Monday, 29 April 2013

Vogue Festival 2013

This year's festival was almost like an upgrade of its successful first version, set in a premium location with a much larger audience and a wide range of key speakers from the fashion industry. This is a great opportunity to judge for ourselves people whom we can only perceive through the eyes of the media.

Natalie Massenet, Vogue Festival 2013
Natalie Massenet, Vogue Festival 2013 (photo:

From the impact of street style blogs on the fashion industry to the secrets behind the success of a magazine cover shoot, many aspects were discussed and thought of by those who made it to the top. How to get there continues to be the main question in most people's minds. 

One of the most influential speakers was definitely Natalie Massenet, founder of and chairman of the British Fashion Council. She anticipated the evolution of e-commerce into retail in 1999 and after eleven years sold her business to the luxury-brand Richemont group for £350 million, while remaining its executive chairman. 

Festival Highlights: Day One, British Vogue on YouTube

Her meteoric rise enables her to speak with authority about success but Massenet says there is no fixed recipe apart from being unique and to follow our instincts. In fact, each person has their own path and some manage to get there others don't, but what is the definition of success? 

Let's look at two examples of the British fashion industry, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Both made it to the top, their talent was revered and their bank accounts had robust figures. But can fortune and glory define success? McQueen ended up killing himself and if you watch Galliano speaking after his amazing first show and watch him years later at the end of a catwalk, the difference is obvious.

Festival Highlights: Day Two, British Vogue on YouTube

Without wanting to get into the scandal that propelled his exit from Christian Dior, even though his talent is undeniable in both periods, the joyful young man of the beginning of his career was no longer there. Fortune and glory are not necessarily bad, Massenet looks ravishing and professionally fulfilled, but they are not reliable sources of happiness and do not define success. 

It's important to strive to do what we love but how we affect other people's lives can also be incredibly rewarding. An enthusiastic debate with Vivienne Westwood, Livia Firth, Katharine Hamnett and photographer Tom Craig left no doubts about how fashion can actually change the world. 

Vogue Festival 2013

This is the way forward, a conscientious approach to both production and consumption. If success continues to be measured in figures, it's impossible to let light into the dark corners of the fashion industry and 'accidents' such as the one in Bangladesh this weekend can become inevitable.  

Vogue's Festival was also brighter with other stars of the fashion industry such as Donatella Versace, Victoria Beckham, Mario Testino and the fabulous Alber Elbaz, Lanvin's creative director. Looking forward to next year's edition!

For more information visit British Vogue.

Other related blog posts:
Tom Ford at Vogue Festival
Fashion Blogging Debate
Testino's Private View