Staying in Vogue for years
The iconic magazine celebrates a milestone birthday, writes
Poring over old issues in preparation for Vogue Living magazine’s 50th birthday this year, editor-in-chief Neale Whitaker is experiencing a little deja vu.
“In the late ’60s and ’70s when the magazine was really young, there were more interiors relevant to the way we live now than in the decades that followed,” he says.
“Our readers then were very much in love with the Scandinavian look and brands like Marimekko.”
Those early years, punctuated by the bold use of colour and pattern, set the bar high.
“The thing that jumps out is the confidence as we developed our own style,” Neale says. “In the early days it was European style, mostly from the UK, that we turned to.”
Preparing the birthday issue has been both a pleasure and a pain for Neale and his team, because it included looking through every single issue published.
“And I am the worst person to do that because I get so absorbed in them,” he says.
The magazine, which has nurtured the careers of people such as Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy from Dinosaur Designs, interior designers Greg Natale, and Juliette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke from Arent & Pyke, quickly gained an international following in the years after its launch, by showcasing Australian decorating and design.
Neale recalls how significant the title was as a stylemaker, especially in the ’80s and ’90s.
“I was working as an editor in London in the ’90s and Vogue Living Australia was famous,” he says.
“Vogue Living and Vogue Entertaining were the two magazines we aspired to be.”
Not that he loved everything about ’90s interior design.
“You started to see the English and European country look creep in, like Tuscan style in shades of terracotta and peach — and lots of swags and bows. They are the styles I wouldn’t want to see again,” he says.
“But I would defend the ’70s and a lot of ’80s style. It was an incredibly diverse time and now we are coming back to that.”
He says architect William Smart summed up the role of the magazine best when he referred to it as a conduit between the design industry and the public. And that’s even as the publishing landscape shifts gear into the digital age, reinventing itself for a new generation of interior design lovers.
The 50th anniversary edition of Vogue Living is on sale now.
This dazzling room shot in Marrakech for Vogue Living last year won’t leave you feeling blue with its artful mix of framed pieces and found objects. Picture: Richard Powers UK designer Studio Ilse turned the dining room on its head in 2011. Picture:...
Vogue Living’s editor-in-chief, Neale Whitaker