After standing at the helm of Britain’s most iconic fashion publication, Vogue UK, for 25 years, editor in chief Alexandra Shulman has announced today that she will be resigning in June 2017.
The news was announced by Nicholas Coleridge, the Managing Director of Condé Nast Britain. “This is an announcement I hoped never to have to make,” Coleridge said. “She [Shulman] has edited the title for a quarter of its existence, through its period of highest ever circulation, and its simultaneous transformation into a global digital brand. She has been the towering figure of the British fashion press throughout her tenure: a superb journalist and editor, who understands and exemplifies every quality.”
Shulman first began her journalism career at Over-21 magazine before stints at Tatler magazine (in 1982), the Sunday Telegraph (in 1987) and GQ (in 1990) where she worked as the editor. She then joined Vogue UK as editor in chief in 1992. Shulman’s tenure has spanned a quarter of a century; a time that has included exciting and challenging times for the fashion industry and for magazine publishing. She has steered Vogue UK through many changes, namely the rise of the internet, social media and the fashion blogger, incredible technological advances, and a growing global fashion community. Upon departing in June, Shulman will leave a legacy of more than 300 issues and a 12% increase in circulation.
Shulman has overseen major landmarks and iconic moments in Vogue UK’s history. In March 1993 Shulman put a young Kate Moss on her first ever Vogue cover, sparking a game-changing career of supermodel proportions; in 1997 a posthumous cover was dedicated to Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales – now considered Vogue UK’s magazine cover. In December 1999 she oversaw the ‘Millennium Issue’ – Vogue UK’s highest selling issue – on which a simplistic, reflective mirror-like cover gave the reader the impression that they were the model. More recently Shulman oversaw the first Vogue cover of Ashley Graham for the January 2017 ‘Real Issue’.
Arguably Shulman’s greatest success came in 2016 and with Vogue UK’s 100-year birthday, which was celebrated in style. The celebrations included a retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, Vogue: Voice of a Century, a Vogue 100 Gala dinner, the special edition centenary issue featuring Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, and a BBC 2 documentary, Absolutely Fashion, which followed Shulman during the planning of the centenary issue. Shulman has since published a book detailing how the centenary issue came together, Inside Vogue: A Diary of My 100th Year.
“I have edited British Vogue for 25 years almost to the day, and to have steered it during our spectacular centenary has been one of the greatest privileges,” Shulman said in a statement announcing the resignation. “During that time I have worked with an unparalleled collection of talent both inside and outside the magazine and have been lucky enough to see both Vogue and the British fashion industry expand and flourish.”
Who will replace Shulman is still unknown. Whoever is chosen will undoubtedly bring their own personal taste and tone to Vogue UK, and must be able to see it through the treacherous waters of magazine publishing in the 21st century. Question is, will they live up to Alexandra Shulman?
Words by Esther Newman