Most of us do not work in a fashion magazine, but all of us at least once have read or just had a look at one in a waiting room, without exactly knowing what is hidden behind each glamorous page.
Sure enough, there is a big team behind the scene and a team leader, editor-in-chief, carrying the burden on her shoulder. And if a magazine expands its borders across the world, then it becomes an international brand employing different editors in different countries.
Alexandra Shulman, for instance, she had served in British Vogue for years.
Then Inside Vogue by Shulman would be the right address to have insight about this secret world.
Alexandra Shulman, British Vogue former editor-in-chief, edited this magazine for 25 years, by which she put the title, longest-serving-editor in British Vogue history, in front of her name. Shulman crowned her career by celebrating 100th anniversary of the magazine while she was still in office. And this book is a small gift summarizing the centenary year events happened between September 2015 and June 2016.
Actually when I chose Inside Vogue from the book shelf and read `A Diary of My 100th Year` on the beautiful blue cover, thought the journey would be through her 25-year-business life.
Indeed, I was seriously disappointed when I realized that it was a short-time-diary. But, no worries, it is quite enough to acquire crucial clues to get the main point of this enchanted landscape.
Fashion world, though, always seems charming from outside, the reality is a busy working life. Shulman, for instance, most of the days shuttles between appointments, fashion shows, dinners, and events.
One day, during a journey between work and an event, a cab driver figures out that she is the one editing British Vogue, and says `I have to admit I’ve never read it. Don’t it have a model or something on the cover? Seen it in the doctor’s waiting room. It’s like, take-your-mind-off-kind of stuff.`
And here the word stuff immediately reminds us Miranda Priestley’s notable speech in The Devil Wears Prada…
Undoubtedly, Alexandra, too, adds her comment after the cab driver…
`I agree that, broadly speaking, that what it is, although clearly not for me.`
In a simpler way than Miranda, but pretty enough to convey the main point.
Imagine the contrary situation, could it be possible giving 25 years of lifetime for this kind of a job, in which-by her own words-
You’re only as good as your next success.”
By keeping this motto in her mind, she created an unforgettable centenary year in British Vogue history. She widened the 100th year issue effect in the Vogue world by other organizations such as Vogue 100 Gala and Vogue Festival.
Her activities weren’t limited only by these. She was utterly occupied by preparing monthly magazine issues, running from one fashion show to another one, starring in a documentary by scrolling around with the documentary-maker Richard Macer who was filming her and the staff of British Vogue on the way creating the 100th Year Edition from zero.
To feel her honesty and how busy she is just take a look at that utterance…
It’s horrible knowing where you’re going to be every day for the next four, five, six months. But in fashion, where so many people travel so much of time, that’s the reality”
That is to say, working in the fashion industry, which is always ready for the white glass six months ahead, means the scrawls in a busy fash-biz agenda give the direction to your life.
Though it seems she lives a work-centric life, the reality is opposite. Since you witness her devoted family life through your fashion reading journey. Even her temperamental boiler, which has disappointed her once again just before the dinner of 100th Anniversary, finds itself a wide area in the book.
Plus, Shulman’s incredibly candid voice accompanies you during this travel. She is genuinely sincere about her job, and from the beginning to the last page, she keeps her frankness which is the core key of writing a captivating memoir.
She, for example, remarks Vogue’s global identity in the book underlining the competition between different country’s Vogues. Imagine, Anna Wintour, US Vogue editor-in-chief, is rival of Shulman though they do the same job under the same company roof in different locations.
Although all the Vogues are part of the same company, we are also internally competitive with each other when we need to be.”
So what are you waiting to discover the whole reality of creating the timeless issue from the scratch and observing the life of a historical editor worked in Fashion Bible, Vogue?
Enjoy your reading. Enjoy fashion.
📖 Inside Vogue
✍ Alexandra Shulman
272 pages, Penguin Books