‘Fashion can chew you up and spit you out’: Fired Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers reveals all in candid interview

Fired Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers speaks of life at the fashion bible

Vogue UK fashion director Lucinda Chambers who departed the magazine in May has reportedly revealed to fashion journal Vestoj that she was fired by the title's new editor Edward Enninful without warning, and is said to have called the title "irrelevant" while describing the advertiser-ruled inner workings of the title.

Chambers had been at the magazine for 36 years before she claims she was dismissed “within three minutes” by new editor Edward Enninful in May, according to an interview published by Vestoj.

According to the interview, no one else in the company, including the management and HR, as well as former editor of 25 years Alexandra Shulman, were aware Chambers was going to be dismissed.

"Fashion can chew you up and spit you out," she reportedly told Vestoj founder and editor-in-chief, Anja Aronowsky Cronberg.

Venetia Scott, stylist and fashion photographer, replaces Chambers as fashion director next Monday (10 July) - Enninful’s first hire ahead of his official start date in August.

Vogue released a statement to The Drum responding to the publication of the interview: "It's usual for an incoming editor to make some changes to the team. Any changes made are done with the full knowledge of senior management."

On 5 July Conde Nasté, publisher of Vogue, contacted publishers reporting the story to state: "Ms Chambers' claims are wholly incorrect. The decision to terminate Ms Chambers' employment was made with the full knowledge of all relevant people at Condé Nast."

In the wide-ranging interview, Chambers is said to have also spoken of the “irrelevance” of Vogue and the glossy magazines of today which often put exclusivity before value to readers.

"Truth be told, I haven’t read Vogue in years," she said.

"The clothes are just irrelevant for most people—so ridiculously expensive. What magazines want today is the latest, the exclusive. It’s a shame that magazines have lost the authority they once had. They’ve stopped being useful. In fashion we are always trying to make people buy something they don’t need. We don’t need any more bags, shirts or shoes. So we cajole, bully or encourage people into continue buying."

"I know glossy magazines are meant to be aspirational, but why not be both useful and aspirational? That’s the kind of fashion magazine I’d like to see," she added.

Chambers also revealed that the fashion bible has bowed down to advertiser pressure before, citing a "crappy" shoot with Alexa Chung in a "stupid Michael Kors T-shirt" that appeared as the June cover of the magazine.

"He’s a big advertiser so I knew why I had to do it. I knew it was cheesy when I was doing it, and I did it anyway," she said.

"You’re not allowed to fail in fashion – especially in this age of social media, when everything is about leading a successful, amazing life. Nobody today is allowed to fail, instead the prospect causes anxiety and terror," she added.

Jessica Goodfellow

The Drum's media reporter covering everything from publishing, TV, social media, radio and technology.

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