Revered fashion journalist Suzy Menkes was recently appointed International Editor for all non-US Vogue websites and although the choice may seem surprising given her tenure with print, it is in fact a very smart move by Vogue. During her 26 years as Style Editor of The International Herald Tribune, Menkes built an international reputation as the final voice in fashion, a voice that will now take Vogue’s “digital first” approach to new heights – and corners of the globe.
Contributing a weekly global column for 19 Vogue websites may seem like a daunting digital task for a print-based veteran but the 70 year old Menkes couldn’t be more ready to push the fashion e-envelope. Vogue is quiet about the other ways in which Menkes will soon influence digital but one thing is for sure, we will all be listening.
In an interview with The Business of Fashion, Menkes spoke about being relevant, her journey from print to digital and being mentored by Anna Wintour’s father Charles Wintour.
“You have to be relevant. And you have to be relevant, too, in the world of what is going on in media. I felt frustrated, but I [also] felt proud to be linked to a newspaper that is renowned around the world. But at the same time, so much else was going on. Of course I had stuff put up online, but I never got the sense that was the first approach; that the first thing somebody thought when they saw my copy was: ‘Let’s get that up,’ I want to be part of that. This is immediate. People can see me and read me and feel me,” explained the seventy-year-old Menkes who is now an avid user of Instagram. “I didn’t want to have just a blog and retire, effectively. I don’t feel like retiring; I’ve got lots of energy left.”
“When it came to journalism, you know something, I think there’s always a need for somebody who can write well, be efficient, go out and get the stories,” she added. “I think, really, the person who put me on the path was Charles Wintour, Anna Wintour’s father.” Mr Wintour, a highly-respected editor himself, gave Menkes, then only 24, a job as fashion editor of London’s Evening Standard, creating ripples across the industry because of her young age and relative inexperience.
“I do not believe that Vogue is going to rein me in. Jonathan Newhouse said to me right from the get-go that this was not the idea, because obviously, what is the point of hiring Suzy Menkes and getting some dumbed down version? I, also, can’t change myself.”