“I haven’t read vogue in years” -- former fashion director pens startlingly candid essay
Former British Vogue Fashion Director Lucinda Chambers takes aim at the industry.
A new era is dawning at British Vogue. Ever since i-D's former Fashion Director Edward Enninful was announced as the new Editor of the prestigious UK fashion title, we knew to expect a very different magazine from the one presented by Alexandra Shulman for the past 25 years (she is the longest serving editor of the title). After Shulman announced her departure in January, it became clear that there was to be a more comprehensive changing of the guard. Two other departures swiftly followed: Managing Editor of 24 years Frances Bentley (on the same day), and Fashion Director Lucinda Chambers (four months later, in May).
Lucinda, 57, had been at Vogue for 36 years. First as an assistant, then returning later as Fashion Director, a role she held throughout Shulman's 25 year tenure. Following a fairly standard announcement of her departure in May, Chambers has now given a startlingly open interview revealing that she was in fact fired. "A month and a half ago I was fired from Vogue," she states in an essay in fashion journal Vestoj, as told to editor Anja Aronowsky Cronberg at a "cosy private club in West London".
Titled Will I Get a Ticket?, the essay muses on how Lucinda will be treated by the industry following her departure. While that remains to be seen, Lucinda herself is pulling no punches. Savaging the recent collections of her former employer Marni, she also drags an unnamed fashion editor whose "modus operandi" sees him make people feel anxious and insecure. She also questions the historic hiring policy at Vogue that saw a well-dressed but "terrible" stylist hired during her maternity leave.
In a particularly stunning passage, Lucinda addresses the highs and lows of her own legacy. "If my shoots were really crappy… Oh I know they weren't all good - some were crappy," she says, before specifying: "The June cover with Alexa Chung in a stupid Michael Kors T-shirt is crap". "He's a big advertiser so I knew why I had to do it," she continues. "I knew it was cheesy when I was doing it, and I did it anyway. Ok, whatever. But there were others… There were others that were great."
Taking a more broad aim at the content of the magazine, Lucinda says, "Truth be told, I haven't read Vogue in years," adding, "The clothes are just irrelevant for most people -- so ridiculously expensive". Though the styling policy may well be transformed under Edward Enninful's editorship, it seems unlikely that Lucinda will embrace the magazine afresh.
Editor's note: The lead image on this article was changed after publication. Shortly after our news feature was shared, Vestoj unpublished the original article and we have subsequently reached out for clarification and comment.
Updated editor's note: Vestoj have republished the interview in full and supplied the following comment. "Due to the sensitive nature of this article, we took the decision to temporarily remove it from the site. We have now republished it in its entirety."
Updated editor's note: Vestoj updated their article and we have edited this piece to reflect this.
Text Charlotte Gush