In vogue

As the cov­eted Septem­ber is­sues hit news stands, the fash­ion world is brac­ing it­self for big changes – there’s a new edi­tor at the helm of Vogue. Carolyn Moore charts the rise of Ed­ward En­nin­ful

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Feature -

It’s a decade since R.J. Cut­ler took us be­hind the scenes at Amer­i­can Vogue for the mak­ing of the mag­a­zine’s 2007 Septem­ber is­sue, but long be­fore that doc­u­men­tary, read­ers of the style bi­ble were in no doubt that in the glam­orous world of glossy mag­a­zines, Septem­ber was the big is­sue.

Though so­cial me­dia con­tin­ues to shake the world of print, and tech­nol­ogy now puts fans in the front row at fash­ion shows, even the most well in­formed fash­ion­istas con­tinue to look to the Septem­ber is­sue for a de­fin­i­tive take on the trends to buy into for the sea­son ahead.

As the movie’s tagline puts it: “Fash­ion is a re­li­gion, and this is the bi­ble”, a sta­tus re­flected in the Septem­ber is­sue’s prac­ti­cally bi­b­li­cal pro­por­tions.

With hun­dreds of pages of new sea­son ads, US Vogue’s Septem­ber is­sue runs to over 800 pages, and with full-page ads com­mand­ing $150,000, in the shift­ing sands of the cur­rent me­dia land­scape, the Septem­ber is­sue re­mains a bea­con for read­ers and pub­lish­ers alike.

When Bri­tish Vogue’s Septem­ber is­sue dropped this month, the tome was more ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated than usual, as it marked the fi­nal is­sue of Alexan­dra Shul­man’s 25-year ten­ure. On Au­gust 1, newly anointed edi­tor Ed­ward En­nin­ful walked the hal­lowed halls of Vogue House for his first of­fi­cial day on the job, though any­one with a pass­ing in­ter­est in fash­ion knows he be­gan ring­ing the changes be­fore Shul­man even va­cated her seat.

Not un­ex­pect­edly, her de­par­ture sig­nalled a chang­ing of the guard at the cen­tury-old pub­li­ca­tion.

Per­haps un­set­tled by re­ports that En­nin­ful planned to purge Vogue of its ‘posh girl’ con­tin­gent, over the sum­mer, sev­eral of the most dis­tin­guished staffers fol­lowed Shul­man out the door. Dubbed ‘Vrexit’, Shul­man’s core team — from deputy edi­tor Emily Sh­effield to edi­tor-at-large Fiona Gol­far — scratched their names off the mast­head in the wake of En­nin­ful’s ap­point­ment.

Did they walk or were they pushed might be the ques­tion on ev­ery­one’s lips were it not for the sen­sa­tional in­ter­view fash­ion di­rec­tor Lucinda Cham­bers gave in July, six weeks after Vogue an­nounced she would be leav­ing after 36 years.

“I didn’t leave, I was fired,” she told Vestoj.

“I don’t want to be the per­son who puts on a brave face and tells ev­ery­one, ‘I de­cided to leave the com­pany’.”

“It’s usual for an in­com­ing edi­tor to make some changes,” came Vogue’s re­ply, as En­nin­ful’s in­ten­tion to clean the Shul­man slate be­came clear.

When he an­nounced Vene­tia Scott as fash­ion di­rec­tor in June, he de­scribed her as “vi­sion­ary, in­flu­en­tial and in­spir­ing”.

In July he ap­pointed his close friends Naomi Camp­bell and Kate Moss as con­tribut­ing ed­i­tors, along with di­rec­tor Steve McQueen and leg­endary fash­ion edi­tor Grace Cod­ding­ton, de­scrib­ing them as “four of the most in­spir­ing peo­ple I know”.

Then, makeup artist Pat McGrath joined the mast­head as beauty edi­tor-at­large, with an all-star lineup of “in­spi­ra­tional and high­lyre­garded” con­tribut­ing beauty ed­i­tors.

So far, so in­spir­ing — but what of En­nin­ful him­self?

What will he bring to Vogue?

Well, they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s not true of mag­a­zines, which live or die on the strength of theirs.

Septem­ber cov­ers in par­magazine’s tic­u­lar have ac­quired a cer­tain cul­tural ca­chet, and mag­a­zines go fish­ing sev­eral months ahead in a bid to hook the hottest and most rel­e­vant stars for their cov­ers.

While Vogue’s Septem­ber cover was once the do­main of the su­per­est of su­per mod­els, Anna Win­tour ush­ered in the era of the celebrity cover with Re­nee Zel­weg­ger in 1998, and the rest is his­tory.

Though mod­els have made oc­ca­sional re­turns, by and large, when it comes to Septem­ber is­sues, celebrity sells.

Shot by Mario Testino and styled by Cham­bers, Bri­tish Vogue’s Septem­ber cover may be­come iconic by virtue of the cul­tural rel­e­vance Shul­man’s de­par­ture be­stows upon it, but it’s noth­ing if not unin­spired.

Fea­tur­ing Kate Moss, with Vogue favourites Stella Ten­nant and Edie Camp­bell, and ‘fu­ture icons’ Jean Camp­bell and Nora At­tal, it neatly dis­tills the Shul­man/ Cham­bers aes­thetic into a full stop to qui­etly mark the end of their era.

“It’s a very Alex Shul­man cover; it sums up her ca­reer and the stars she has cham­pi­oned,” says Shauna O’Hal­lo­ran, edi­tor of Ir­ish Tatler.

“Is it for­ward-think­ing or

Ed­ward En­nin­ful has taken over as edi­tor of Vogue from Alexan­dra Shul­man, who was at the helm for 25 years. There has been a chang­ing of the guard since his arrival. Right, with his friend Naomi Camp­bell; and the Septem­ber cov­ers of Vogue and Ir­ish Tatler.

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