LONDON, United Kingdom — Yesterday, Condé Nast International announced that Alexandra Shulman was stepping down from her role as editor-in-chief of British Vogue after 25 years on the job. Such changes of the guard are rare. And yet Shulman's departure comes as a new generation of editors take the helm at several international editions of Vogue.
This month alone, Eugenia de la Torriente was made the new editor-in-chief of Vogue Spain, while Emanuele Farneti succeeded the late Franca Sozzani as editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia. Meanwhile, the promotion of Daniela Falcão to managing director of Edições Globo Condé Nast saw Silvia Rogar succeed her as Vogue Brazil’s editor-in-chief. In June last year, Karla Martinez was appointed editor-in-chief of Vogue’s Mexico and Latin America editions and, in July, Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz was named the launch editor of Vogue Arabia.
Importantly, this latest cycle of generational change comes at time of major technological disruption for the business of magazines, as online readership rises and print sales decline with serious consequences for advertising revenues. Indeed, once healthy print advertising ad revenues have been diluted by new marketing opportunities in social media and celebrity endorsement. Meanwhile, e-commerce sites, with their increasingly curated offerings and editorial agendas of their own, are replacing fashion glossies as a more direct source of shopping inspiration.
But when it comes to Vogue, editors are often much more than just chiefs of their respective titles. Indeed, a Vogue editor can often be a spokesperson for the fashion industry at large, as well as an ambassador for his or her own magazine. And, coming in rapid succession, the changing of the guard at the helm at several international editions of Vogue presents Condé Nast with a unique opportunity to reboot its approach to content, platform and monetisation to better suit today's media reality — and push the entire industry forward in the process.
In the UK, speculation about Shulman’s successor is already rife, with Katie Grand, Penny Martin and Jo Ellison among the mooted names. And while Shulman was able to maintain a steady print circulation of around 200,000 in a shrinking market, a new social media-savvy editor-in-chief could help accelerate British Vogue's evolution for a digital world.