Tuesday, March 2, 2010

SERIES: Ladies of style - international Vogue editors

Alexandra Shulman
Alexandra Shulman is the most untypical Vogue editor – she is not skinny, she doesn’t follow the latest fashion trends on her dressing and she is down to Earth. However, she has the most important traits a Vogue editor should posses – intelligence, creativity and sense for balancing the reality and fantasy offered in the magazine.

Shulman has been editing UK Vogue since 1992 with a very journalist-like approach. In fact, she has stated that Vogue is not so much her type of magazine, but she the work in the magazine as reporting on fashion and her editing it.

Tough she has always been a bit overweight Shulman says that she has always felt good in her body and has never actually tried hard enough to lose weight. In this direction of feeling good with your body, Shulman is openly dissatisfied with the designers’ trend of making the clothes smaller constantly. In June 2009 she sent out a letter to the majority of designer stating that the garments magazines receive for shootings are sometimes small even for star models and so extremely skinny girls have to be hired to fit them. Afterwards, the pictu
res are digitally re-worked so the girls look healthy.

Compared to the US and French Vogue, it can be said that the UK issue stands somewhere in between them – on the cover it features models as well as celebrities and inside there is a path between haute couture and high street. This is what Shulman pays particular attention to – balance of what is presented in the magazine with the intent never to be too gloomy or too frivolous, too young or too old oriented.

Apart from editing the magazine, Shulman writes a section in the Daily Mail where she touches many subjects she feels strongly about – one of them was the length of maternity leave. Quite surprisingly for a mother of three, Shulman thinks that a yearlong maternity leave is too long for being out of the work place.

Shulman is famous for managing to keep her professional and private life apart. She admits that she is not personal friend with any designer; when she is at work she is completely focused, but when she goes out of there she switches off and lives her other life dedicated to her family.

Franca Sozzani

The Italian Vogue editor-in-chief is one of the most stylish ladies in the fashion world, a yet is one of the most mysterious figures. There is really little information about her. Basics say that she has been editing Vogue Italia since 1988 and has written several books on photography, fashion, art and design in the meantime.

Franca seems uninterested about the circulation of Vogue Italia – in one interview she stated that she doesn’t know the exact number and doesn’t even care about it. What she is concerned about is always brining something new and even a bit controversial to the magazine. One of these ideas was the “All Black” issue of Vogue Italia in July 2008 when almost all models featured were Afro – American. The idea behind this was to emphasize the lack of ethnic models featuring covers, advertisements and or appearing in any other way in fashion magazines. The Black issue was a success and was re-printed for US and UK markets.

The newest thing from Vogue Italia is the Vogue Curvy website launched in February 2010 (http://www.vogue.it/en/vogue-curvy), featuring full-figured ladies and glorifying the beauty of the curves.

I find quite interesting her approach to the essence of editing a fashion magazine: ““Basically, I am more free than anyone else because I don’t think that you sell clothes through a [fashion] credit. I think that you go through an image, that you sell a dream, and [then] the clothes.”

Tough quite serious Sozzani is known to be approachable as a person. Her style is very Italian – she is always elegant and almost always dressed up. She says that her favorite fashion combination is a black coat over a black dress and one of the most precious items in the wardrobe are Manolo Blahnik heels.

Aliona Doletskaya

When Vogue Russia launched 13 years ago, the country was facing big economic problems and one could hardly imagine starting a business in such economic climate. Still, Aliona Doletskaya and her team have managed to push through the difficulties and ensure the quality that Vogue provides its readers around the world. These days Vogue Russia has a circulation of est. 200,000.

Aliona is recognizable by her rough voice with British accent. She’s also known for her toughness and business skills, traits that have initiated many comparisons with Anna Wintour and even rumors that Aliona is on the short-list of candidates for Anna’s replacement.

On the other hand, she is also quite different from Wintour – while Anna hasn’t had a proper education, Aliona has a Ph.D. in comparative linguistics; she moves surrounded by cloud of smoke and bunch of gay man and once she is known to have held an editorial meeting in a hotel room naked.

Regarding her work on the magazine, Doletskaya says that she is trying to reach to her Russian audience, which in the past 13 years has changed and has overcome isolation now being much more sophisticated. Still, she strives Vogue Russia to reflect things that have historically defined Russian style.

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