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Ex-Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman Throws Serious Shade At Celebrity Editors In Candid Column

Sips tea. 🐸 ☕️

05/10/2017 12:55 BST

Former British Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman has written a critical essay about what it takes to be  a “great” magazine editor and the internet couldn’t help but catch a whiff of shade. 

The piece, published on Business of Fashion on Thursday 4 October, begins with a reminiscence about the good old days under the faithful wing of chairman emeritus of Condé Nast, Si Newhouse Jr. 

Shulman states Newhouse Jr. “deeply cared about and valued the very stuff of magazines”, including “the type on the pages” and “the calibre of the contributors”

She continues: ”[Magazine editing] is certainly not a job for someone who doesn’t wish to put in the hours and thinks that the main part of their job is being photographed in a series of designer clothes with a roster of famous friends.”

David M. Benett via Getty Images
Alexandra Shulman at her Vogue leaving party at Dock Kitchen on June 22, 2017 in London.

Shulman states that British Vogue has instigated a voluntary redundancy programme, which she claims is intended to see the magazine lose 20% of its editorial staff.

In response to this a spokesperson from Condé Nast, the publishers of Vogue, told HuffPost UK that Shulman’s successor Edward Enninful was not responsible for the recent redundancies at the publication.

They said: “Iregard to the staff of British Vogue being offered voluntary redundancy, this is something that was in the pipeline prior to Edward Enninful’s arrival, and follows some restructuring completed with other brands in the company.”

David M. Benett via Getty Images
Adwoa Aboah, Edward Enninful and Irina Shayk attend Edward Enninful's OBE dinner at Mark's Club on 27 October 2016 in London.

In the BoF piece, Shulman shares that the “word on the street” - ie. the curious and/or concerned tongue wagging thats take place at Fashion Weeks - is that “the new guard of editors will be less magazine journalists and more celebrities or fashion personalities with substantial social media followings.” 

Some saw this as underhanded criticism of Enninful’s appointment of celebrities such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Adwoa Aboah as contributing editors.

Some even took it out on Shulman’s actual writing, both in the comment section of the column and on Twitter. 

The article was published just a few weeks after Naomi Campbell shared a screenshot of Vogue’s editorial staff under Shulman, criticising it for its lack of diversity. 

This, too caught the attention of the masses, with some agreeing with Campbell on Instagram.

One follower commented: “Am surprised by the lack of diversity. What on earth were they doing? Is this the same at all Vogue titles?”

At the time, Shulman didn’t respond, but her first column for BoF does address hiring issues, although it avoids the issue of diversity entirely.

“The digital curveball thrown at print is powerful,” Shulman continues. “But that doesn’t mean that magazine brands don’t require editors who actually edit.”

Appreciation for Shulman’s candour was expressed by a number of people, albeit mostly media peers, who seemed to be on board with her critique.

And some even got in on the side-eye action regarding British Vogue’s new senior team. 

Referring to a photo Enninful shared on his Instagram, where he sat FROW with Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss (among other fabulous friends), a journalist offered:

Shulman isn’t the first British Vogue alumni to open up about their worry over the magazine’s new direction

Lucinda Chambers opened the floodgates when she wrote an unreserved piece for Vestoj magazine

She wrote: “There’s too much smoke and mirrors in the industry as it is. And anyway, I didn’t leave. I was fired.”

All eyes are now on Edward Enninful and where he’ll take British Vogue.