Every industry has been disrupted by technology and our rapidly changing world – and the fashion industry is no exception. At Vogue we know disruption demands adaptation, which requires innovation. The ability to adapt requires creative thinking, and I am lucky enough to be surrounded by incredibly driven and creative people who have embraced change and revelled in the chance to grow and try new things. Disruption breeds opportunity. A simple example of this is what now occurs on a magazine cover shoot: fashion assistants and editors can Snapchat on set, create behind-the-scenes Instagram images of the incredible clothes, and are involved with the video content made on the day. The cover shoot is no longer just a reflection of the fashion director who chose the clothes, or the photographer who took the pictures. Today it is an opportunity for everyone on set to create their own content for Vogue, in its many different guises. Disruption has given voices and a creative outlet to many, rather than just a few at the top.
As Sarah Mower points out in “The great disruption” (see page 134), the former designer of Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane, would be hailed as a disrupter in the tech world, someone whose ideas were so blindly popular others have been forced to reconfigure themselves around him to survive. Kim Kardashian West is certainly a disrupter whose family has changed our views on fame. Those who remain bemused by the Kardashians’ popularity must find their continuing allure mind-boggling. We featured Kim on her first solo Vogue cover in February 2015. She sold an extraordinary number of magazines, which tells me that the public fascination with her isn’t waning, and that the haters on social media don’t buy magazines.
For this cover we wanted to reinvent Kim, which is a difficult thing to do when you are working with one of the most photographed women in the world – add her selfies and she must be number one. I love Christine Centenera’s fresh interpretation of Kim’s image, accentuating her curves with corsetry worn over cool T-shirts; her bare face displays her true beauty. Kim’s friend Olivier Rousteing is also a disruptive force. As a designer he runs his own race, speaking directly to his customers and defying the critics with his continued success at Balmain (see page 124). As his 2.9 million Instagram followers would attest, he is a true celebrity designer as famous as those he dresses.
I first met Mercedes-Benz Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton (10 million followers and counting) following the 2015 Grand Prix. Christine Centenera and I were utterly charmed by his relaxed demeanour and I was fascinated by his love of fashion and music. Despite being a racing car driver, Lewis is a minted member of the millennial fashion-pack set, counting the likes of Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner as friends, and is a front row regular at Paris fashion week. He challenges the idea that a racing superstar should be only that, a very disruptive notion to fans of Formula One world championships – see our story from page 128.
Closer to home, we will be disrupting the way fashion is shown in the southern hemisphere when Sydney hosts the first MercedesBenz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) to focus on the resort season. As the rest of the world grapples with the purpose and timings of fashion weeks, I believe MBFWA may have come up with a solution. The new timing and focus will align us with an international buying season and also shows that collectively our designers have something unique to say. What better story to tell from Australia than that of resort dressing? Bring on the disruption.
Kim Kardashian West in custom-made corsetry – see story starting page 112.