Wellbeing of Women is a charity dedicated to improving the health of women and babies, to making a difference to everybody’s lives today and tomorrow. It was a wonderful event in the fabulous surroundings of Fortnum & Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon on Tuesday February 7. We were treated to a champagne reception followed by a special three-course lunch prepared by Fortnum’s award-winning chefs. Alexandra Shulman OBE, in conversation with Eve Pollard OBE, gave her honest account of what it’s like to helm one of the world’s most influential magazines. It was also tied in with the launch of her new book: Inside Vogue: A Diary of My 100th Year – detailing the highs and lows of preparing for a landmark anniversary. Alexandra offered a frank account of her role, which she’s held since 1992, and didn’t gloss over the year’s more challenging episodes.
* How she kept the Duchess of Cambridge’s cover shoot a secret from not only the world, but also her family and team.
* The Herculean task of bringing together the world’s most glamorous fashionistas and celebrity faces for the 2016 Vogue Festival and Vogue 100 Gala Dinner.
* The reality of attending a marathon of fashion week shows and her honest assessment of the world of fashion today.
All this while being trailed by a TV documentary crew, whose murky motives caused a running tension.
Essentially, this is not merely the portrait of an editor – but of the woman behind the title. Alexandra offered real insight into how the professional stresses of such a high-powered job impacted her domestic life and led to many sleepless nights.
Here’s what Alexandra Shulman said about SELF-CARE an finding BALANCE in a pressured, high-tension, emotionally and I’d imagine also physically demanding world of the fashion industry. The long hours, travelling, events, hosting, launches – all these things are demanding and can take their toll.
ON DECIDING WHAT TO WEAR
Of course, we all wanted to know how the editor of Vogue, the famed and fabulous Alexandra Shulman, decides what to wear! I’m sure that every woman was sent into wardrobe meltdown at the thought of attending the event. Well, I certainly was.
She simply suggested to “wear what you feel comfortable in and be governed by your diary”. Base what you choose to wear on the things you have to do that day! Simple, yet such a remarkable and effective statement. I think often people get caught up in the latest trends and all that – and there’s no real reason for it.
ON MAKING TIME FOR FRIENDS
She talked about the importance of having time for your girlfriends and making time to develop old and new friendships. She also loves playing tennis – something we both have in common – and she likes cooking. Although, she did say that it’s not the cooking aspect that she likes, but rather, the feeling of eating at home. She always cooked meals and stated that “food is a way of demonstrating everydayness”. She also loves gardening.
ON FINDING BALANCE
I really loved how she described finding a balance – it really resonated with me. She says, “Anybody who works really hard must have another life and escape from one to another.” She described things like playing tennis, gardening and cooking as forms of escapism. She also stated that when she leaves work, she switches off and focuses on her family. That’s so important. It’s something I’ve learnt to do now NOW, and is something I initiated struggled with at the start of my career.
So there you have it. I had a wonderful time, Alexandra Shulman was delightful and is a truly inspirational and savvy business woman. I hope that’s inspired you on how to create balance and still be productive and highly successful. If she can do it, then you certainly CAN! Stay tuned for the next installment of this series!