Alexandra Shulman: UK fashion’s chief advocate – and its vocal critic

Alexandra Shulman: UK fashion’s chief advocate – and its vocal critic

In 25 years editing British Vogue before stepping down on Wednesday, she has championed UK designers and challenged industry failings

The fashion industry has plenty of colourful characters but few real leaders. A leader is what Alexandra Shulman has been in UK fashion during her 25 years at the helm of British Vogue.

Shulman, who is stepping down from the role in June, has balanced tireless cheerleading for the fashion industry with being one of its sharpest inquisitors. She has used Vogue as a platform to champion the talent of British fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane, as well as photographers, stylists, makeup artists and writers.Her close links with British style icons such as Kate Moss, whom she has featured on numerous covers and employed as a contributing fashion editor since 2013, have helped build Britain’s international reputation for style. A tireless advocate for London fashion week, she has fought the city’s corner in rivalries with Paris, Milan and New York – arguing for time on the schedule and leveraging her own reputation to persuade designers to stage their shows in the UK capital.Shulman has never been afraid to speak out about fashion’s shortcomings. In 2009, she wrote an open letter to designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace and Miuccia Prada, saying their “minuscule” sample sizes were forcing magazines to use unhealthily thin models.

She has worked hard to get Vogue – and by extension, the fashion industry – to engage with the wider world. In November 2016, Vogue went “model-free” for one issue, featuring clothes worn by “real people”, including CEOs and charity workers.

“I feel strongly that women who are in positions of authority or power, or who work in professions, should be able to indulge their interest in clothes and fashion without it seeming frivolous or that they don’t care about their job,” Shulman said at the time.

Her down-to-earth manner and appearance has been much reported, often flagged in contrast to the tennis-at-4am, sunglasses-in-the-office image of her American counterpart, Anna Wintour. The woman-next-door aspect of her appearance is sometimes overplayed – Shulman is in fact a very stylish and elegant figure who more than holds her own on the front row – but her level-headed and unpretentious mindset has had a powerful impact on the fashion world.

The centenary issue of British Vogue, which pulled off a coup by securing a cover portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge, was an example of Shulman’s determination to make the magazine relevant and visible outside a bubble of industry insiders and Bond Street shoppers. Her diary of British Vogue’s centenary year, Inside Vogue, is a wickedly readable account of her struggles to balance the demands of temperamental photographers such as David Bailey with the equally temperamental boiler at her home in west London.

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Passion for fashion inspires Lexington woman to open clothing boutique

Passion for fashion inspires Lexington woman to open clothing boutique

 

LEXINGTON — It was never Vicki Peterson’s dream to own a clothing boutique.

As a stay-at-home mom with only one child still living at home, Peterson was looking for her next step in life when she read “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines and Mark Dagostino.

“Reading that really inspired me. I probably wasn’t at the greatest place in my life. I have been a stay-at-home mom. My kids are growing up. So it was like, ‘OK what do I do?’ My husband farms. I’m not really one of those go-out-in-the-grain-cart type of people,” she said with a laugh.

The book’s message about finding your own path inspired Peterson to open Plum Pretty.

“It’s just kind of all about what kind of works. Maybe somehow what you planned or what you studied doesn’t go accordingly, but you can still have a very successful, great life. That’s kind of the book in a nutshell,” she said.

Peterson had worked at The Buckle and had a knack for putting outfits together for friends.

“It’s just that I’ve always kind of had a passion for fashion. I’ve had a lot of friends always asking me for advice, if they are going somewhere, ‘Does this look OK?’ Or they will send me a text message, ‘Does this match?’” she said.

After talking with a friend, Peterson began to formulate the idea to bring a clothing store to Lexington. The Bertrand resident is familiar with the area and wanted to provide a place for people to shop.

“I just kind of thought, ‘They really don’t have anything.’ I think the boutique thing is something that has become more and more popular. I think it was just kind of like, ‘Well, why not give it a try?’” she said.

Peterson approached her accountant about her idea in March, and she found a building to lease in May. The space was formally a liquor store, and Peterson and her family put in extra time to make it her own.

Her husband, Matt, and son, Miles, built dressing rooms and a dividing wall. She also redid the floor and refreshed the walls with paint.

While rustic style is all the rage in clothing boutiques, Peterson wanted to set herself apart with a clean, classic setting with a few rustic pieces, such as the 100-year-old door that was originally in her farmhouse. The door is being re-purposed to display bags.

After Peterson went to market in June, Plum Pretty opened its doors Aug. 22 in Lexington. Peterson’s goal is to offer high-quality, affordable pieces. Her most expensive item in the store is a $90 sweater. Denim ranges from $50 to $75, and tops are $30 to $50.

Finding pieces that her customers will like is one of the biggest challenges, Peterson said.

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Fashion’s New Distance From Terry Richardson Is Too Little, Too Late

Fashion’s New Distance From Terry Richardson Is Too Little, Too Late

While Terry Richardson has become the poster child for fashion’s sexual harassment problem, photographers, editors, stylists, casting directors and others are known to routinely engage in misconduct in an industry where power dynamics disadvantage young women.

NEW YORK, United States — Life for Terry Richardson seems to have become harder in a post-Harvey Weinstein world. On Tuesday, London’s Daily Telegraphreported that James Woolhouse, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Condé Nast International, the media giant’s international arm, sent an internal email to the company’s global presidents instructing them to stop collaborating with Richardson. The controversial fashion photographer’s alleged sexual misconduct with models, which occurred on sets, first surfaced in disturbing detail over a decade ago. And yet Richardson remains a frequent choice for editorial and advertising projects across the fashion industry.

A representative for the London-based Condé Nast International confirmed Woolhouse’s email, which was reported to have been sent at 8.14am local time on Monday. A representative for Condé Nast (in the US) told BoF: “Condé Nast has nothing planned with him going forward. Sexual harassment of any kind is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.” While many of Condé Nast’s international titles, particularly Vogue Paris, have worked with the photographer as recently as this year, the American titles had largely stopped. American Vogue last worked with Richardson in 2010 and by 2014, the company’s other US titles had followed suit.

That is until Condé Nast’s W commissioned Richardson to shoot an editorial for the magazine’s November 2017 issue, on newsstands now. (The shoot was commissioned after Edward Enninful left the title to run British Vogue.) W’s editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi declined to comment on why he decided to start working with the photographer again after six years. WSJ Magazine and CR Fashion Book, which have recently commissioned covers from Richardson, also declined to comment. Although Richardson shot for WSJ as recently as September 2017, sources say the title has no plans to work with him again. Representatives for Hearst, Net-a-Porter’s Porter magazine, Dazed and Fantastic Man — all of which have worked with Richardson in the last two years — did not return requests for comment.

On Tuesday, a representative for Valentino — which has regularly commissioned Richardson to photograph campaigns — told BoF that the house will not work with him again. But just this month, the Italian megabrand released a Resort 2018 campaign lensed by Richardson and featured it on its Instagram account. “Valentino’s last campaign with photographer Terry Richardson was shot in July 2017,” said the representative. “There are no plans on a future campaign and of course [we] take these allegations against Terry Richardson seriously.” Valentino has removed Richardson’s name from the credits in captions of the Resort 2018 campaign images on Instagram, but not the images themselves.

But the allegations of Richardson’s sexual misconduct have been around for years. There have been no new public reports of sexual misconduct by Richardson since 2014, when press coverage of his alleged behaviour and questions as to why brands and magazines still tolerated this and worked with him reached fever pitch. “Is Terry Richardson an Artist or a Predator?” asked New York Magazine in 2014, after a suite of new accounts surfaced and more than a handful of brands, including Aldo and H&M, said they had no future plans to work with him.

“Like Robert Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton and so many others before me, sexual imagery has always been a part of my photography,” wrote Richardson at the time on the Huffington Post. “I have never used an offer of work or a threat of rebuke to coerce someone into something that they did not want to do.”

“He is an artist who has been known for his sexually explicit work, so many of his professional interactions with subjects were sexual and explicit in nature, but all of the subjects of his work participated consensually,” a representative for Richardson told the Telegraph on Tuesday. “Terry is disappointed to hear about this [Condé Nast International] email especially because he has previously addressed these old stories.”

But following the avalanche of allegations against major Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein from over fifty actresses and concerns around negative PR fallout and whether brands and magazines could perhaps be held legally liable for job-related sexual harassment, the fashion industry, which long turned a blind eye to Richardson’s behaviour, suddenly appears to be taking a harder line.

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Playboy to feature first transgender playmate

Playboy to feature first transgender playmate

layboy tapped its first transgender playmate, with 26-year-old French model Ines Rau set to appear in the magazine’s November centrefold.

With a storied history of Playmates and famous cover girls – think: Paris Hilton Cindy Crawford, Drew Barrymore, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss – it seems as though the gentleman’s magazine is heading into the future.

Rau first appeared in the publication in May 2014 in a feature that investigated gender identity but it looks as though the tide is turning on what femininity means in 2017.

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Look, but don’t touch: models fight back against harassment in the fashion industry

Look, but don’t touch: models fight back against harassment in the fashion industry

Have we just witnessed fashion’s Arab Spring? Certainly, something very serious and potentially transformative filled the American model Cameron Russell’s Instagram feed when she used fashion’s favourite social medium to highlight the abuse and sexual exploitation of vulnerable young models.

Into the glossy slipstream of the usual PR-pleasing posts, Russell lobbed a slew of dispatches showcasing a seamier side of an industry that counts her among its most bankable faces.

The opening shot is a screengrab from a private conversation between Russell and an unnamed fellow model, posted with her permission. In it the model describes how, at the age of 15, she was sexually assaulted on a test shoot by a male fashion photographer who told her the resulting pictures would look “more sensual”.…

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EXPLORE FASHION FROM THE 2000S AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE

EXPLORE FASHION FROM THE 2000S AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE

In a new exhibition titled The Overworked Body: An Anthology of 2000s Dress, Australia-born and New York-based fashion curator Matthew Linde refuses to take received wisdom for granted. He’s very clear to explain, as we step through the two mannequin-stuffed gallery spaces in Chinatown (Ludlow 38 and Mathew Gallery) that he’s using for this sprawling look at fashion from the previous decade, that the show is not meant to be “a survey or an overview.” At least, not in the rigid sense that a historian might use those terms. Rather, he points out, “It’s an anthology, meaning a selection by choice.” The show expresses Linde’s point of view about the hidden forces bubbling beneath the sartorial surface. “This approach has really been lifted from Cecil Beaton’s 1971 exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, titled Fashion: An Anthology,” he explains, adding that this was the “first instance in which fashionable modern dress received a museological moment … previously these exhibitions were done under the auspice of a dress historian, but how then can a dress historian approach the idea of fashionable modern dress?”

Linde remarks that his exhibition “hijacks this anthological approach, but to the point of ad nauseam … This exhibition presents a period of fashion that is overloaded and overworked.” His vision sweeps across a wide range of designers, from major figures like Helmut Lang and Walter Van Beirendonck, to obscurities like KEUPR/van BENTM and Hideki Seo. While a more pedantic exhibit might have skipped unknown figures in favor of designers whose clothes people actually wore, Linde uses small names to illustrate big ideas. “I’m bringing up unsung voices from the period to present that fashion history has always been slippery and complicated,” he says, with a mischievous smile. “So someone in 2050 doing an anthology of 2000s dress would do something wildly different to this. This is more of an attempt to unnerve or complicate this idea that fashion periods are cement.”

So what did the period add up to, exactly? “Prior to the 2000s you really had to be an insider to know what was going on in designer fashion,” Linde notes. “When digitization occurred, which people describe as the democratization of fashion, suddenly these wider markets were available. But at the same time you had the proliferation of fast fashion—Zara, TOPSHOP, H&M, Target. So suddenly things became a lot more ugly,” he adds, laughing. “There was so much trash in the 2000s.” Linde’s vision of the decade captures an itchy, imbalanced energy, sparked by disruptive forces like 9/11 and the rise of social media. He showcases designers who blowtorch sequins, turn prom dresses into necklaces, and fill transparent post-apocalyptic survival outfits with trash. They mock couture silhouettes and use religious garb as a punchline. Nothing was sacred. Or perhaps, everything was.

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The Naomissance is upon us: Naomi Campbell returns to the top of the fashion world

The Naomissance is upon us: Naomi Campbell returns to the top of the fashion world

The year 1990 was a good one for Naomi Campbell. That January opened with a spot on that supermodel cover of British Vogue, alongside Cindy, Christy and Linda. After that came the covers of French and Italian Vogue, as well as posing for Peter Lindbergh in a convertible full of dalmatians in a classic Grace Coddington shoot for American Vogue (that still turns up on moodboards to this day), walking for Gianni Versace in Milan and lip-syncing for George Michael’s Freedom ‘90 video. Not bad.

Now 2017 looks to be an equally good year for Campbell, now aged 47, a career arc that defies the norms of modelling. This is the age of the Naomissance.

Campbell’s profile in the fashion industry is higher right now than it has been since she ruled the catwalk two decades ago. As newly installed contributing editor of British Vogue, Campbell took an unmistakably powerful seat in the front row of the Burberry show at London fashion week, between editor-in-chief Edward Enninful and Kate Moss, who is also on the Vogue masthead. At Paris fashion week, Campbell was snapped emerging from lunch at the Ritz with fellow supermodel and former French first lady Carla Bruni. And on the Friday night of Milan fashion week she almost broke the internet in her metal-mesh Versace gown, as the central figure in the five-strong lineup of supermodels who joined Donatella for a catwalk tribute to her late brother.

It is quite the turnaround for brand Naomi, which not so long ago spent the best part of a decade under the shadow of four convictions for assault. Then there was the tawdry business of the blood diamonds, an unedifying tale of “dirty-looking stones” being handed over late at night, and an eventual court appearance at Charles Taylor’s war crimes trial. None of this was helped by Campbell’s tin ear for the handling of these episodes. She wore a silver Dolce & Gabbana gown for community service in New York (“what do they expect me to do – Walk in looking all drib and drab?”) and initially declined her subpoena from The Hague, declaring it a “big inconvenience”.

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