Alexandra Shulman is a journalist, consultant and commentator. She was Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue from 1992-2017. She has been Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and is an honorary fellow of the University of the Arts. She won 2017 Periodical Publisher’s Association Editor’s Editor Award and The Drapers Award 2017 for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion. She is Vice President of The London Library and was awarded the CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List.
September approaches with the need to get everything sorted out before term starts. Instead of pencil cases, uniforms and ring binders, I’ve been going through paperwork from the past several decades including old newspaper cuttings. Among them I found an article I wrote for the Evening Standard in 1982 headlined, “Why good girls leave home”.
The British weather is just like the worst boyfriend. The kind that keeps you in a state of permanent insecurity over their intentions. ‘See you later,’ they say blithely on departing in the morning, a comment that could equally well mean after lunch, or sometime in the second half of the year. Our programming for disappointment is so deep that even during the recent weeks of sunshine it’s been hard to feel completely safe in making future plans. Supper tomorrow in the garden? A picnic next weekend? Is that hubristic? Should we have a plan B?
When the Daily Mail recently published my suggestions on what could be done to improve the ailing Marks & Spencer, my ideas garnered a huge response. Almost unanimously, readers wrote of their loyalty to the High Street store, but also their frustrations in navigating the swamp of clothes on offer and the difficulty in finding the great ones.
Ah yes, Ageless Style – the holy grail of dressing, with the appealing suggestion that it might be possible to be forever young. Or at any rate, unsusceptible to age. The thing is, though, unlike many other aspects of ageing, when it comes to clothes, such nirvana is possible to achieve, with experience, experimentation and a dash of willingness to accept the odd flop.
The journalist, who edited the fashion bible for 25 years, admitted that the need to for her family contributed to her decision to continue as editor of the magazine for so long rather than working as a writer.