Kate Phelan is global creative director at Topshop, a contributing editor to British Vogue and one of Britain’s most esteemed stylists. At the top of her game Phelan has worked with almost everyone and, along with another Kate, is responsible for crafting a modern British aesthetic, recognised globally.
Having been captivated as a child by British Vogue, Phelan moved to London in 1984 to study fashion communications at Central St Martins. A three-month work placement at Vogue became a fulltime job as a fashion assistant, a role she would stay in for three years, when she left to become senior fashion editor at Marie Claire.
In 1993 Alexandra Shulman, the newly appointed editor of British Vogue, asked Phelan to return to the title, Phelan accepted, she would go on to be co-creative director with Lucinda Chambers for 18 years, leaving to join Topshop in 2012. “I had achieved so many of my dreams but I wanted to know if I could survive without Vogue as it had carried me all my working life. I needed to take the risk."
Phelan successfully transferred her fresh, insouciant take on British dressing, to Topshop, styling and directing the collections and brand imagery. Phelan’s affiliation with the retailer has awarded it a legitimacy in the industry previously unheard of for a mass retailer.
However, a part of Phelan’s heart still belongs to Vogue; it was announced in 2013 that concurrent to her duties at Topshop, Phelan would return to Vogue, in a “part-time, yet significant role.”
She began shooting in May.