The truth about the competitive and cut-throat, yet glamorous and exciting, industry that is magazine publishing in Australia is ‘outed’ in Kirstie Clements’ book, “The Vogue Factor: From Front Desk to Editor”.
Born and raised in the Sutherland Shire, Clements moved out of the “sexist, surfie mentality of the Shire” not long after finishing high school and into “the least conformist suburb in Sydney” Kings Cross. Her break with Vogue occurred at age 23, when she was hired to work on the reception desk. Thereafter, through dedication, hard-work and good-timing, Clements would spend 15 years climbing the ranks of Australia’s most iconic fashion publication and another 10 years as editor until her ‘sacking’ in May 2012.
Despite the brusque manner in which Clements was dismissed from her post, she refrains from launching into a tirade about the unfairness of Vogue management. Rather, her book focuses on her life, her career, the realities of the magazine publishing industry, and her evident passion for pursuing the things she loves.
Clements recounts stories of fashion editorial shoots and events with designers and celebrities that would make any fashionista green with envy. She tells of how she was flown to New York to meet beauty empress Estee Lauder herself; received a personal apology from Elizabeth Taylor; convinced Karl Lagerfeld to edit a guest issue for Vogue; scored an exclusive interview and photoshoot with Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark; unwittingly starred as an extra in Zoolander, and attended a private tour through China with Giorgio Armani.
“At perhaps the best party I have ever attended, I wandered through a mind-bending maze of curiosities in a London warehouse with Gwyneth Paltrow and Kirsten Dunst and then clapped along to Donna Summer and Marc Jacobs singing together on stage.”
She is also open about the difficulties even Vogue staffers have accessing international runway shows and is frank about the challenges of working to budgets and accommodating celebrity and model demands. She shares her insights on the modelling industry and her time as a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model, including the impact participation in the show had on the Vogue brand.
“My role in the show was to be terrifying, in that superior, Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada” way. When you edit Vogue, the general assumption is that you are going to be frightening and superior, so you have to work very hard to prove that you’re not.”
Overall, Clements’ gives an open and honest account of her 25-year career with Vogue. Her book is a must-read for anyone working in, or aspiring to work in, the magazine publishing industry.
“Being a Vogue editor is precarious, as it’s a job everybody desires to have, and most people are convinced they could do better…. I do not put my career down to luck. I was mentored, guided and supported by numerous wonderful colleagues. The motivating force for me was never money, or personal glory of fame – quite the opposite…. It is important that your work has integrity…. I like to hope that career success comes from wanting to do a great job…”
“The Vogue Factor” is published by Victory Books and can be purchased online at Angus & Robertson.