In an interview with The Guardian, British Vogue's Alexandra Shulman reveals the secrets behind choosing a cover girl, although she admits that there is no set science behind the agonising decision. "It's difficult to say what will sell" Shulman explains, "Kate Moss sells well for us but then we tend to play to our strengths and put her on the September cover - it's better to use your ammunition on a big issue rather than battling against a difficult seasonal sensation".
Despite describing Moss as a safety cover girl, Shulman remembers the 2003 Vogue cover with the waif-like rock chick styled as David Bowie's iconic Aladdin Sane sleeve as a "complete catastrophe". Other things to avoid include dirty colours such as mustard or aubergine, and high fashion pieces - "a real thumbs down". "The evidence suggests that black cover girls don't sell as well as white cover girls," she admits with regret, although Glamour's Jo Elvin disagrees with such narrow conventions.
Ironically, British magazine Healthy found itself under some harsh criticism last week after it came out that they had retouched cover star Kamilla Wladyka to look larger than her usual self, in an attempt to fit in with the magazine's 'healthy' image. The photoshopping became apparent after photos of the model in her usual slim state surfaced on The Fashion Spot, and since then a number of top editors have revealed that they do the same for their magazines.
First there was Jane Druker of Healthy magazine, who admitted to editing a girl who turned up to a shoot looking "really thin and unwell", next British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman confessed that she too has been has been shocked at the state that models turn up to a shoot, forcing her to ask photographers "Can you not make them look too thin". Former Cosmopolitan editor Leah Hardy, however, came completely clean on the matter when she wrote an article for The Daily Mail on "A big fat (and very dangerous) lie" - airbrushing models to look healthy.
Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue once called for 'healthier' models. Her prayers have been answered in the form of plus-size supermodel of the moment Crystal Renn - and her curvy figure and gorgeous bone structure. Since last fashion-week season, Renn has been causing a storm in the industry by defying everything it has ever 'stood' for, proving that models of all shapes and sizes should be allowed to share a piece of the action.
With all her success since she stopped starving herself to be a 'straight-sized' clothes horse, one can hardly believe how far she has come. In an interview with the Eric Wilson of the New York Times yesterday, Renn candidly bares all about life at the start of her career. Reading from her book, Hungry, Wilson shares an excerpt showing the realities of the industry: "By 2002, when she moved to New York at age 15, she weighted 95 pounds and had lost more than 42% of her body weight. On her first day in the city, she landed a shoot for Seventeen."
Good news for talented up and coming designers: TheBritish Fashion Council and the fashion bible that is Vogue have come up with a new project, which will provide one lucky fashion designer with £200,000 in addition to mentoring and support to help launch an international career. The fund, aptly named The BFC Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, was launched earlier this week and mirrors that of the one stateside, Vogue/CFDA fund, the brainchild of none other than Anna Wintour.
Unlike other funding projects currently offered by the BFC, including the NewGen and Fashion Forward schemes, this simply requires designers to have international stockists, strong media profile and an established business. The fund will be presided over by Harold Tilman, who will chair the fund alongside British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, who will chair the inaugural judging panel.
Speaking about the project, Mr Tilman said, "...Designer talent is the lifeblood of the fashion industry. Now is the time for the industry to directly support this talent and sign up to the Fund...There are some strong designer businesses based here in the UK...This fund aims to help our most talented designers to become the global fashion brands of the future."
For those of you who think or know you have what it takes, you have until Dec. 2 to apply, and the finalists will be shortlisted by April 2010.
Need a dose of fashion history? To coincide with the 100th anniversary of tailor Sir Hardy Amies' birth, the House of Hardy Amies is opening its largely unseen archives to the public this November - the first time a British couturier ever has done so. 'Sir Hardy Amies: A Century of Couture' will allow guests to check out everything from memoirs of royal clients to sketches of famous fans to a new film from British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman.
At the 53-year-old brand's newly refurbished home in 14 Savile Row, London, the exhibition will focus on Amies' association with royalty and celebrities. Amies was Queen Elizabeth II's dressmaker from the time she took the throne until he retired in 1989, and Hollywood ingenue Mildred Shay wore the designer's famous 'Made in England' suit when she came to the UK during World War II. Amies also created costumes for films including '2001: A Space Odyssey'.
A selection of Amies' personal effects, along with letters from the likes of Cecil Beaton, Claudette Colbert and even (we know) Margaret Thatcher will be included in the exhibit. And for a little something new, a documentary with commentary from Princess Michael of Kent, Lady Astor, Jeremy Irons and Shulman will be shown. We'll bet you Amies' crocodile-skin Hermes cigarette case that you'll learn something new.
We've told you about the fabulousness that will be New York's Fashion's Night Out, but let's not forget the London counterpart, shall we? On Monday, a host of British fashion leaders met on the roof of Vogue House to support the big day on this side of the pond.
Among those gathered were Chrisopher Bailey, Matthew Williamson, Luella Bartley, Christopher Kane, Daisy Lowe, Pixie Geldof, Yasmin Le Bon and Marks & Spencer's Sir Stuart Rose. Jourdan Dunn also braved the rooftop - showing off a still-small, seven-months-along baby bump - while editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman kept everything in order.
We're not sure about you, but all this gets us more excited than ever for London Fashion Week. Only 11 days to go!
In honour of Rachel Bilson's new gig at InStyle, we decided to make a few imaginary substitutions for other magazine jobs. Namely, we picked two actresses, a model and a designer who probably could toss on some big sunglasses and pass for editors-in-chief.
You can see our picks for the head spots at the US, French, British and Italian editions of Vogue, but if you have a better choice, let us know!