LONDON, Aug 2 — Edward Enninful took over as editor of British Vogue yesterday, launching a new Snapchat edition as he seeks to reinvigorate the fashion bible that one ex-staffer warned was losing its relevance.
The 45-year-old former model and stylist is the 101-year-old magazine’s first male, first black and first gay editor, and is known for his political activism, provocative shoots and A-list friends.
He has lost no time in bringing in a new team, including his close friend, model Naomi Campbell, award-winning filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen and Grace Coddington from US Vogue and is also launching a new Snapchat edition
“British Vogue is a great magazine with a legacy of creativity and innovation,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to produce an exciting beautiful magazine for its readers.”
On his first official day in the job, the magazine made its debut on Snapchat’s Discover platform, promising editions on the application three times a week as it seeks to reach out to new audiences.
Many more changes are expected from the new boss, who cuts a sharply different figure from his predecessor, Alexandra Shulman, who edited Vogue for 25 years.
While she is a down-to-earth figure who largely avoided the spotlight, Enninful regularly posts updates on social media of his celebrity lifestyle.
His dog Ru, a Boston terrier named after drag artist RuPaul, has more than 11,000 followers on Instagram.
Jonathan Newhouse, head of Vogue publisher Conde Nast International, described Enninful as “an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist”.
‘Irrelevant for most people’
Several senior staff members have left Vogue since Enninful’s appointment was announced in April.
One newspaper dubbed it a “Posh Girl exodus” that looks set to change the largely white, middle-class and female face of the magazine.
But one of those who was fired, fashion director Lucinda Chambers, has acknowledged the need for change — admitting she had not read the magazine for years.
Saying the clothes featured in fashion shoots were “irrelevant for most people — so ridiculously expensive”, she also warned it had lost its authority.
“In fashion we are always trying to make people buy something they don’t need,” she said in a candid interview with industry publication Vestoj.com.
“We don’t need any more bags, shirts or shoes. So we cajole, bully or encourage people into continue buying.”
‘Revitalise the brand’
Born in Ghana and brought up in west London with five siblings, Enninful was scouted as a model at the age of 16, and began his career as a stylist.
He became the youngest fashion director in the industry when he joined i-D, a British youth culture magazine, at the age of 18.
He later worked at Vogue US and as contributing editor at Vogue Italia, before moving to W magazine as creative and fashion director in New York in 2011.
Enninful has long pushed for greater diversity in fashion, creating a ground-breaking “All Black” issue for Vogue Italia in 2008.
He has styled next year’s Pirelli calendar featuring exclusively black stars including actress Lupita Nyong’o and rapper-turned-businessman Diddy.
Enninful also helped orchestrate a short film in protest against US President Donald Trump’s travel ban, entitled “I am an immigrant” and starring 81 fashion figures.
Enninful was awarded an OBE for services to fashion last year — after which Campbell and Kate Moss threw him a huge party.
“In his attitude towards celebrity and social media, Enninful is something of a bridge between the traditional fashion establishment and the next generation,” the Business of Fashion website wrote in an editorial earlier this year.
But it added: “Enninful’s core skill, however, is in creating powerful and memorable imagery, which will put him in good stead to revitalise the Vogue brand for a new generation of readers — and followers.” — AFP