Last Friday evening I was lucky enough to attend an Evening with Alexandra Shulman at the V&A with my fashion pal, Style and Then Some's Katie Wright.
Held in the V&A's impressive domed Lydia and Manfred Gorvy lecture theatre, the venue for the event was equally as imposing as the British Vogue editor's journalistic credentials. However, if members of the audience had come to the talk expecting to find a Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada type-character in the British Vogue editor, I suspect they would have gone away dissapointed. Shulman's public persona is about as far removed from the traditional stereotype of a Vogue editor as I can imagine; a quality which continues to make her enduringly fascinating twenty years on from the date she inherited Britain's fashion bible.
'God, what am I going to wear??' Shulman told interviewer Francine Stock was her first thought when she found out she'd got the coveted job of editing British Vogue. Talking through her most memorable covers from her career at the magazine, Schulman shared several of Kate Moss because not only is she beautiful but 'Vogue sells when Kate is on the cover'. The evolution of the celebrity clothes horse was apparent through Shulman's choices, with the 'trashy/perfect' Robbie and contraversial Victoria Beckham covers selling well, 'I think I had the last laugh putting Victoria on the cover now that she has become a successful designer own right' Alexandra told the audience. Putting a Marks and Spencer shirt on the cover of the May '96 issue also proved to be controversial cover for Shulman, as some believed the magazine should only be synonymous with luxury fashion. Shulman also discussed the Princess Diana commerative issue with whom Vogue shared 'a real relationship' with.