Topshop Talks: British Vogue’s Alexandra Shulman discusses her new book, fashion and knickers!
Last night, The Upcoming was lucky enough to hear British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman talk about her new book Can We Still Be Friends? and what it’s like to sit at the helm of the prestigious magazine.
Alexandra started off the talk discussing her book, which looks at the interwoven friendship between three friends in the 1980s, as they try to establish their careers and love lives, whilst struggling with their own personal problems. Without giving the plot away too much, it comes across as your average chick fiction novel, but rapidly becomes a story that includes much emotional depth. As well as explaining the plot, Alexandra explained that it took her a good two years to write the novel, but she joked “I have another job too.”
Once the topic of her book was set aside, Alexandra spoke about how she became the editor of Vogue. According to her: “it was never my intention to go into journalism.” With two journalist parents, Alexandra despised the idea of following in their footsteps, but after a failed attempt in the music industry (she was fired from her first two jobs and music was her passion!), she went to a job agency and, with her talents of being able to write in shorthand, she managed to secure herself a place at a magazine and found she actually liked it. 13 years later, the inspirational woman found herself on the throne.
On fashion and her job, Alexandra said she is a firm supporter of British designers, saying that they are: “some of the best designers in the world.” She mentioned names such as Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou and Erdem, claiming they are just a few of the talented designers we have today. She also expressed her excitement at the prospect of Miss Vogue, due to be released with the June issue of British Vogue. “I found that those who were falling in love with Vogue were under the age of 20, so thought of the idea to introduce a magazine for those who don’t have the funds to buy the products featured in the magazine, to appeal to more people of a young age.” She smiled as she went on to say: “when I pitched the idea to my team, they were all so excited, and still are!” Shulman also said that since the evolution of the digital age, there are many more aspects to her career. “Where it used to be just the magazine to focus on, that is now one fifth of my job”. She said she now edits the iPad app as well, which gives the reader more to explore. She also claimed (in a very thankful manner) that without the magazine, there would be no vogue.com.
After a quick Q&A with the audience (where Alexandra mentioned that the one item of clothing that all women should have is a “pair of knickers”), the editor sat down to sign copies of her book and answer any questions. All in all, she wasn’t as scary as you’d expect the editor of Vogue to be at all, but maybe we’re thinking too much about Miranda Priestly…
Can We Still Be Friends is available to buy here