Weekly Chats: Alexandra Shulman with Bella Pollen

For this week’s Weekly Chats we are joined by two incredibly talented & stylish women, Alexandra Shulman & Bella Pollen. Alexandra Shulman is a journalist, consultant and commentator. She was Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue from 1992–2017, the magazine’s longest serving editor. Bella Pollen is a writer and journalist who has contributed to a wide variety of publications on both side of the Atlantic from Vogue and Bazaar to The Financial Times and the Economist.

In this episode, Alexandra & Bella talk all things about dressing seriously well, with Alexandra’s new book ‘Clothes… And Other Things That Matter’. An ode to fashion’s history & history-makers, as well as the deep connection & sense of self we feel with our favourite garments.

This is a conversation between two women who understand & appreciate fashion for it’s generational influence, power & unwavering creativity. Consider this your crash course in fashion. Enjoy this episode of Weekly Chats it is a perfect respite from the uncertain times we are faced with today.

  • Alexandra Shulman on items of clothing that are important to her.
  • Alexandra on writing her new book: Clothes … And Other Things That Matter
  • The Structure of ‘Clothes… And Other Things That Matter: Structured like a desert island disc of Alexandra’s favourite items of clothing. Short, snappy chapters that are perfectly bite sized for lockdown reading.Starting with school shoes, ending with a piece of jewellery she was gifted at her time at Vogue.
  • The complicated relationship we have with our clothes, our bodies & our lives.
  • Alexandra on why clothes are so powerful. Whether it’s telling other people about yourself, as costume or as a complete visual description of the inside out.
  • Why clothing is very much a human instinct.
  • How different eras are reflective of different social attitudes. Fancy dress versus power dressing in past times of fashion.
  • The now writer, Bella Pollen on being a dress designer in the 1980’s.
  • The benefit of living in today’s era when you are able to dress yourself according to how you feel & identify with, rather than in the past when it was seen as ‘fancy dress’.
  • “The message clothes give was just as important as to how it is now.”
  • Alexandra on entering the very female world in Vogue, but not necessarily having to answer to the patriarchy at work with male bosses. “I never felt as though I had to battle against men to get what I wanted.”
  • Alexandra on her boss being her friend’s old lover & the somewhat funny coincidences that ensued.
  • Growing up & Alexandra’s desire to be nothing like her mother as a young woman, but the moment she realised her life had become exactly the same.
  • The age old cliche: who do we dress for, is it men, other women, or ourselves?
  • What happens when your boyfriend/ husband doesn’t like your clothes. Alexandra in an ‘oatmeal sack dress’ & Bella in her dungarees: women who should be able to wear what they want & so should men.
  • Alexandra on reliving the Vogue issues from her time at the magazine. “Sometimes I’m just gobsmacked on how good an issue is. And sometimes I’m appalled that an issue ever saw the light of day.”
  • Alexandra’s & Bella’s experience as being writers & journalists. “I’ve been in quarantine for 40 years already!”.
  • Bella & Alexandra on the perfect pandemic piece of clothing: Aprons.
Buy Clothes… And Other Things That Matter from your local Bookseller:

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