When one of the world’s most renowned fashion editors of one of the world’s most famous magazines invites you to hear her talk at the close of London Fashion Week, it isn’t an invitation you tend to dismiss. That’s why Katie and myself jumped at the chance to rub shoulders with the one and only Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue a few weeks back. The only thing puzzling us however, was the location of the event. London’s Playboy Club didn’t exactly sound like a fantastic choice of venue and in actual fact I couldn’t really think of many worse places to hold a group of powerful women in our Capital. Who knows, perhaps Stringfellow’s was already booked that night?
After already coming across some bad press on Vagenda as to why the heck Vogue was endorsing this outdated institution (not to mention one that most of it’s pro-female readers do not identify with) the location and subject matter on the night seemed to jar so badly, I still for the life of me cannot fathom how this happened. Perhaps Vogue got in to some bad debt with Heff? Maybe Shulman is introducing a ‘save the bunny’ campaign and needed to infiltrate behind enemy lines? Perhaps Shulman IS A SECRET BUNNY?! Okay, now I’m spinning. But the mere fact Shulman, one of the most famous magazine editors in the world, was introduced by a woman standing there in a high-waisted corset and fluffy bunny tail was probably the saddest thing I saw that night. Oh no, wait! There was a man trying to massage a bunny. Yep, uncomfortable thoughts all round.
Despite Shulman’s speech being not only informative but also quite fascinating (more of which later) the whole night seemed marred by how tragic and pathetic holding the event at the Playboy Club had been. Did no one at Vogue House have a word with Shulman about this awful lapse of judgment.
But what exactly did Shulman talk about I hear you ask? Well, having just hop footed it from her last show at LFW, she recited a few interesting fashion week facts. For instance, did you know there are 58 shows that take place during London Fashion Week, or that press from 50 of the World’s countries attends? Moreover, buyers from 52 countries flock to London and Shulman isn’t too sure why these extra two countries don’t seem to have journalists. Shulman joined British Vogue in 1992, and at a time when LFW was a bit of a joke on the international scene. Having never actually been to a women’s fashion show (I know, right?) she has been campaigning and nurturing LFW for the last twenty years to see it evolve in to the international platform for creativity that it is today. With new campaigns such as the Vogue Fashion Fund, she recommends ‘finding a business soul mate that’s a financier’ if you want to succeed as a brand.
British Vogue’s top honcho also let slip that the mag gets little funding from UK brands yet still gives them coverage (dispelling the myth that publications only features advertisers brands) so as to support home grown talent. She also gave an insight in to the financial climate and how it is affecting the fashion industry, noting that despite the high street’s struggles, for the top end of the market, business is booming. Luxury and designer brands from all over the world are searching for locations in London to snap up flagships, with Isabel Marant, Carven and Rag & bone either opening up shop for the first or second time in our capital. With spaces becoming limited around traditional areas such as Bond Street, it seems the fashion pack are, according to Shulman, now infiltrating the likes of Chilton, Albermale and Dover Street and developing in to the new ‘fashion’ areas (FYI Vicky Beckham has been spotted shop shopping in these parts). Shulman also interestingly touched on the online vs. bricks and mortar argument, claiming that although e-commerce is snowballing at an alarming rate, most brands still want a physical presence. Same is apparent for Vogue as Shulman points out no one is really making money from their sites and apps that are supposed to be rivaling the printed version of Vogue, and their advertisers still want to see their product in print rather than on Vogue.com.
So there we had it; An informative and interesting insight into the world of fashion by one of its most powerful women…at the Playbloy Club.