GRAND DESIGNS: Who will succeed Alexandra Shulman as editor in chief of British Vogue?
The job listing will be posted within days on the Condé Nast Britain Careers Page, and although no decisions have been made, industry and media sources say bosses have had a top candidate in mind for a while: Katie Grand.
Grand is the editor of Love, the edgy, biannual fashion title that Condé Nast Britain launched in 2009 — and it couldn’t be more different from Shulman’s Vogue.
It’s a populist title — a naked Beth Ditto featured on the cover of the launch issue, while Kendall Jenner is a frequent collaborator. The latter wore a shark’s outfit for one of Love’s annual digital Advent calendars, while Cara Delevingne later appeared dressed as a turkey.
Grand launched Love with Condé after editing Pop. She started styling while still studying at Central Saint Martins in London, and in the Nineties worked alongside Rankin at the newly launched Dazed & Confused magazine, and later moved to The Face.
Commercial savvy and online audience engagement — two must-have qualities for any incoming British Vogue editor — both run in her blood.
The same Advent calendar that featured the models in shark and turkey costumes was sponsored by luxury jeweler Boucheron, while the launch issue of Love had a retail component, with limited-edition clothing and accessories from brands including Burberry, Chloé, Gap, House of Holland, Loewe and Stella McCartney.
As Condé — on both sides of the Atlantic — looks to transition from print to digital, and push out fashion and luxury merch via Style.com, those talents will be needed more than ever.
Earlier this month Condé Nast International named Jamie Jouning, the publisher of British Glamour, to the newly created executive position of Vogue digital director. He will oversee the publications’ digital business in 21 countries excluding America.
Grand also has a fruitful career as a fashion stylist, working with brands and designers including Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Miu Miu and Giles Deacon, and collaborated with Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele on his first exhibition for Gucci, “No Longer/Not Yet” at Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai in 2015.
That could be the one major sticking point with the British Vogue job.
Condé famously frowns on outside, commercial freelance work, and especially by the editor of such a high-profile title. The question remains whether Grand would even want to relinquish her lucrative fashion gigs for the Vogue one.
Many industry insiders said she’d be the right choice.
“She comes from within the organization, which has a specific way of working, and Love is an exciting proposition that generates lots of advertising. She bridges the dialog between advertiser and editorial, and she knows how to create digital content that generates views on the site all year round. She constantly comes up with solutions to keep readers engaged,” said a London-based media source.
Grand did not return phone calls at press time.
Nothing has been decided, and sources said Condé is looking forward to taking applications. Shulman handed in her resignation before Christmas, and plans to leave the title in June after having steered Vogue through its 100th anniversary year in 2016.
Others likely in the running for Shulman’s job include British Vogue’s deputy editor Emily Sheffield; Lucy Yeomans, editor in chief of Porter magazine, which belongs to Yoox Net-a-porter Group, and Lisa Armstrong, fashion director of The Daily Telegraph, who continues to freelance for British Vogue and other titles.
The changes at Condé have been raining down since the start of the year, with more expected this week from the U.S. division. Earlier this year, Nicholas Coleridge announced he was stepping down as president of Condé Nast International and managing director of Condé Nast Britain. He will serve as chairman of Condé Nast Britain until at least 2019.
As reported, Condé Nast has named Wolfgang Blau and Albert Read as president of Condé Nast International and managing director of Condé Nast Britain, respectively. They will succeed Coleridge on July 31.