Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue, a documentary shown on the BBC just last year skipped all the usual Ab Fab clichés and instead portrayed an authentic Conde Nast machine. The one stand out, however, was Lucinda Chambers, Vogue’s Fashion Director. I went along to meet Lucinda last night, and listened as she chatted about her creative process, Vogue’s influence and of course fashion.
Of the BBC documentary, she admitted concerns that she believed it would have been thought ‘boring’. ‘Kate Moss isn’t in the office every day. We’re not swinging from chandeliers’ she says of the six-month filming process. Lucinda is not being disingenuous here, but instead sufficiently honest. From her opening introduction, she emits both passion and a quiet confidence in her craft.
Lucinda began working at Vogue ‘sometime in the 1970s’, turning up to the office in home-made clothes that left a trail of taffeta through the office, grafting her way from the petty cash department to the secretary of its then editor, Beatrix Miller.
She stressed the importance of good old fashioned graft and told stories of selling ‘awful eighties vinyl jewellery’ in Camden Market. Lucinda made it clear the she believes that you don’t have to be particularly good at something, particularly well off or exceptionally beautiful to achieve something important. She even seemed slightly affronted at the suggestion of nepotism in both the modelling profession and the Conde Nast recruitment style.
In an industry where it could be argued that narcissism has become a self-marketing tool, she doesn’t do social media. She cannot be found on Instagram, nor does she hang around outside the shows posing for the street style bloggers although Lucinda maintains that anything that makes fashion more accessible for the masses is a powerful tool.
As she simply puts it, she just ‘wants to tell stories’ and believes that any of her work that makes a Vogue reader think, ‘I can re-create that look’ is a success.
When asked how she maintains her ferocious creative energy her eyes light up as she talks passionately about visiting exhibitions and galleries, seeing obscure Polish films and her weekly visit to London’s Portobello Road market. She suggests we take away the filter, read more, see more and get outside of your comfort zone.
An avid reader, Lucinda says she devours two books a week, soaking up as many novels as she can. She praises both The Week and a small indie magazine, Luncheon, where she found the source of her most recent photographic collaboration.
Lucinda is an un-assuming power house, with obvious drive when looking to the future. She tells us that although her loyalty remains with Vogue, she feels there is a gap in the market for a magazine that ‘doesn’t make anyone feel anxious’…
Thank you to Lucinda and both SmashBox and Sapphire’s model management.