I bought my first Vogue at the age of seven. I lugged it home, close to my chest, like a cultural flak jacket against my family, who I had realized early on were more focused on ball bearings, battles and my mother’s sourdough cheese biscuits. I think the storyworld of Vogue was incredibly influential to me in my experience of the world growing up and germinated core story themes that stay with me to this day. It wasn’t the fashion so much as the design that I found liberating and deeply satisfying to devour as I flipped the slim, slick pages sitting in my back yard in the shade looking at the advertising and editorial shoots. I never differentiated as one page being ‘better’ then another; they were simply colours and shapes and textures that I either liked or in very few cases, did not like. And despite what some may say, the essay articles in Vogue were incredibly well-written and opened up my young mind to a world beyond my small neighourhood and cloistered Catholic parish and community.
I remember looking at a risqué shoot by the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe once and being so transfixed that I didn’t hear my mother come up behind me. She snapped: ‘What is that?’ and I clutched the magazine in my hands and ran inside. I was so terrified she might take this precious world from me, I am quite sure I would have kept on running should she have pursued me.
The storyworld’s of our youth stay with us. They imprint, in ways both mysterious and obvious, a sort of lifelong spine of a story we can take comfort in as adults. For me, the fashion industry is doing interesting work in photography, motion, design, and converging art with technology and creativity in a way that is ever-compelling and continues to draw me into a bewitching storyworld of design, elegance, intellect, and beauty.
Below is an interesting exploration of the Vogue storyworld with one of its great editors, Alexander Shulman: