12 August 2009

Happy birthday, Vogue Australia!

This year, Vogue Australia celebrates its fiftieth anniversary.

The first issue of Vogue Australia came out in the (Australian) Spring of 1959, which makes 2009's September issue, starring Cate Blanchett, all the more special.

Somewhat surprisingly, Vogue Australia was the fourth Vogue title launched by the Condé Nast group. It followed Vogue US (established in 1892 and taken up by Condé Nast in 1909), Vogue UK (1916) and Vogue Paris (1920). One assumes the significant gap between Condé Nast's third and fourth Vogue ventures was due to a couple of things, namely the Great Depression and World War II.

(Ph: Graham Shearer)

The choice of Australia as the fourth camp for the venerable Vogue magazine is perhaps an unusual decision considering Australia was then still part of the British Empire and had a population of only ten million. Nonetheless, Vogue Australia stepped up to the challenge - thanks to the enthusiastic, driving force of Condé Nast executive, Bernard Leser - and its staying power is evident in the fact the magazine still exists.

(Ph: Richard Bailey)

Whether you put it down to Australians' resilient, hard-working natures, or merely a series of fortunate events; the fact of the matter is Vogue Australia has gone from strength to strength, despite difficulties, and continues to do so. Therefore, fifty years of the fourth Vogue is definitely something worth celebrating, whilst looking forward to the next fifty.

(Jane Campion by Denis Montalbetti)

And celebrate they did. On 31 July I was lucky enough to assist Vogue photographer Milos Mali as he documented the magazine's celebration of 50 years and the launch of the 50th anniversary issue, which has four covers, each featuring Cate Blanchett as illustrated by David Downton.

(Ph: Max Doyle)

The party was a lot of fun - friends, fashion and free Champagne (what more could one want?) - and Vogue really went all out with the decorations. I spent a lot of the night asking people their name and 'what are you wearing?' [NB: not 'who are you wearing?', which to me is an absurd question!], which got more fun as the night progressed and I got inside out of the (Australian) July air and into the Moët. I picked up a beautiful mint-condition Jil Sander jacket the other day for only $55 so that was my 'who' for the night (not that anyone cared what I was wearing, but any excuse to mention Jil).

(Phs: Patrick Russell)

To celebrate Vogue Australia's 50 year mark, there has been a beautiful book published entitled In Vogue: 50 Years of Australian Style (published by HarperCollins). Edited by Kirstie Clements and Lee Tulloch, the book contains some of the magazine's most beautiful images from the past fifty years, some of which you can see in this post.

(Ph: Norman Parkinson)

Vogue Australia's first editor, Rosemary Cooper, addressed the Vogue reader in her first issue by stating: 'Altogether, Vogue Australia will be planned to help you look lovelier and live better.' In her editor's letter in the September 2009 issue, Kirstie Clements says: 'Vogue stands for fashion, this is true, but the magazine has always been infused with the viewpoints of strong and intelligent women ... I am thrilled to be the editor of Vogue on this important birthday.'

(Ph: Helmut Newton)

Vogue Australia is the first Vogue magazine I ever read, probably back in 2003, and it really started a love affair for me. It is of course cliched, but Vogue really is so much more than a magazine. In a funny way, it really did open up the world to me and, by extension, has taught and given me so much. I truly believe in Vogue. Despite the naysayers, Vogue is always, yet inexplicably, nothing more and nothing less than Vogue.


Blogger Style On Track said...

how great was it to be able to look back at how Vogue has grown :)

13 August, 2009 09:02  
Blogger GracieFrances; said...

happy birthday vogue.

nice blog,

14 August, 2009 09:59  

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