The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements

A quick rundown… Life at Vogue Australia from the front desk to the editor’s position – with a lot of fashion and glamorous events along the way.

Strengths: If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the parties, the fashion and the almighty dollar behind the luxury industries.

Weaknesses: Not always a linear read, some parts go into more detail than others.

Why I read it: eARC on Net Galley after I read an excerpt in a magazine.

Pages: 206

Published: 2013

Publisher: Melbourne University Press

Setting: Australia, France and many exotic places

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

A memoir of a Vogue editor sounds like a compelling idea for a book. All that glamour, travel, fashion and beauty plus all the gossip behind the scenes of models, designers, the rich and famous… it’s a life that most of us will never live. Kirstie Clements held the coveted position of editor of Vogue Australia, but it was a culmination of hard work, long days, arduous travel and ever-changing boundaries in an increasingly shaky market. Clements managed to outlast a number of editors, CEOs and companies before her own ousting.

I think the main theme I found reading this memoir is tact. Clements is tactful and discreet, even in situations that would have been hurtful (such as being sacked). She doesn’t share names or spell out who in the industry is horrible. As she states many times, there is an element to Vogue which is to uphold increasingly forgotten values (such as good manners). Nor is this memoir gushing or boastful (although a trip overseas with Giorgio Armani is again something the average person will never experience).

Clements details many fashion shows, PR events, press trips, conferences and lavish functions. They are stated simply – no overload of detail or gushing of the expense, even though some of these events must have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars! She doesn’t go overboard either – not every season of every location’s fashion week is mentioned. There’s just enough to keep you interested and reading.

Although Clements does go into a small amount of detail about her husband and children, the focus is obviously Vogue. There are a lot of mentions of colleagues (some familiar to me, some before my time) and what they ended up doing after they left (usually, they were sacked for ‘changes in direction’). It can be a little difficult to keep tracking of who was doing what, but that was a minor point. Occasionally the timeline jumped around a bit, but it was for the most linear. Sometimes I would have liked more detail on particular events, but for the most it was an enjoyable read. Clements writes well and doesn’t let emotion cloud her perspective. I could have done with less on how social media and the internet are decimating the magazine industry, but it is a valid point that needs to be discussed.

A must for those who consider themselves Vogue.

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