The fashion world has been paying tribute to British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman as she steps down from the industry bible after a quarter of a century.
When she was appointed on 23 January 1992, Nicholas Coleridge – the then managing director of Vogue – said “Vogue is almost in her blood”, referring to the fact her mother, father and brother had all worked at the publication.
So how will her tenure be remembered and why was she such a great ambassador for the fashion world? We asked industry figures for their views.
1. She wasn’t ‘your usual fashionista’
“Her contribution has been amazing, she had some fantastic covers. She has a love for fashion, but never in a precious way.
“I worked with her on the Sunday Telegraph many years ago, and she wasn’t your expected type of fashionista. She wasn’t like [US Vogue editor] Anna Wintour – she was her own person.
“She has her own style, slightly bohemian, and had a sense of humour. She was funny. She was really committed to her job and she loved Vogue.”
– Hilary Alexander, editor-at- large of Hello! Fashion Monthly and former fashion director of the Daily Telegraph
2. She championed supermodels
“There are many stylists out there and people who have a wonderful take on fashion but few have such a good eye for a story as Alex has.
“She was one of the first people to realise, years back, that supermodels were becoming stars in their own right. She championed the Naomis and the Kates [Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss].
“To this day, Kate Moss has still appeared on the cover more than anyone else. It was Alex who recognised the story, as much as others recognised the fashion.”
– Robert Johnson, GQ fashion director
3. She believed in British fashion as a brand
“She supported British fashion massively. She believed in it as almost a brand in itself and she stuck up for it all the time. As editor, I think she saw it grow in stature.
“The British fashion industry has become a bit more respected for being viable and less thought of as ‘the crazy place’, and actually acknowledged that it is a very creative place. She supported both sides of it.”
– Alison Lloyd, the founder of accessories brand Ally Capellino
4. She brought the reader closer to the fashion world
“Alexandra Shulman is an exceptional editor and has been an instrumental ambassador to British fashion internationally.
“During her 25-year tenure at British Vogue, the magazine has evolved into one of the leading fashion publications in the world, bringing the fashion industry ever closer to the reader.
“The British Fashion Council are so grateful for the support Alex has given to our young designers through initiatives like the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, steered by her eye for the best designers and creative influencers.”
– Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council
5. She has a ‘genuine sense of respect’
“Alex Shulman is one of the great editors of her time.
“Magazines are driven to a large extent by the nature of their character, and Vogue’s character for the last 25 years has been defined by Alex’s intelligence, surface smarts, elegance, as well as by a genuine sense of respect.
“Vogue is a big brand, maybe the biggest magazine brand of them all, and she has been a great gatekeeper, keeping all reductive forces at bay.”
– Dylan Jones, editor of GQ
6. She wanted to broaden what fashion could do
“She was interested in promoting a broader range of beauty and body image.
“I wrote to her in the very early days when she published a set of pictures of a curvaceous model in the late 1990s. I said I’d be interested in the response, and she understood where I was coming from and wanted to talk about it.
“[Fashion designer] Amanda Wakeley and I approached her at the beginning of setting up Fashion Targets Breast Cancer in 1996 and she really saw the value of it and helped us create two big fashion industry photos.
“She could see the bigger picture and wanted to broaden what fashion could do. Fashion is often derided as a superficial part of people’s lives but it feeds into larger issues like identity and self-esteem.”
– Fashion commentator Caryn Franklin