The fashion industry thrives on creating high emotions in front of an audience, and as it turns out (unshockingly), that chaos extends behind the scenes. Never short on real drama, the recent Paris haute couture season is the latest setting for scandalous tea. Ironically, the talk at all the current Paris shows aren’t about the über-expensive clothes. Fashion insiders are gossiping about the departure of British Vogue Fashion Director Lucinda Chambers (a more-than-three-decade veteran) and her exclusive interview with Vestoj, an annual academic journal about fashion.
In the article, Chambers divulges plenty. She shares how British Vogue handled her dismissal, how the industry seems to have evolved to pure commercialism and a few other juicy first-person stories.
Chambers also criticized the magazine world in general, blaming the alliance between publisher and advertisers as the reason for some “crap” covers she produced for Vogue. Take a look:
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. 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.
Not holding anything back, Chambers further talks about how the magazine has lost its focus and its responsibility to readers. Here she offers her observations:
What magazines want today is the latest, the exclusive. It’s a shame that magazines have lost the authority they once had. They’ve stopped being useful. In fashion we are always trying to make people buy something they don’t need. We don’t need any more bags, shirts or shoes. So we cajole, bully or encourage people into continue buying. I know glossy magazines are meant to be aspirational, but why not be both useful and aspirational? That’s the kind of fashion magazine I’d like to see.
Her final statement about the fashion magazine also hit a chord with us:
I haven’t read Vogue in years. Maybe I was too close to it after working there for so long, but I never felt I led a Vogue-y kind of life. The clothes are just irrelevant for most people — so ridiculously expensive.
Chambers’ honest opinion about the high-end fashion industry is rather refreshing, don’t you think? As an insider, she shares cautionary tales through her own experiences in the article. She also tries to separate absurdity from reality in the industry.
Indeed, magazines like Vogue aim to create a fantasy world for readers, but in doing so they often dictate unrealistic trends, like the “anorexic waif” look. Plus, a majority of the expensive clothes inside are hardly for everyday wear, and only 10% of the population (or less) can afford them.
It takes guts for someone like Chambers to call all this out.
We wish Lucinda Chambers all the best with her upcoming endeavors. We also can’t wait to see what she does next. We hope it’ll be something “useful.”
Featured image by Matt Writtle via Evening Standard