26 November 2014

Vogue House Tour: A Touch of Heaven

One thing I couldn't get over was how these four little Dior bags and a Chanel were crumpled on the
floor next to all these shoes j
ust lying there... at foot level... ready and the waiting to be kicked or scuffed.
But who cares right? They're samples. They're just like a rental car...

Today I got to visit the 5th floor. Thats right. The 5th floor of the Vogue house building.
Now believe it or not; our monthly fashion bible is not crafted by 'the fashion God', helped by his fashion cherubs, in a ginormous factory where there are millions of divisions, within which each worker is scrutinizing every square centimeter of Vogue's pages before it's printed.
No; it's just one floor, in a normal office building, with about 70 dashingly well dressed employees, men and women, sat at desks. Who would have known? Now that's not to say that the Vogue office didn't look like heaven; because through my eyes it did. But I think that there are quite a few misconceptions and myths that need to be debunked; or quirky little bits of heavan that maybe media didn't teach us about...

10 Wonderful and Interesting Things I Learned About the British Vogue Headquarters/Office
(Illustrations by me because there was no photography allowed!)

1. No One is Bitchy
Everyone is: kind, gentle, sweet, accommodating, cheerful and as un-bitchy as a person can be. The Devil Wears Prada makes the Vogue office environment look like the scariest office from hell. The reality however is that people are so hard working that there is a professional, concentrated atmosphere. But as soon as you pop that bubble and say hello, the employees all snapped out of their work mode, jump up and cheerfully greeted us. They gave us as much of their time as they could, and when they had to get to work or received a call, politely excused themselves and got back to work.
So nice!

2. Everyone Looks as if they Stepped Out of the Vogue Magazine
Many of the employees at Vogue didn't know 9 of us Condé Nast college girls were coming in, so they weren't dressing up for us: this was how they dressed everyday!

The Advertising Assistant was wearing a beautiful satin 'Patchwork' body hugging dress, glasses, and black stilettos. She looked like Vogue's take on a secretary: cool, quirky but most importantly original. Then there was the Fashion Director who was wearing a beautiful black skirt, but with this beautiful african print blouse: with buttons the size of coasters in thick, shaped, gold.
Even the girl that was wearing jeans: was wearing a Belle Freud sweater with clog like heels that looked like only she could pull off (god knows I couldn't). But it all worked. These girls live and breath the magazine; and my god does it show.

3. The Vogue Closet is NOT as Depicted in 'Sex in the City' or 'The Devil Wears Prada'

No unfortunately the racks are scattered all around the office: organized by each shoot/feature/brand/colour, whichever order the stylist wants really. 
But the main 'Vogue Closet' is situated in a hallway that connects the Features and Fashion departments and looks pretty much like this:

Terrible sketch: but it was a rack that ran down the already squished corridor with (surprisingly) Chanel to H&M amongst it's racks. Who knew?
Ah; more bad news. The beloved 'Shoe Closet'? Doesn't exist either. 
Hats, Handbags, shoes: all get to sit on the pedestal that is;
the overcrowded space on the floor underneath the clothes rack.
One thing I couldn't get over was how these four little Dior bags and a Chanel were crumpled on the floor next to all these shoes. Just at foot level: ready and the waiting to be kicked or scuffed. But who cares right? Their samples. It's like a rental car.

For my peers and I, our experience of walking down that hallway involved us dribbling over the racks of clothes. We came to a blockage in the small hallway when we reached one of the Fashion Features girls choosing clothes for a shoot: she was literally grabbing these fine, expensive clothes and throwing them one the floor. She assembled a earth-tone shirt, skirt, and clogs outfit that was very geometric yet natural.

“What do you girls think we should call this? I mean ‘Native’ is too simple”
We shut up our cooing over the garments and genuinely had a think.
“This could be your big break girls!” said Zoe, our guide.
“Boho?” I said
“Crafty?” Said my friend
“Boho, crafty, I like it. Thanks”
After a little more cooing over shoes this time, we were ushered on.
“You guys will find out which title I finally decided on in the March issue! Thanks for coming!” 
She shouted down the hallway.

Damn. I need to get a job here.

4. Office Designer Ribbon Competition
It seemed to me like on most of the girl's desks in the beauty department: there were ribbons from all sorts of houses tied to their desk lamps or drawer handles. Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Todd's, Dior, the lot!
(There was also a 'Vogue' Nutella jar on a girls desk.. I know where she go that done!)
(You can have your own personalized Nutella Jar at Selfridges, only £3.99!)


4. All the Ladies Go Shopping Just as you Would Expect them to!
So many shopping bags! A huge purple Liberties bag, a small white J Crew bag with a leopard print sheer blouse sat at the bottom, a glaring yellow Selfridges bag! They all had bags worth of shopping sat at their feet. At least they can justify their shopping!!

5. The Beauty Sample Closet is a Thing of Heaven
Above is another illustration of what the Beauty Department looked like: facing desks (absolutely cluttered with beauty goods: one could have guessed) with cupboards surrounding them. On the inside were neatly organized hampers, baskets, and drawers FULL of the latest makeup. There is every kind of gel, goo, or cream you could wish for. Every hairs spray, fake tan, to wrinkle cream. I spotted a Vita Coco (the drink) face moisturizer that hasn't come out yet, Miranda Kerr's new skincare line, and my favorite; the Benefit Majorette Blusher all sat in their respective basket. There was just so much product in these cupboards, god knows how 5 girls try them all!

Get this; the Vogue Beauty Department gets SO many free samples from brands that they often have an in Office Beauty Sample Sale, where everything is priced at £1 and £1 only. (All the money goes to charity)
So from Chanel perfumes to Tom Ford lipsticks, from £250 stem cell rejuvenation cream to £5 maybe line mascara: all of it goes for £1.
Now that's heaven. 

6. Vogue Magazine is being made 4-5 Months in Advance.
When we went to go see the visual dummy (Which is a wall of all of the editorial, features, Vogue crafted pages, without the advertising) they were about to take it down to start the next.
It was the layout for the February Issue of Vogue; practically done and dusted and they were already moving onto the March issue.
The way that the Magazine is made is based on a 4 week rotor: in the first week the advertising department needs to book and allocate the advertisers, in the second week the features department needs to have written their piece and strung together the images, in the third week is the beauty department (and any others) duty to hand in their 'Vogue Spy' beauty pages or their articles, and finally on the last week the fashion department pulls together their work and then the issue is completed and it's on to the next.

7. The Advertisers Have Been in the Same Order in Vogue Magazine for Nearly 100 Years.
The reason you don't notice it is because there is a template for each month that changes.
For example if you were to take all of the December Vogues: the first double page advertising spread would be Chanel.

8. Ladies and Men alike: have been working there for 40 years, or just 3 months.
There is such an age range; so many young girls, so many middle aged women, so many older women, all working together as a team and as equals in this office.

9. Their Intern Looked Really Happy
She wasn't being treated like a slave, or being made to fetch coffee's, or being shouted at.
She was taking two weeks off of university and was working really hard; she barely had time to talk. She had her own desk and a mentor.
Now just let me put those assumptions to the test pretty please...

10. If You want to Work at Vogue... You Can.
The Vogue Office is overflowing with kindness, collaboration, and creativity
If those criteria suit you, and you want to work there, go for it. Nothing is stopping you.
I have confirmed that Vogue is not magical, it's not mythical either, it's a real place with real people, but most importantly it's an office with jobs that ARE attainable.
It is the elite; but if you are willing to work hard to get to a place where you will work hard happy, then go for it!

I hope that was as interesting to learn as it was for me!
Lots of love my sweeties!
-J xxx