Last week, LDNfashion was invited to an intimate talk with Alexandra Shulman, editor-in-chief of British Vogueheld at the quirky Doodle Bar in Battersea. Speaking about ‘Fashion and Fantasy: What’s in Vogue and Why Does It Matter?’, Shulman delivered a shocking revelation: Adele might be able to shift millions of copies of her albums but when it comes to fashion covers, her October issue last year was one of the worst selling in the magazine’s 100- year history.
Shulman uncovered that, whilst some celebrities do have the power to sell, the formula of what works is still very much unbeknown; she is not sure exactly why some celebrities work and some don’t. However, she did reveal contrastingly that the most successful cover ever was the millennium issue – which didn’t have anyone on it, but acted like a mirror so you could see your own reflection. Very interesting stuff.
When probed about who she would most love to see on the cover of Vogue, there seems to be only one woman of the moment: Kate Middleton. She confirmed that the Duchess had been approached, but is yet to take them up on her offer. Royalty is certainly no stranger to gracing the front of Britain’s most iconic fashion mag- Diana, Princess of Wales appeared on no less than four of the publication’s covers.
Shulman did delve below the surface level of discussing covers and unveiled some interesting personal opinions about what she thinks Vogue is- it’s very much a part of contemporary culture and immersed into the world it exists in- you cannot separate it from reality. She admitted that for her, the magazine is more about a vision of the world, rather than specifically about fashion.
She also shot back at the size zero debate, accusing her critics of not seeing the whole picture. On a recent shoot with a world famous super-skinny model, Shulman was shocked to find that she struggled to fit into the sample pieces. She sent letters to the designers to raise her concerns but her comments fell on deaf ears. There is a wider problem beyond Vogue, she added: weeklies have a far more adverse effect on body image with their constant scrutiny of celebrity bodies. Vogue, on the other hand, never publishes diets or criticise figures.
As for Shulman’s ultimate Vogue cover, it would be the perfect blend of the swinging 60’s captured by a modern day genius: Patty Boyd in Ossie Clark shot by Tim Walker. If only fantasies could come true!
Image: Adele on the cover of UK Vogue, October 2011 issue, VOGUE