Conde Nast editorial director and Vogue impresario Anna Wintour didn’t fire Lucinda Chambers herself from British Vogue after 36 years of employment as an editor. But Wintour did nothing to stop new Vogue UK editor Edward Enninful from cleaning house and sacking Chambers without notice.
Now Chambers is getting the last laugh. Her interview with an obscure fashion blog called Vestoj.com has nearly broken the internet today. Chambers has laid it on the line. She writes: “A month and a half ago I was fired from Vogue. It took them three minutes to do it. No one in the building knew it was going to happen. The management and the editor I’ve worked with for twenty-five years had no idea. Nor did HR. Even the chairman told me he didn’t know it was going to happen. No one knew, except the man who did it – the new editor.”
Chambers blames Enninful, who suddenly replaced her long time boss Alexandra Shulman, last April. She very carefully doesn’t mention Wintour, who’s in charge of everything with the word Vogue on it. But Chambers and Wintour are the same approximately and go back the same amount of time at Conde Nast. Wintour wields an unseen hand in all proceedings.
Chambers admits she stopped reading Vogue a long time ago. “Maybe I was too close to it after working there for so long, but I never felt I led a Vogue-y kind of life. The clothes are just irrelevant for most people – so ridiculously expensive. What magazines want today is the latest, the exclusive. It’s a shame that magazines have lost the authority they once had. They’ve stopped being useful. In fashion we are always trying to make people buy something they don’t need. We don’t need any more bags, shirts or shoes. So we cajole, bully or encourage people into continue buying. I know glossy magazines are meant to be aspirational, but why not be both useful and aspirational? That’s the kind of fashion magazine I’d like to see.”
Well, she’ll see it somewhere else. Vogue has never been known for its loyalty to the people who made it great, if it was ever great. It’s nice to see someone speak up, though.
She concludes: “Most people who leave Vogue end up feeling that they’re lesser than, and the fact is that you’re never bigger than the company you work for. But I have a new idea now, and if it comes off maybe I won’t be feeling so vulnerable after all. We’ll have to wait and see.”
PS Let’s not forget the great Grace Coddington. She came off as a hero in the documentary “The September Issue” in which we got see how Wintour treated her. Coddington, a long time vet, was gone soon after.