Inside Vogue: A Diary of My 100th Year by Alexandra Shulman

‘Arrange to meet Kate Moss for coffee at 3. She eventually turns up five days later. I tell her I had nothing better to do than wait’

September 2015

To begin this momentous year I meet Stella McCartney for coffee in Notting Hill. She’s very worried that the Chinese are taking all the places at the best private schools. Briefly consider whether I should put a Chinese model on the front cover of January’s issue, then decide against it. I then go home to try to fix the boiler. Get to the office where I have an exhausting morning trying to choose some pictures and working out the seating plan for a gala dinner.

October 2015

Meet Richard Macer who is making a documentary about Vogue’s centenary year. Not quite sure why I agreed to this and make a mental note to be as unhelpful as possible. I get him to waste his first two weeks filming inside GQ before he realises his mistake. Good. Go to meet Victoria Beckham who is eating half a carrot for lunch. She tells me John Kerry is keen to get her involved with the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Her next collection is to be entitled “Refugee Chic” with 1% of the profits going towards supermodels trapped inside Aleppo.

November 2015

My first meeting with the Duchess of Cambridge who is to be cover model for the centenary issue. She is much taller than I expected and far more helpful. Josh the photographer has some amazing ideas for the shoot. “How about we build a huge mansion in Kensington Gardens and I snap you on the doorstep?” he says. I point out there already is a large mansion in Kensington Gardens. “That’s totes amazing,” he says. “I never knew that.” I think the shoot is going to be a big success so long as no one finds out what we are planning. I go home to try and fix the boiler again.

December 2015
Fly to Milan for the Dolce & Gabbana fashion show. The plane does not crash. The show is truly groundbreaking as it is featuring winter clothes when all the other designers are showcasing summer clothes. Fashion is truly on the verge of a major revolution. Arrange to meet Kate Moss for coffee at 3. She eventually turns up five days later. Time-keeping is not her strong point. I tell her not to worry as I hadn’t had anything better to do than keep my entire life on hold while she did whatever it was she was doing. I ask her if she will do a Rolling Stones cover shoot sometime next year. She says she will think about it and then falls over.

January 2016
I wake up to find out that David Bowie has died. Audrey, my yoga teacher, tells me it is because Mercury is in retrograde. If only she had told David that he would have taken more care not to get cancer. Fly to Paris with Richard the idiot film-maker to meet Karl Lagerfeld. “You look great,” I tell Karl. I genuinely don’t know why more 80 year olds don’t wear dark glasses indoors and tie their hair back in a pony tail. My good friend Geordie Greig, the editor of the Mail on Sunday, says he can’t wait to see the new Vogue exhibition and promises to give it a big plug. He sends Liz Jones, who writes 2,000 words about how undermined she felt about there not being a photograph of herself.

February 2016
Get to stitch up Anna Wintour by sneakily running my Rihanna cover ahead of hers. I’m sure she won’t mind as Condé Nast is one big happy family. Check through the spreadsheets and am saddened to see how little some of my staff earn. Cheer myself up by commissioning a £50,000 shoot with Mario and Kate to which Kate doesn’t bother to turn up. Am beginning to feel a bit guilty about fooling Richard and my team about the Duchess of Cambridge cover. Phone Naomi Campbell to ask if she knows of a good plumber as my boiler is still playing up.

March 2016
Try to get David Beckham to do a shoot. He says yes. Then he says no. Then he says yes. Then he says no again. This goes on all month. I have a cold and am exhausted.

April 2016

Inside Vogue: A Diary Of My 100th Year (Fig Tree, £16.99)
Inside Vogue: A Diary Of My 100th Year (Fig Tree, £16.99) Photograph: Fig Tree Publishing

Fly to Paris for new Armani collection. “It’s called Black Velvet,” he whispers to me. “Why?” I ask. “Because everything is made out of black velvet,” he replies. I tell him he’s a genius. Plans for the gala festival are all in the air as Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston can’t remember if they are supposed to be going out with one another or not. At least Kim Kardashian is coming. Maybe she knows someone who can fix my boiler.

May 2016
Everyone loves my Duchess of Cambridge cover, though I get a bit annoyed when I see someone looking at it in the hairdressers for free. Richard tells me that he isn’t actually making the documentary he said he was. I am furious. How dare he work behind my back? To cap it all, my boiler is still leaking.

June 2016
A great night at the Vogue gala which even David Bailey couldn’t ruin. Philip Green says he can’t leave his yacht right now. I know none of his employees will have a pension but I can’t help loving him. All the Poles have left London as a result of Brexit. Now my boiler will never get mended.

Digested read, digested: Fashion at boiling point.


John Crace

The GuardianTramp

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