‘Vogue’ is a fashion magazine, and a fashion magazine is about change.
‘Vogue’ is the best of everything that fashion can offer, and I think we point the way. We are, you know, a glamorous girlfriend.
Because of reality television and all these celebrities thinking they can be designers, everyone imagines that they can just become a designer, photographer, or model, but that’s not the way things work. People have to go to school, learn their craft, and build a brand – that’s the right, healthy way to do things.
By the time I came to the States, I really understood how a magazine works. I came to ‘Vogue’ as creative director, and three years later I went back to London to be editor in chief of British ‘Vogue.’
Fashion today is available to everybody in a way that it’s never been before: you’ve got every designer you’ve ever heard of working for H& or Target. That’s fantastic.
I don’t really follow market research. In the end, I respond to my own instincts.
I don’t think I am that hands-on. I’m much more of a believer in finding a great team of people and trusting them to follow their instincts. They work better when they feel they have freedom and they are trusted.
I don’t think of myself as a powerful person.
I like having young assistants in my office; they have energy, and I spend time with them to make sure they understand what we’re doing. By investing in them, I’m investing in the magazine. All over ‘Vogue,’ ‘Teen Vogue,’ and ‘Men’s Vogue,’ there are people who have been through not only my office but also many other offices at ‘Vogue.’
I look for strong people. I don’t like people who’ll say yes to everything I might bring up. I want people who can argue and disagree and have a point of view that’s reflected in the magazine. My dad believed in the cult of personality. He brought great writers and columnists to ‘The Standard.’
I love coming in and changing magazines.
I never pay any attention. I’m sure it’s not such a good way to be, but I don’t really follow market research.
I surround myself with a talented group of people that are opinionated and interesting. I try to remain very open to what others have to say.
I think possibly what people working for one hate the most is indecision. Even if I’m completely unsure, I’ll pretend I know exactly what I’m talking about and make a decision. The most important thing I can do is try and make myself very clearly understood.
I want ‘Vogue’ to be pacy, sharp, and sexy – I’m not interested in the super-rich or infinitely leisured. I want our readers to be energetic executive women, with money of their own and a wide range of interests. There is a new kind of woman out there. She’s interested in business and money.
I wasn’t academically successful. And maybe I’ve spent a lot of my career trying to make up for that.
I went to Wimbledon before I could walk. It’s just been a lifelong passion.
I’d always been extremely fascinated by the French Nuit Blanche, which is a weekend that they have in Paris where they keep all the museums open until dawn. You can go and hang out in Versailles in the middle of the night and watch the sun come up.
I’m always looking for a cover subject that reflects the magazine, an interest in fashion, in culture, in society. We’re trying to bring the world into the pages of ‘Vogue.’ We do that by tapping into the zeitgeists with our cover subjects.
I’m horribly hands-on, I’m afraid. I like to read every caption.
I’m very driven by what I do. I am certainly very competitive. I like people who represent the best at what they do, and if that turns you into a perfectionist, then maybe I am.
I’m very good at delegating – people work much better when they have a real sense of responsibility. But at the same time, I don’t like surprises. I don’t pore over every shoot, but I do like to be aware at all times of what’s going on.
I’ve been very lucky to put women that I sincerely admire on the cover of ‘Vogue:’ the then First Lady and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and, more recently, First Lady Michelle Obama. Those were benchmarks for the magazine, and certainly covers that I’ve been very, very proud of.
If one comes across sometimes as being cold or brusque, it’s simply because I’m striving for the best.
In the end I do respond to my own instincts. Sometimes they’re successful, and obviously sometimes they’re not. But you have to, I think, remain true to what you believe in.
It is important always to have really original talent. There are lots of good designers that make attractive clothes and make women look beautiful. But at the same time, one doesn’t want to lose the idea that there is someone out there who can change the way you look at fashion.
It is so important for designers not to run scared, and not to be too worried about what’s safe and what’s commercial.
It’s important for young women and men coming out of the fashion schools to think seriously before starting their own collections.
It’s very important to me that I look good when I go out publicly. I like looking at my clothes rack in the morning and deciding what to pick out. I enjoy fashion.
It’s very important to take risks. I think that research is very important, but in the end you have to work from your instinct and feeling and take those risks and be fearless. When I hear a company is being run by a team, my heart sinks, because you need to have that leader with a vision and heart that can move things forward.
My father was a newspaper editor, so I was surrounded by journalists my entire life. I think the fact that he was so well known may be why I chose to go into magazines and move to the States at a young age.
One doesn’t want fashion to look ridiculous, silly, or out of step with the times – but you do want designers that make you think, that make you look at fashion differently. That’s how fashion changes. If it doesn’t change, it’s not looking forward. And that’s important to me.
Part of the pleasure of editing ‘Vogue,’ one that lies in a long tradition of this magazine, is being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it.
Previous first ladies seemed to feel the need to wear a sort of uniform, whereas Michelle Obama likes fashion and is very comfortable in fashion. She’s happy to mix high and low, and she loves emerging designers. That will do nothing but good for our industry.
The Fashion Fund celebrates the real passion that underlies the fashion business, not the frothy world of glamour and celebrity that so often surrounds it.
The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying. This is America, not Saudi Arabia.
There’s barely a strand of the modern media that the Kardashian-Wests haven’t been able to master, and for good reason: Kanye is an amazing performer and cultural provocateur, while Kim, through her strength of character, has created a place for herself in the glare of the world’s spotlight, and it takes real guts to do that.
To be in ‘Vogue’ has to mean something. It’s an endorsement. It’s a validation.