Book Review: The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements
(Started: March 13, 2013; Finished: March 14, 2013)

In May 2012 Kirstie Clements was unceremoniously sacked after thirteen years in the editor's chair at Vogue Australia. Here she tells the story behind the headlines, and takes us behind the scenes of a fast-changing industry.During a career at Vogue that spanned twenty-five years, Clements rubbed shoulders with Karl Lagerfeld, Kylie Minogue, Ian Thorpe, Crown Princess Mary, Cate Blanchett, and many more shining stars. From her humble beginnings growing up in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney to her brilliant career as a passionate and fierce custodian of the world's most famous luxury magazine brand, Clements warmly invites us into her Vogue world, a universe that brims with dazzling celebrities, fabulous lunches, exotic locales and of course, outrageous fashion.Amidst the exhilaration and chaos of modern magazine publishing and the frenzied demands of her job, Clements is always steadfast in her dedication to quality. Above all, she is always Vogue. (From Goodreads)
Review: 4 stars
Released on: March 01, 2013
Source: Melbourne University Publishing through Netgalley
It has always been a dream of mine to work in the fashion industry, specifically on the events, styling, and of course, writing. As I saw this on Netgalley, I couldn't just pass up the chance and requested for it immediately. Luckily, I was approved! The book is screaming VOGUE. Well, of course it was! It is on the title but it was more than that. A girl would know exactly what it is all about the moment she heard that particular word. It was like programmed in our being as women to immediately know its meaning. Aside from Madonna's infamous song, Vogue is a fashion magazine that exudes luxury and class. It brings sartorial intelligence to another level making it one of the magazines on a pedestal. The word itself means archaic--the leading place in popularity or acceptance--making it the standard of every fashion magazine publishers out there. Hence, the story revolves to.

Reading the book was entertaining and at the same time, a learning experience. The blow by blow insider scoop of Kirstie Clements on how working in an excruciatingly delightful industry was not always grandeur and heaven as we outsiders think it is. But it was bittersweet in essence. The narration was full of wit and it was quite thrilling because you would envy the author for all the people she'd met, the places she had been to, and all the experience she was able to garner from the years of hard work at Vogue Australia. It made me appreciate magazines even more because not only was it printed in glossy pages with beautiful pictures on it, but it was also the result of the combined efforts of talented and creative people with stories to tell. It was not an easy task, believe me. After reading it, I felt that I have a lot of grains to eat before even venturing out to our local zines. It was quite true when she said that everyone has a say on things and would take her job anytime and whatever it takes because they want to. They think they can but not all of them can make it out alive. It was like Hunger Games in Prada and stilettos. That's how brutal the industry was and only those have balls can make it. Like Heidi Klum always say, "In fashion, one day you're in. The next day you're out."

As I read the introduction, the first judgment about the book and the author might be that it is just a bitter way of redeeming herself after getting sacked. But it was the total opposite. Aside from Kirstie's journey in her career--from the suburbs to being the editor-at-large of a high fashion magazine--and personal life, it also tells us a tale of how Vogue Australia started, and about the people who created it and made it to what it is now. I would have expect her to talk mainly about herself and her contributions but I commend her for remaining humble, and still putting the honor and praises about Vogue to her mentors and colleagues. She wouldn't take credit for everything even if she can. Her success was also the success of Vogue Australia and all the people, past or present, behind it. I love how Clements values the magazine's backbone and would like to impart the history through this book for all of us to know, learn and experience as well. It was refreshing to know how it all began. She was so full of life, energy and dedication to only think of what's best for the magazine and its readers. And through all those years she served, Kirstie was able to deliver. My favorite parts were whenever she would describe her musings and as we call it today, fan-girling experiences because these prove that she was just normal and also a mortal like us, too, despite the job description. Admit it, we always associate fashion editors with Miranda Priestly of The Devil Wears Prada. My favorite chapter was A Princess Diary wherein she was able to be a witness of a magical event that every girl dreams to be in. Well, I do. Oh how lucky of her.

I also admire the author on how she handled that crucial turning point in her career--when she got fired. Typical person would not take this lightly and accept defeat after investing his/her life greatly in his/her work. He/she might blatantly demand for an explanation and get bitter towards the end. But Kirstie walked towards the exit with class and accepted the change it symbolizes on both Vogue Australia and with her life.

I recommend this to all those who are in the industry or having plans to work in it and to all those who just love fashion as much as I do.

Sound snippet:
Vogue by Madonna
Come on, vogue
Let your body move to the music (move to the music)
Hey, hey, hey
Come on, vogue
Let your body go with the flow (go with the flow)
You know you can do it

For the quotes I got from the book, please visit my Tumblr:

Happy Reading Everyone!

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