It must have been around 1998 when I first walked through the doors of Vogue House. I was beginning to contribute to Vogue Italia as a fashion editor and so had been granted a very special treat: access to the archive in the basement at 1 Hanover Square. I was mesmerised and visited many times, devouring edition after edition. That was an education in itself, of course, but as I look back today I can also see what a huge influence those historic editorials and punchy advertisements had on me and my work. It was like the gateway to a dream.
As was the building. Swinging through those revolving doors, past John on reception – still with us, after all these years – you felt immediately as if you had arrived at the beating heart of fashion history. Almost 20 or so years later, I would find myself coming through those doors again, on my first day as British Vogue’s new editor-in-chief – a little apprehensive, a little overwhelmed by so much legacy, but full of hope and ideas, and in the mood for change.
Now, after 65 years in this corner of Mayfair, Vogue is moving home. In 2024, along with our Condé Nast stablemates, the team is heading to The Adelphi on the Thames Embankment where the next chapters in its history will unfold. Bittersweet? Of course. But every cloud, as they say. You better believe we took the opportunity to throw the ultimate house party on our way out.
In Goodbye, Vogue House, running across 26 pages of the issue, we invite you to join the great and the good from Vogue’s past, present and future. Photographed by the ever charming Sean Thomas over the course of summer and early autumn, visitor after visitor came by to pay their respects and say farewell in style.
When we gathered Vogue’s editorial team outside the building for a staff photo, I must confess to feeling a little emotional. These are my final months here at British Vogue, before I move to a new global role within the company after next March’s issue, so naturally I was full of pride for the team’s work. But another thought sat front and centre in my mind: I was proud of who the team were too.
I don’t by any means pretend that everything is perfect now, that every problem is solved, that every fight is won, as indeed they are not in most workspaces yet. But as we sat together for the camera it felt good to be able to look around at my brilliant team and clock a moment of tangible progress. Their mix of perspectives, backgrounds, ages, experience and energy has made Vogue what it has become, during what I hope has been an exciting chapter in its history. Perhaps more than anything, that has been the highest honour: to have been able to throw the doors of this very special house open.
Elsewhere in the issue, huge personalities also abound. The indefatigable Angelina Jolie talks us through an exciting new project, in which the Oscar-winner, filmmaker and humanitarian has turned fashion start-up founder. With Atelier Jolie, Angelina is weaving her ethical spirit and much-admired sense of style together to create a sustainability-focused series of collections. Of course, this is Angelina, so her children are involved too. Atelier Jolie has begun proceedings by teaming up with designer Gabriela Hearst and I’m excited to see where the next iterations take it.
The November 2023 issue of British Vogue is on newsstands from Tuesday 24 October