Friday, December 13, 2013

The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements

As an avid magazine reader, since my early Total Girl days, the process of print publications and the curatorship of articles, photographs, shoots, ideas and editorials have been high on my list of interests. Reading Clements' recount of her early fashion days living in Kings Cross and experimenting with second-hand finds, was humbling and incredibly relatable for a fellow twenty-something, Sydney girl. The journey is often said to be the destination, and it was fascinating to read of how Clements' early trips onto shoots with editors eventuated into full-blown international affairs, including Elizabeth Arden and Chanel escapades. It was insightful to learn the gravitas that shifts in management and publication owners have on the staff and the production of magazines - these business details were fascinating at times, however later on were a bit tedious to relate to for an outsider. Clements' focus on the office and the changing staff dynamic was understandable and, in a way, showed that the fashion industry is not just inspiration, innovation and beauty, but also a workplace - and that includes the not-so-glamorous parts. Reading the backstory of magazine issues that I had previously only seen for face value was delectable. I find the process of a shoot - from idea, to execution, to publication - incredibly inspiring, and there were moments in this book (especially the recount of shooting Mary, Princess of Denmark) that I absolutely ate up. That said, I didn't find the chapters dedicated to parties and events to be particularly captivating - perhaps this is a bit of a cynical view in a time where the documentation and sharing of events is already such a visually ubiquitous force. Intermingled between recounts of falling in love in Paris, changing jobs between Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, and trying to pin down Nicole Kidman, Clements touches on issues of skinny models, building the Vogue Australia brand, and its relevance in the global fashion scene. It is these moments, when Clement's speaks of her experiences as an Australian fashion editor, that I find most unique about this book. By the end, the recounts of events and shoots drag on a little - as if they were picked from a never-ending list of moments that could be made into chapters. This, however, does reinforce the overall tone a gratitude that Clements has in many of her recounts - her constant praise of fellow fashion-eers is humbling, however (as one review I read put it) can make the composition in sum seem like an elongated awards-acceptance speech. Overall The Vogue Factor, which perhaps could have been more aptly titled The Vogue I Knew or My Life In Vogue (as was the title of Clements' 2009 article pictured above), was quite an enjoyable insight into the world of publishing, the challenges of Australia's fashion identity, and the life of a Vogue veteran. 

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit, that whilst I enjoyed parts of this book, I found her tone to be quite...snobby. She seemed to put down up & comers of today and it really rubbed me the wrong way.