Sunday, May 29, 2011


I spend a lot of time trying to explain why style is important, why it is possible to be a sensible person and still care what shoes you wear. Why the way we dress is important, why, as an extension of ourselves, it is powerful. Anyway, I jumped for joy when I read Alexandra Shulman's insightful words on this very subject for her ed's letter of the June issue of British Vogue. Shulman is by far my favourite Vogue editor, and her magazine is always full of new thinking and brilliantly written features, as well as magical pictures.

Here, she makes perfect sense of the reasons why skirt lengths and the season's hot new colours still matter when we are bombing Libya and there's a nuclear power station leaking in Japan. "It can seem, at times," she writes, "as if the task of putting together a fashion magazine might appear like Nero's proverbial fiddling while Rome burns.
"Yet when you look back through the past 95 years of British Vogue, you can see that fashion does not exist in a vacuum; like all culture, it grows out of the general mood and events of the time...
"Fashion is one of the great pleasures in life and it clear that, no matter how difficult the times, the urge, for many of us, to make the most of how we look is primal. You need only think of the elaborate jewellery and costumes among impoverished tribal peoples to see that fashion and style are not about money but a demonstration of self, a way of sending a message about who you are. It is this that will continue to drive fashion in the same way wonderful art and literature thrive in adversity.
"As countries struggle to right themselves in this period of extreme turmoil, I hope Vogue provides a welcome does of escapism and inspiration - while also being, like fashion, a product of the age."
Hear, hear!

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