recently. I found myself saying to the photographers, 'Can you not make them look too thin?"'
Art staff have resorted to using software programmes to smooth away protruding features and flesh out the models to make them appear more palatable.
Ironically, the highly respected fashion editor also revealed that some cover images only show faces - not the clothes - because readers are "uncomfortable".


The Vogue action comes after the fashion world has been accused repeatedly of pressuring young girls and women into unhealthy dietary lifestyles to maintain slim figures.
According to the paper, although Ms Shulman does not believe all firms are to blame the letter was sent to the world's major designers including Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Donatella Versace.
Ms Versace's own daughter has battled with an eating disorder for several years.
news.sky.com

  Reply With Quote
13-06-2009
  41
V.I.P.
 
vogue28's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: England
Gender: homme
Posts: 16,771
Thank you for the thread update Diamondsea

__________________
.
  Reply With Quote
13-06-2009
  42
fashion icon
 
Cicciolina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Anywhere but here
Gender: femme
Posts: 3,026
Thanks for all the updates The Independent article was particularly interesting.

I'm sure she goes to many shows, she's probably just not often photographed. She has a relatively lower profile than her American peers, who probably can be considered minor celebrities at times.

  Reply With Quote
13-06-2009
  43
V.I.P.
 
ponytrot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Rabbit Hole
Gender: femme
Posts: 4,565
she seems highly intelligent and erudite which I admire

__________________
World enough and time...
  Reply With Quote
14-09-2009
  44
don't look down
 
tigerrouge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Béal Feirste
Gender: femme
Posts: 11,884
An interview in The Guardian:

Quote:
Vogue's Alexandra Shulman: LFW designers ignore size-zero problem

'I don't expect to see particularly larger clothes at London Fashion Week,' says Vogue editor and anti-size zero campaigner Alexandra Shulman.

13 Sep 2009

Walking into the offices of Vogue, I expect to be greeted by a scene of high fashion histrionics. There will, I have no doubt, be hissy fits, Louboutin heels flying across the room, and a spiky editor glaring at a teary assistant who has called in the wrong Chanel dress for the front cover.

Essentially, I am expecting a scene from The Devil Wears Prada or Ugly Betty, the fictional portrayals of fashionistas that have fed our imagination about the day-to-day high drama of fashion magazines. Clips from The September Issue, the new documentary film about the fearsome rule of Anna Wintour, editor of American Vogue, only feeds the imagination further.

The smiling editor and aura of calm that instead greet me at Vogue's sleek white offices in central London are unnerving. Laughing at my obvious surprise – and slight disappointment – Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue for 17 years, confesses that despite their best efforts, Channel 4 were recently forced to abandon a similar attempt at documenting her magazine when they failed to find the dirt they were digging for.

"We started on a television documentary about Vogue and they stopped after about three months because, after poking around, they couldn't find any trouble," she says, ushering me into her office.

"I think this [The September Issue] shows that you can make a film about the reality of fashion, without having people flouncing out in floods of tears. What's nice about people who work on a magazine like this is to see that the film reflects the passion and creativity that goes into it. Most things I've seen about the fashion industry have just struck me as cartoons, whereas this was so realistic that I came away from watching it with a tension headache as if I'd done a really hard day's work, because it was like my life was on screen."

Shulman says she is hugely optimistic about London Fashion Week, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this week with a move to Somerset House and the return of fashion houses including Burberry, Matthew Williamson and Pringle.

Back in February, the event was something of a damp squib, with big name designers abandoning the catwalks in search of cheaper ways to show their collections. "A year ago I was concerned about what this fashion week was going to look like. The world as we know it was collapsing around our ears, but I think this one is really special because it's 25 years and it's a moment for people to focus on London. Because of the recession, young designers need all the help they can get, so the more people we can drive into London the better.

"I'm not just saying it because I edit British Vogue, but for the last few years, the talent coming through here has been really good. You've got a new generation of already established designers like Richard Nicoll, Marios Schwab and Christopher Kane, and underneath them there is new talent coming through like Peter Pilotto, Meadham Kirchhoff and Mark Fast. It's very exciting to see, and I do feel that London continues to be a more creative and adventurous centre for fashion than Paris, Milan or New York."

Yet despite the wealth of new talent, Shulman feels the fashion industry still has a raw deal. "It is kind of underfunded and undervalued, still, compared with something like the film industry which really now gets quite a lot of government help and grants. We're still not taken as seriously."

Dressed in a polka dot Graham & Spencer shift dress and Sergio Rossi heels, Shulman seems less scary than her American and French counterparts. Yet Stephen Quinn, the publishing director of Condé Nast, says: "I always tease her that her staff are more scared of her than mine are of me. She has that grand authority."

But unlike the stick-thin, immaculately coiffed Wintour, who is said to rise every day at 5am to have her hair professionally blow-dried, and French Vogue's Carine Roitfeld, who wears spray-on leather leggings to the office, Shulman, 51, looks chic but real.

A curvy size 12 on a good day, and 14 on a bad one, her chestnut hair is threaded with grey, and she eats, smokes, sunbathes and drinks without obsessing about the impact on her appearance. In fact, her Hollywood-white teeth are the only visible signs of vanity. "People still say to me, you don't look like the editor of Vogue, and I say, well, I am, and this is what the editor of Vogue looks like!" she says laughing.

While Shulman may not fret over her own weight, she does have concerns about designers' determination to use super-skinny models in shows and magazines. In June, a copy of an angry letter she wrote to designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and designers at Prada, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent was leaked.

In it, she accused designers of supplying magazines with such "minuscule" garments for their photoshoots that they were forced to use models with "jutting bones and no breasts or hips" to fit the clothes.

"We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don't comfortably fit the established star models," she wrote, adding that the Vogue was now having to "retouch" the models to make them look larger.

It was an unprecedented stand on the "size zero" issue from someone in her position, where keeping designers happy in return for precious advertising revenue is all important. Why rock the boat?

"I wrote it because it was something I'd been thinking about for quite a long time," she explains. "And there was one incident which happened in the magazine – it was something that I wanted to shoot on somebody and I wasn't able to because they couldn't fit the dress and they were really quite a small person. I just thought, this is insane.

"That was the trigger that really made me think about trying to talk to the designers about it but it was also a way of addressing the issue that was something very specific, because I think that everyone just saying, oh well, we want to see fatter models isn't a particularly constructive or helpful way to address the issue.

"One of the things I felt I could do was try and affect the people we could photograph in the magazine. My job is to show fashion in this magazine, and if I can't show people in the clothes, then that limits the amount of people I can feature. So it seemed to me to be one way of trying to raise the issue."

Despite such a sharp shot across the boughs, Shulman admits that most designers are reluctant to admit there is a problem. "A couple of people have said yes you're right, we're going to do something about it, but I wouldn't say, in the main, that's been the response.

"Most people have thought about it and on the whole don't feel that the sample sizes they produce are too small – they feel that they are reasonable for the job they are meant to do."

Shulman pauses, then sighs when I ask her if she thinks the designers will be sending Vogue larger sample sizes for photoshoots for next season's collections. "No. I don't expect in the next season I'm going to see anything particularly huger.

"I do think the fashion industry is a little bit out of touch at the moment with this. There is a real feeling that an appreciation of more diverse shapes is what people want. Cookie-cutter is less appealing than it used to be in all kinds of ways, whether that be in ethnicity or physiognomy or what people weigh. So just to have one uniform norm is a bit of an old-fashioned concept. I think it will change, but slower than I would like to see it change."

The fashion industry's other bugbear continues to be the issue of race, with Naomi Campbell, who has graced the cover of Vogue considerably less than her fellow fair-skinned supermodels, repeatedly accusing the industry of racism and magazines of "sidelining black beauty".

Vivienne Westwood, the grand dame of British fashion, has also called the industry "racist" singling out magazines as particularly culpable. Dame Vivienne believes magazines should be forced to use a certain proportion of black and Asian models on their pages, even if its hits their circulation.

Shulman, though keen to feature more diversity in her magazine, thinks that is unrealistic. "We live in a primarily Caucasian country in terms of skin colouring and on the whole, people buy magazines that seem to be about people like themselves, admittedly an enhanced version of themselves.

"That is a reality and I don't think you're ever going to get 50 per cent of the cover girls being black or Asian, but certainly there should be more. But I don't like tokenism. There is a danger that if you do one thing and it's all about fat people or its all about black people, you do one issue and that's dealing with the problem. Well, it's not, and I just think that what everyone has to do is to try and filter in more diversity bit by bit. We should all be doing it."

Unlike Wintour, who admits it was her lifelong ambition to edit Vogue, Shulman, whose parents were both journalists, never envisaged herself ending up with one of the most influential jobs in fashion. "I think its absolutely unbelievable, I mean literally incredible. It seems very strange still to me that this is what happened."

After studying social anthropology at Sussex University, Shulman was fired from two jobs in the music industry, before joining Over-21 magazine. Jobs at Tatler, The Sunday Telegraph and GQ followed, before she took the helm at Vogue in 1992. In 2005, she was awarded an OBE for her services to the magazine industry.

"I came through journalism, I didn't come through fashion, so fashion was something I had to learn about," she says, which may explain why she naively gave no thought to what she would wear to her first collections, oblivious to the fact that everyone on the front rows would be scrutinising her outfits.

A divorcee, she lives in Queen's Park with her partner, the journalist David Jenkins, and Sam, her 14-year-old son from her marriage to the author Paul Spike. At weekends, she sheds the fashion editor mantle in favour of a QPR shirt for football matches with Sam, and unwinds during the week by cooking for friends.

"I do a lot of entertaining, have people round and cook supper," she says. "Because it's a way of not worrying about things to do with work – if you're thinking about other people and making a meal, you can't be thinking about the fact you haven't got a cover for the next issue."

Shulman believes that fashion is even more important in tough times, and that the high fashion and steep prices featured in Vogue provide a "escapism" for women. "I think in general in times of hardship people care terribly about their appearance – it's a basic impulse. For a lot of people, there's a need for escapism, a need to bring lightness into their life, whatever way that might be, whether that's looking at fashion or a beautiful magazine."

But the magazine has not entirely ignored the recession, resurrecting the "More Dash than Cash" pages for tips on belt-tightening styles. "It's about what you can do with what you already have and what you can do to make things look better. In April we did tips for fabulous frugality, which had lots of advice on really cheap things to zhoozh up your life."
Shulman is particularly proud of the November issue, which is entirely dedicated to the More Dash than Cash way of dressing.

"It's fantastic. They've got the most amazing fashion shoots which are so inventive, showing make do and mend tips and affordable styles. It really is quite incredible what you can do with a jay cloth and bin liner."

__________________
You're perfect, yes, it's true. But without me, you're only you.
Status: Online
 
Reply With Quote
19-10-2009
  45
life begins here
 
Dona's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Gender: femme
Posts: 3,630
I like Alexandra & her work for British Vogue. She seems to be down to earth.

__________________
success is a journey, not a destination
  Reply With Quote
Reply
Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Tags
alexandra, editorinchief, shulman, uk, vogue
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

monitoring_string = "058526dd2635cb6818386bfd373b82a4"


 
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:02 AM.
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
TheFashionSpot.com is a property of TotallyHer Media, LLC, an Evolve Media LLC company. ©2014 All rights reserved.