It was in April this yr that I received the information I’d been chosen as the brand new editor-in-chief of Vogue, the 11th within the journal’s 101-year historical past. Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief government of Condé Nast Worldwide, broke the information to me over lunch in a Midtown restaurant in New York. I bear in mind my first ideas being of my late mom – who got here to this nation as an immigrant with my father and their six younger kids – and the way proud she would have been. She was a seamstress and all the time beloved trend – simply as I’ve all the time beloved Vogue.
To be trusted with such an iconic title and legacy was overwhelming however actually thrilling. Having lived and labored on and off in New York for greater than a decade, I used to be happy to search out that the nation I’ve returned to continues to be the place the place, as a younger man rising up in west London, dreaming of trend, I may discover inspiration on each road. However one thing else appeared clear to me: today all people has a powerful opinion about what the following section of British life ought to appear to be. Definitely I do. So I used to be decided that my first difficulty of Vogue could be a real celebration of Britain.
However what ought to such a celebration appear to be in 2017? It is a nation constructed on custom, however – very similar to trend – one that’s endlessly altering. The time appeared proper to redefine what Vogue can imply at present. To open it up. So I current to you the British Subject: a tribute to our nation and to a bunch of people that brilliantly characterize it, each at house and on the world stage. No matter your views are on Brexit, there may be absolutely one factor we are able to all agree on: we’re a gifted bunch.
We’re additionally various. I hope you may be as gratified as I’m to notice how lots of the superb names featured on these pages didn’t essentially start their lives right here, or have been maybe born into households who emigrated right here a era or two in the past (like my very own). No matter the place they have been born or how they received right here, nonetheless, all of them share large delight of their homeland, with an outlook that’s pleasingly world.
Take Zadie Smith, considered one of our best worldwide literary stars, who I commissioned to write down about no much less a determine than Her Majesty the Queen. Learn her sensible piece, “Mrs Windsor”, on web page 135. Or Salman Rushdie, who as a younger boy from Bombay arrived at an English boarding faculty within the 1950s and now, a number of many years on, writes about how Christmas works in his multi-faith household (“Within the Spirit”, web page 143).
It goes with out saying that trend can by no means be inward-looking, and our expertise is world-class. Whether or not it’s the extraordinary success story of a British heritage label within the digital age, as with Christopher Bailey at Burberry, or Victoria Beckham turning a private model right into a worldwide trend pressure, in “Again to My Roots” on web page 282, a few of our best-known designers clarify how their British roots formed them as creatives. It tickles me that Victoria even agreed to be interviewed in her childhood bed room, whereas her mom, Jackie, made the tea.
I additionally assembled a crew of Vogue’s pals (each outdated and new) and requested them to attempt to put their fingers on what it’s precisely that makes this nation so particular (“Love Letters to Britain”, web page 207). From unique Swinging Sixties icon Twiggy to her trendy incarnation Cara Delevingne, pop megastar Zayn Malik to new Vogue contributing editor (and Oscar-winning moviemaker) Steve McQueen, all of them write with such affection about their very totally different experiences of this nation. (Secure to say that Alexander McQueen, yorkshire puddings, Kate Bush and moist pavements are all namechecked.)
Maybe one of many options I’m most happy with in my first difficulty is sending my expensive buddy Naomi Campbell to interview London mayor Sadiq Khan (web page 185). Except for being one of many best fashions who has ever lived – to say nothing of her tireless work as a philanthropist – Naomi can be a gifted interviewer. Listening to her and Sadiq mirror on their parallel lives rising up as younger, gifted individuals of color in Britain is each illuminating and provoking. Count on to see extra of Naomi’s interviews, as she joins fellow trend icon Kate Moss as a contributing editor.
After which, after all, we come to trend. Make certain of this: my Vogue would be the trend bible. Since my early profession as a stylist, I’ve lived and breathed trend, and my journey to get so far has been a protracted one. For the previous 25 years, I’ve been fortunate to collaborate intently with lots of the best names within the enterprise, be they the extraordinary designers I’ve labored with, the supermodels who’ve outlined their instances, or the magazines whose pages I’ve helped to form (W, Italian Vogue, American Vogue and i-D). I used to be very honoured to be awarded an OBE in 2016 for my providers to range within the trend business. In my work, I’ve all the time tried to push the boundaries of what trend can do.
At the moment’s shopper needs greater than clothes on a web page and procuring lists (although you should by no means buy groceries with out Vogue’s definitive edit). Style is a dialog, the continuous dialogue between you, the Vogue reader, and the instances we stay in, fusing trend with artwork, politics and society. Lately, that dialog doesn’t finish with the journal. I’ve been a champion for digital and social media content material for greater than a decade, and am excited for the following stage. At Vogue.co.uk you’ll discover all of the every day information and pattern updates, but in addition curated video content material constructed across the journal, together with insightful interviews and gorgeous trend movies.
The crew I’ve put collectively for Vogue and the experiences they carry mirror how the journal will transfer ahead. I’m delighted to welcome the inimitable Venetia Scott, who joins as trend director. Venetia’s extraordinary profession – from being one of many unique super-stylists of the 1990s and former artistic director for Marc Jacobs to celebrated photographer and world tastemaker – made her the right match. The respect for her inside the business is unparalleled. I couldn’t be prouder of Venetia and the editorial crew, nor of our blockbuster checklist of contributing photographers on this difficulty – together with Juergen Teller, Patrick Demarchelier and Bruce Weber. I’m so thrilled that Steven Meisel – my long-time collaborator – agreed to his first cowl and editorial story for a British journal in 25 years (“Adwoa”, on web page 240). Always remember that it generally takes a foreigner’s eye to seize Britain most clearly.
Photographer Craig McDean, in the meantime, is an excellent Brit who understands his nation completely (“On the Road The place You Dwell”, web page 310). His forensically lovely images, styled by Alastair McKimm, have as a lot to say about the best way we costume now as they do concerning the people who find themselves sporting the garments. And, after all, that is British Vogue – so there’s all the time room for an eccentric flourish. In “GingerNutz”, on web page 320, legendary stylist Grace Coddington, one other new contributing editor, clothes illustrator Michael Roberts’s mannequin orangutan in couture. The gifted Johan Svensson, beforehand of Vogue Paris and W, joins us as artistic director. His knowledgeable eye has helped to create the attractive marriage of visuals and typography of the brand new structure. Our mission assertion was to convey you an outdated buddy with a recent face; a contemporary refresh that feels female, stylish and finally basic. I hope you’re as happy with the consequence as I’m.
After all, everybody has been asking me who I might decide for my first cowl lady. I solely ever had one girl in thoughts. I’ve identified the soon-to-be supermodel and activist Adwoa Aboah since she was a toddler. Elite however accessible, uptown but downtown, excessive trend however road good – along with her digital discussion board Gurls Speak, Adwoa can be main the style dialog for ladies into the trendy period.
Welcome to your #NewVogue. Take pleasure in!
The December 2017 difficulty of British Vogue is out now – click on right here to subscribe.