VOGUE Australia

ED­I­TOR’S LET­TER

- ED­WIN AMC CANN ED­I­TOR-IN-CHIEF Australia News · Arts · Australia · Germany · England · Helen Mirren · Europe · European Union · Melbourne · Conde Nast Publications, Inc. · New York City · Eve · Nicole Kidman · David Bowie · David Jones · Paris · London · New South Wales · Sydney · Norman Parkinson · Land of Oz · Helmut Newton · Maggie Tabberer · The Zeitgeist Movement · Nature Publishing Group · Gemma Ward · Adut Akech · Bangarra Dance Theatre · Tania Mallet

Iedit­ing Vogue, have been en­trusted with most priv­i­leged stew­ard­ship: to tell our own sto­ries and re­flect not only who we are, but also who has helped us along the way to our dis­tinct Aus­tralian iden­tity and style. It is an un­miss­able fact that many of these are the truly re­mark­able women who have graced our pages over six decades – one of the long­est his­to­ries of a Vogue any­where in the world. “There are now four Vogues,” wrote Rose­mary Cooper in her ed­i­tor’s let­ter for the first ever stand­alone Aus­tralian is­sue in Au­gust 1959. “Amer­i­can Vogue, English Vogue, French Vogue and Vogue Aus­tralia.” Over the past 60 years, Vogue Aus­tralia has grown with Aus­tralia and Aus­tralians. And in this ex­cit­ing dig­i­tal age of­fer­ing un­lim­ited op­por­tu­nity, we have so much more grow­ing to do.

In 1959, Bernie Leser, who es­caped Nazi Ger­many as a boy at the out­break of war, suc­ceeded in launch­ing Vogue in his adopted home­land. The first is­sue, fea­tur­ing a young model named Ta­nia Mal­let on the cover, was shot by the great Nor­man Parkin­son in Eng­land and cap­tured a dreamy sun­set-like sky and shells. I like to think the magic and won­der of the im­age re­flects the Aus­tralia he imag­ined – a real-life Land of Oz. Mal­let, who went on to be a Bond girl, is in fact He­len Mir­ren’s cousin, and sadly passed away ear­lier this year be­fore I had the chance to meet her.

An­other tal­ent who went on to be a gi­ant in the world of fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phy, Hel­mut New­ton, had also es­caped war-torn Europe to land in Melbourne, and set up his first pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dio in the 1950s. His early cov­ers cap­ture Aus­tralian beaches and life­style in a fash­ion­able man­ner. One of my favourites is his im­age of a woman sun­bak­ing next to a kan­ga­roo. An­other is his strik­ing im­age of the stun­ning Mag­gie Tab­berer, who would go on to be­come a na­tional trea­sure.

I had the plea­sure of lunch­ing re­cently with Mag­gie and her con­tem­po­rary Leo Schofield, who was an in­flu­en­tial ad­ver­tis­ing pro­fes­sional at the time Vogue was launched. Both of them knew Bernie and Sheila Scot­ter, the first long-serv­ing ed­i­tor, well. I lis­tened as they rem­i­nisced about those days.

The cre­ative out­put of all of those ex­tra­or­di­nary peo­ple set the foun­da­tions and tone for 50-plus more years of col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­spi­ra­tion with won­der­ful tal­ent. This time frame has al­lowed Vogue edi­tors, pho­tog­ra­phers, writ­ers and stylists to tell our so­cial his­tory as it has gone from amor­phous to mer­cu­rial to uniquely dis­tin­guished by the verve and bold­ness that comes from be­ing our own is­land na­tion, and to high­light the “open, friendly, un­neu­rotic” women the mag­a­zine de­scribed in 1968.

Of course, that means a truly rich cross-sec­tion in fields from beauty, health, art, science and tech­nol­ogy, film and lit­er­a­ture to our fas­ci­na­tion with celebrity cul­ture (and our un­prece­dented ac­cess to

it) and now, de­light­fully, more than ever, cod­ing, in­no­va­tion, sport and en­vi­ron­ment – the other beauty that has been the back­drop to many a shoot.

From the bur­geon­ing voices of women to the groundswel­l of young ac­tivists and ag­i­ta­tors to­day, Vogue has pho­tographed politi­cians, princesses (Her Royal High­ness Crown Princess Mary, not once, but twice), role mod­els, cham­pi­ons, truth-tell­ers, sto­ry­tellers, change-mak­ers and tastemak­ers.

The now chair­man of Vogue’s par­ent com­pany Condé Nast, Jonathan Ne­w­house, took over as pres­i­dent at the start of 1990, and one of his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties was to look af­ter Condé Nast Aus­tralia, as out­lined in the eu­logy he gave for Bernie in New York (see page 64).

On his first visit, he dis­cov­ered the Aus­tralian com­pany had 95 staff, and 94 were women. The only man was a chain-smok­ing driver named Tony. Women filled all other roles in the com­pany, from ex­ec­u­tives to sales peo­ple, edi­tors, jour­nal­ists, ac­coun­tants and, of course, the pres­i­dent, Eve Har­mon, and ed­i­to­rial di­rec­tor, June McCal­lum.

Thanks to his legacy and the ed­i­tor­ships of Bernie’s col­leagues Rose­mary Cooper, Sheila Scot­ter, Eve Har­mon, June McCal­lum and Nancy Pilcher, and then later Mar­ion Hume, Juliet Ash­worth andmy pre­de­ces­sor Kirstie Cle­ments, who edited for 13 years, Vogue Aus­tralia has not only sur­vived but thrives (read ‘From the ed­i­tor’s desk’, from page 76).

At the close of the 80s, a thriv­ing pub­lish­ing en­ter­prise com­posed en­tirely of fe­males was most un­usual. But I guess Vogue Aus­tralia has al­ways been a bit un­usual. When asked to de­scribe what makes our ti­tle unique among our 24 sis­ter Vogue ti­tles around the world, I al­ways come back to one word: spir­ited.

When Bernie was asked why Vogue Aus­tralia suc­ceeded he said: “Be­cause Aus­tralia was ready for it.” And to­day this still rings true. As our au­di­ence has in­creased, thanks to its love of our on­line daily news­room, our ex­ten­sive so­cial me­dia plat­forms, our pub­lic and tick­eted events, and our new Vogue VIP mem­ber­ship pro­gram, which puts our most valu­able cus­tomers – our sub­scribers – at the fore­front of ev­ery­thing we do, so has our re­spon­si­bil­ity to use the ever-grow­ing in­flu­ence of the brand re­spon­si­bly.

At Vogue we have al­ways cel­e­brated cre­ativ­ity. Cre­ativ­ity is at the heart of in­no­va­tion, and many of the prob­lems the world is fac­ing will re­quire that magic in­gre­di­ent in or­der to be re­solved. With this mag­a­zine I would like to think we of­fer hope and high­light some pos­si­ble solutions.

I also be­lieve in in­clu­siv­ity, but by that I mean be­ing in­clu­sive of ev­ery­one rather than just one side of an ar­gu­ment. I think of life as a see-saw. See-saws are not fun if they are crash­ing to the ground on ei­ther side. I sug­gest that re­al­is­tic bal­ance, cel­e­brat­ing suc­cess and gen­er­ally look­ing for the good is the role of Vogue.

When I got this job the era of dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion was well un­der­way and I had cause to con­sider Vogue’s pur­pose. Why, in an age of user­gen­er­ated con­tent on so­cial me­dia chan­nels and free dig­i­tal im­agery and jour­nal­ism, did our read­ers – in­deed the world – need Vogue?

I came to the con­clu­sion that Vogue’s role was to doc­u­ment the fash­ion Zeit­geist, our pop­u­lar cul­ture and, pri­mar­ily, the women of our times through the prism of the vi­sions of our most tal­ented and cre­ative de­sign­ers. And in cre­at­ing that im­agery we were cre­at­ing pic­tures to help tell the story of who we are – pic­tures that peo­ple will hang on their walls in the years to come.

So I was thrilled when the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery (NPG) chose to cel­e­brate our por­trai­ture this year in Women in Vogue: Cel­e­brat­ing Sixty Years in Aus­tralia.

This is­sue, I feel, adds to the rich tapestry of our sto­ry­telling, which the NPG has high­lighted. We have fea­tured many won­der­ful Aus­tralians in our 60th edi­tion, but I chose three in par­tic­u­lar to high­light: Ni­cole Kid­man, Gemma Ward and Adut Akech.

In Vogue, we of course cel­e­brate fash­ion, but what makes fash­ion come alive is the woman who wears it. These three women have not only worn fash­ion ex­cep­tion­ally well, they have also lived ex­tra­or­di­nary lives in it.

“When asked to de­scribe what makes our ti­tle unique among our 24 sis­ter

Vogue ti­tles around the world I al­ways come back to one word: spir­ited”

Ni­cole em­bod­ies what I think Vogue Aus­tralia should be. She is world-class in her field, so­phis­ti­cated, knowl­edge­able and in­tel­li­gent, but also gra­cious, kind and demo­cratic (she no­tices and thanks ev­ery­one on set, from the per­son who gets her a tea or steams her dresses to the pho­tog­ra­pher whose tal­ents and cre­ative vi­sion she also deeply re­spects). She has also been in­cred­i­bly gen­er­ous to me as an ed­i­tor.

For this cover, the eighth she has shot for this mag­a­zine, she is dressed in the finest cou­ture as en­vi­sioned by our fash­ion di­rec­tor Chris­tine Cen­ten­era, and is cov­ered in diamonds. A 60th an­niver­sary is tra­di­tion­ally cel­e­brated with these gems, so Chris­tine and I set about to find the finest for this oc­ca­sion.

Cartier was Vogue Aus­tralia’s first in­ter­na­tional lux­ury jew­ellery ad­ver­tiser, ar­riv­ing in Aus­tralia in David Jones in the 1970s. It was im­por­tant to me that the di­a­mond choices we made for this cover con­nected to our past and spoke of our longevity, both in pub­lish­ing and in part­ner­ships such as the one with Cartier. When we pre­viewed the pieces fea­tured on this cover in Paris in July we were smit­ten.

Gemma Ward is a mega-model and mum who has re­turned home. At Vogue, I call the tal­ented young staff who travel to work in Lon­don, New York and be­yond for a spell, be­fore re­turn­ing, my “boomerangs”. We have a very good track record of plac­ing these young staffers within the Vogue fam­ily over­seas. The feed­back on their work con­sis­tently makes me proud. Aus­tralians are hard work­ers and up for a chal­lenge, and I like that.

So Gemma is a boomerang, too. She and her hus­band have brought their young fam­ily back to live in one of the most pre­cious and spir­i­tual places near the famed By­ron Bay in New South Wales. The pic­tures (from page 238) tell her story.

Adut. Where to start with Adut? She, like our founder Bernie, is proof of the suc­cess and im­por­tance of Aus­tralia’s will­ing­ness to wel­come refugees. Im­mi­gra­tion has been at the cen­tre of the growth, pros­per­ity and rich so­cial and cul­tural ad­vance­ment of our coun­try.

But this is where I get to the rather dif­fi­cult sub­ject of the lack of In­dige­nous sto­ry­telling in our Vogue’s his­tory. Aus­tralia is proudly home to the long­est con­tin­u­ous liv­ing hu­man cul­ture, stretch­ing and con­nect­ing back 65,000 years. And yet, as a Syd­ney-born and raised woman, I am em­bar­rass­ingly ig­no­rant of it. Pub­lish­ing this edi­tion has given me the chance to start to ed­u­cate my­self – and per­haps you, our reader.

As good for­tune would have it, the in­cred­i­ble Ban­garra Dance Theatre is cel­e­brat­ing its 30th an­niver­sary this year too, and so we had the op­por­tu­nity to pho­to­graph some of its dancers dressed in archival cos­tumes at beau­ti­ful Lit­tle Bay in Syd­ney. I thank Yvonne Wel­don for her poignant piece ‘True coun­try’ (page 274) and her guid­ance for our up­com­ing cel­e­bra­tions in Syd­ney. And also NGV di­rec­tor Tony Ell­wood for in­tro­duc­ing us to pho­tog­ra­pher Michael Cook (page 268), and NGV’s cu­ra­tor of In­dige­nous art, Myles Rus­sell- Cook, for pro­fil­ing artist-jew­eller Ma­ree Clarke and artist­fash­ion de­signer Lyn-Al Young (see page 178). I hope the cel­e­bra­tion of In­dige­nous cul­ture and tal­ents will be wo­ven into Vogue for the next 60 years and be­yond.

In 1962, Vogue re­pub­lished a story by Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist Mar­i­lyn Mercer ti­tled: ‘Aus­tralia; a man’s world, for bet­ter or worse?’ As I men­tioned in my let­ter last month, this view­point was largely drawn from her ob­ser­va­tion of the dom­i­nance of sport in our cul­ture.

“We have fea­tured many won­der­ful Aus­tralians in our 60th edi­tion, but I chose three to high­light: Ni­cole Kid­man, Gemma Ward and Adut Akech”

“We are in­deed the lucky coun­try, but we are also clever, cre­ative and ca­pa­ble”

How im­por­tant then is the work of the women fea­tured in ‘State of play’ (from page 154), who are cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for fe­males in sports tra­di­tion­ally dom­i­nated by men both on and off the fields.

On a per­sonal note, I would like to ac­knowl­edge Condé Nast, led by chair­man Jonathan Ne­w­house, Roger Lynch, Anna Win­tour and Wolf­gang Blau, for their on­go­ing sup­port and cham­pi­oning our Vogue and its unique writ­ten and visual voice from down-un­der. And our pub­lish­ing home, News Corp, led by co-chair­man Lach­lan Mur­doch, who is sup­ported by his wife Sarah ( Vogue Aus­tralia’s most pro­lific cover girl, with 11 pub­lished dur­ing her mod­el­ling ca­reer), ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Michael Miller, Penny Fowler and Ni­cholas Gray, for pro­vid­ing Vogue its home for the past 12 years and an en­tre­pre­neur­ial en­vi­ron­ment in which the brand has pros­pered and grown. Thanks to those ex­ec­u­tives also for back­ing some of my big ideas to make Aus­tralia bet­ter, such as the Vogue Codes cam­paign, which aims to en­gage more women in STEM by mak­ing tech and en­gi­neer­ing more fash­ion­able and the in­dus­tries more in­clu­sive.

And now it is time for the cel­e­bra­tions to be­gin. With a good dose of Aussie hu­mour, I will be hand­ing over the ed­i­tor­ship to the hys­ter­i­cally funny Ce­leste Bar­ber on De­cem­ber 12 for just one day to lead us to achieve a world record with the big­gest Vogue- ing event ever on Bondi Beach. Thanks to NSW Pre­mier, Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian, NSW Min­is­ter for Tourism, Stu­art Ayres and Des­ti­na­tion NSW, for open­ing up my home city of Syd­ney to us so that we can take the story of our Vogue and all the re­mark­able Aus­tralians we fea­ture to the world.

As Mag­gie Tab­berer notes in ‘Face value’ (from page 316), a for­mer British Vogue ed­i­tor was sent out to show us how to do Vogue when we launched in 1959, no doubt as­sum­ing we were a some­what bar­ren cul­tural land­scape.

This De­cem­ber, in cel­e­bra­tion of the 60th, we will wel­come the present ed­i­tor-in-chief of British Vogue, Ed­ward En­nin­ful, to a con­fi­dent, unique and cul­tur­ally self-as­sured coun­try. Just imag­ine what we might look like in an­other 60 years’ time.

Most im­por­tantly, I thank the staff of Vogue to­day for the tal­ent, com­mit­ment and pas­sion they pour into ev­ery word and im­age. We are in­deed the Lucky Coun­try, but we are also a clever, cre­ative and ca­pa­ble na­tion, and the team I have the plea­sure to work along­side at Vogue epit­o­mises that.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Hel­mut New­ton’s cover for the De­cem­ber/Jan­u­ary 1964/65 is­sue.
Hel­mut New­ton’s cover for the De­cem­ber/Jan­u­ary 1964/65 is­sue.
 ??  ?? Ta­nia Mal­let on the first stand­alone is­sue of Vogue Aus­tralia, Au­gust 1959.
Ta­nia Mal­let on the first stand­alone is­sue of Vogue Aus­tralia, Au­gust 1959.
 ??  ?? Mag­gie Tab­berer pho­tographed by Hel­mutH New­ton for the spring 1960 is­sue of Vogue Aus­tralia.
Mag­gie Tab­berer pho­tographed by Hel­mutH New­ton for the spring 1960 is­sue of Vogue Aus­tralia.
 ??  ?? Ni­cole Kid­man, from page 226.
Ni­cole Kid­man, from page 226.
 ??  ?? Adut Akech in ‘ Where you lead, I will fol­low’, from page 296.
Adut Akech in ‘ Where you lead, I will fol­low’, from page 296.
 ??  ?? Gemma Ward in ‘Tomorrowla­nd’, from page 238.
Gemma Ward in ‘Tomorrowla­nd’, from page 238.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Above: Ce­leste Bar­ber, wears a Lee Mathews dress. Leg Av­enue tights. Charles & Keith shoes. Left: Bar­ber as a spe­cial cover girl wears an Alex Perry dress. Cus­tomised Nerida Win­ter hat. Cartier ear­rings and ring. Stylist: Philippa Moroney Pho­tog­ra­pher:
Bec Parsons
Hair: Brad Mullins Make-up: Filom­ena Na­toli
Below, from left: Sarah Mur­doch on the cover of Vogue Aus­tralia is­sues in April 1994, Oc­to­ber 1997 and March 2006.
Above: Ce­leste Bar­ber, wears a Lee Mathews dress. Leg Av­enue tights. Charles & Keith shoes. Left: Bar­ber as a spe­cial cover girl wears an Alex Perry dress. Cus­tomised Nerida Win­ter hat. Cartier ear­rings and ring. Stylist: Philippa Moroney Pho­tog­ra­pher: Bec Parsons Hair: Brad Mullins Make-up: Filom­ena Na­toli Below, from left: Sarah Mur­doch on the cover of Vogue Aus­tralia is­sues in April 1994, Oc­to­ber 1997 and March 2006.
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