Posts Tagged ‘Vogue magazine’

IMG_20200120_161145543Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire by biographer and historian Susan Ronald, covers Nast’s glamorous life and successful career as an American publishing giant.

There is much to cover and Ronald moves quickly over Nast’s early life from his birth in 1873 to his marriage to his initial interest in magazines. Once he enters into publishing she slows down and settles in on how Nast started with Collier’s magazine, moved on to Ladies Home Journal Patterns and eventually Vogue magazine.

Publishing Vogue and Vanity Fair are most of the story but we also read details about Nast’s famous “cafe society” parties and his grand apartment at 1040 Park Avenue in Manhattan. There are intriguing tales about fashionable characters such as Vogue fashion editor Carmel Snow, photographer Cecil Beaton, and writer Dorothy Parker.

The financial crash in 1929 hit Nast hard and he nearly lost his empire. We learn how over several years Nast fought to keep his business going by calling in favors. WWII was not an easy time either as French Vogue had to shut down and British Vogue (based in London) struggled to publish facing paper shortages and The Blitz.

But Nast and his empire did survive these challenges and that makes for great reading. Thoroughly researched with help from surviving letters and company documents, Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire is an excellent read for fashion and publishing industry history.


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Romance lurks in strange places, but perhaps nowhere so much as behind shop windows.

British Vogue, January 1922.

British Vogue, like Vogue in America was published by Conde Nast. In the 1920s the covers were illustrated, such as the one pictured here. I find the illustrations have a certain charm that photographs just don’t have however artistic and slick they might be.

I just finished reading Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire, by Susan Ronald (St. Martin’s Press). Check back Wednesday for my review.

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Get fashionable. Be fashionable. Stay fashionable.


Have your say on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016.


Vogue editor Anna Wintour sporting a Marc Jacobs Hillary t-shirt at the recent NYC fashion shows.






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grace coddington

Grace Coddington is stepping down from her position as creative director at American Vogue magazine.

The former British model has been Anna Wintour’s right-hand gal since 1988 when the two Brits took over the magazine. At 74, Ms. Coddington has no plans to retire but says she intends to stay active in fashion and other interests, including the creation of a fragrance for Comme des Garçons.

Good for her. I look forward to seeing what the talented Ms. Coddington does next.

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untitledI’ll never forget what wonderful Edna Chase, the doyenne – the goddess – the former of taste, discretion and elegance – sending a memo to us in the bombing, that she noticed we weren’t wearing hats and she didn’t approve that we dyed our legs and made lines up the backs to simulate stockings – (Britain had no nylons until the US Air Force brought them in as rich presents) – and I happened to be in charge of the office that day, though it was none of my affair to answer the boss, I sent a cable in my own name: We have no ration coupons and no nylon stockings anyway. The next week every member of the staff was sent three pairs.

Lee Miller, (1907-1977) American fashion model, photographer, and war correspondent for Vogue magazine (WWII).

This quote is from a letter Ms. Miller sent to her brother during the London Blitz (German bombing of the city), happening in the early years of World War II. At the time she was living in London with the artist/photographer Roland Penrose and working for Vogue as a fashion photographer. Later she traveled to the Continent as a war correspondent, also for Vogue.

I’ve been fascinated with Ms. Miller ever since I attended the exhibit The Art of Lee Miller at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I was and continue to be captivated by the many facets of her artistic talents.

Currently I’m reading Lee Miller in Fashion, by Becky E. Conekin.

BTW, Edna Chase was the editor in chief of Vogue from 1914-1952. She’s also quite a story.

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september-issue-poster-12-10-11I think what I often see is that people are frightened of fashion. Because it scares them or makes them feel insecure they put it down. On the whole, people that say demeaning things about our world, I think usually because they feel excluded … so as a result they just mock it.

– Anna Wintour, editor Vogue magazine, artistic director of Condé Nast, speaking in the 2007 documentary film, The September Issue.

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eduardo-garcia-benito-vogue-cover-january-1931Shun the cheap and shoddy as you would a contagious disease and … sink your all in a few perfect clothes. Well-made shoes, well-cut clothes of classic, lasting style, good hats, however few in number – these form the foundation of our lady’s wardrobe.

Vogue, January 1931.

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grace-coddington-s-memoirs_GBIs fashion art? I think it’s sometimes very creative, but I’m not sure I would call it art; that’s pushing it a bit. I certainly don’t think fashion photography is art, because if it is art, it’s probably not doing its job … In fashion photography, rule number one is to make the picture beautiful and lyrical or provocative and intellectual – but you still have to see the dress. Of course, I like to push the boundaries; I think that’s the most interesting element much of the time, when you walk the line. But you can’t forget to show the clothes and, in that end, not alter them beyond recognition; to pretend a dress is something it is not is unfair to the reader, too.

– Grace Coddington, creative director at Vogue.

This quote is taken from Ms. Coddington’s memoir, Grace (Random House, 2012), which I just finished reading and I throughly enjoyed. Ms. Coddington’s stories are brief, interesting and unpretentious. Crossing good humor with a sense of earnestness, she describes her 1940s and 50s childhood in Anglesey, a small island off the northern coast of Wales, and her life as a model in Swinging Sixties London. Later she goes into detail about working first at British Vogue and later at US Vogue with editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour. She spends quite a bit of time discussing her favorite photo-shoots and the book includes plenty of photos (a rarity these days) as well as Ms. Coddington’s charming sketches of herself, her colleagues, and her beloved cats.

Grace is an entertaining and informative read for anyone interested in a behind-the-scenes personal tour of fashion publishing.

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Image courtesy of Vogue, Condé Nast.

Vogue magazine, a Condé Nast publication, announced that it will now make its entire archive available to anyone who wishes to subscribe. Every page of every issue from 1892 to today.

  • covers
  • illustrations
  • photos
  • articles
  • advertising

What a handy research tool for designers, fashion historians and journalists, even artists. Individuals can subscribe for $1575 a year. Corporations can access the archives through trend forecasters, WGSN. Fashion school libraries might fork out the bucks but I’m wondering if this is something public libraries would purchase. I’ll keep an eye out and report back.

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