Iam writing this letter a week after yet another Australian prime minister has been replaced by their party. Vogue does not promote political bias. Whoever governs, we encourage them to support and promote the issues that affect and engage our readership, and we celebrate them when they do. Clearly, we are in a unique position to be a voice for women, and reflect our audience’s views.
Today, our readership and reach across all our platforms is wider than it has ever been. This was proven in print last month when our September issue, fronted by Kylie Jenner, sold out in supermarkets within four days, the only prior promotion being postings on our social channels as well as Kylie’s (who clearly has many keen and engaged fans in Australia).
Given the huge number of sales, I know many younger readers might have bought Vogue magazine for the first time last month. I welcome those of you who did and are now reading this letter to our Vogue magazine family, although I assume many of you are already digital and social followers. This is a very special family with an Australian voice and a global outlook. We share a love for fashion and beauty with an intelligent and sometimes artistic bent. We like to push the boundaries, we are positive and forward-thinking, we care and are engaged with our communities, but we are grounded by a respect for institutions that defend quality, integrity, our core values, and those that encourage our country’s best.
As the Vogue world melds its old family and new, this issue also celebrates exactly that in the fashion world. Virgil Abloh, who I am very fond of personally, has taken the fashion world by storm with his first men’s collection for Louis Vuitton, which was also worked on by our fashion director Christine Centenera.
It was in a car with Christine in Paris at the haute couture shows in July that I first downloaded the extraordinary, raw and wonderful afternoon I had spent with Giorgio Armani. I thank him for his candid interview and the life lessons he generously bestowed on me.
Mr Armani is the most remarkable man, and the consistency with which he has delivered in a fashion world full of ever-more rapid change is perhaps not fully appreciated by the industry.
Which brings me to a personal note of appreciation, too. In the role of foreign minister, Julie Bishop worked tirelessly to promote this nation and put our best foot forward in all industries. I am enormously grateful that she did not forget the creative industries, nor treated fashion as unimportant. She understands the value of soft diplomacy and the need to show a diverse range of our abilities. She championed our designers’ businesses and made a difference to them.
Having seen her in action at various international engagements, I saw what a great ambassador she was for Australia. The fact that she was always so well dressed – and, yes, often wearing some of our most precious natural resources by way of diamonds and South Sea pearls – was an attribute. And when detractors tried to criticise her for it, she didn’t budge. She understands that we hold those who represent us to a higher standard, and rightly so. Let’s hope this month we can keep carrying on focusing on the best interests of Australia – with a united front.