Alexandra Shulman thinks fashion has become about entertainment.
The editor-in-chief of Vogue UK has reflected on the fashion bible as the British version of Vogue nears its 100th anniversary. The glossy celebrates its centenary in 2016, and Alexandra admits fashion has experienced vast changes over the years – something that is always reflected in Vogue.
“I think fashion has become hugely about entertainment,” she told WWD. “Like everything, you’ve got to keep the root quite pure. As soon as fashion becomes only about Project Runway, you’re actually cannibalising yourself. There’s got to be something very special, inaccessible and rarefied at the core that people want to get into.”
Luckily for Vogue readers, Alexandra always makes sure her team keep things serious when it comes to style.
“You have to remain luxury,” she said. “There’s got to be something that people aspire to, and that’s to do with designing and creating beautiful things. The richness of it has got to be kept.
“The whole secret of Vogue is that we’re giving people what they want before they even know they wanted it.”
That’s not to say Vogue hasn’t evolved. When the first copy was printed in America in 1892, circulated as a weekly newspaper, fashion was only part of what the publication had to offer. These days it’s the Holy Grail when it comes to trends and photo shoots – but that’s only happened in the last few decades, notes Alexandra.
“It was style and lifestyle,” she explained. “Fashion takes off in the ’80s. Before that, it was the arts playing a bigger part. And a lot of what was great about Vogue during World War Two was the actual editorial; you know, how to be a Vogue woman in this world of reduced, changing circumstances.”