“It took them three minutes to do it,” Ms. Chambers said in the interview. “No one in the building knew it was going to happen. The management and the editor I’ve worked with for 25 years had no idea. Nor did H.R. Even the chairman told me he didn’t know it was going to happen. No one knew, except the man who did it — the new editor.”
After conceding that the fashion industry could “chew you up and spit you out,” Ms. Chambers went on to criticize some of the “crap” magazine cover shoots that she had produced (saying the blame lay in part with Vogue’s allegiances to major advertisers), and the mismanagement of the fashion brand Marni, where she had once worked. She also suggested that Vogue had become an increasingly uninspiring read.
“Truth be told, I haven’t read Vogue in years,” she said. “Maybe I was too close to it after working there for so long, but I never felt I led a Vogue-y kind of life. The clothes are just irrelevant for most people — so ridiculously expensive.”
“What magazines want today is the latest, the exclusive,” she continued. “It’s a shame that magazines have lost the authority they once had. They’ve stopped being useful. In fashion, we are always trying to make people buy something they don’t need. We don’t need any more bags, shirts or shoes. So we cajole, bully or encourage people” into buying.
Many industry power players in Paris were tight-lipped after the article was published, including Mr. Enninful, who said he had “no comment” about the interview as he sat in the front row of the Chanel show on Tuesday. An hour later, Condé Nast, the publisher that own the Vogue titles, released a short statement that contradicted Ms. Chambers’ account of the end of her employment there.
“It’s usual for an incoming editor to make some changes to the team,” the statement said. “Any changes made are done with the full knowledge of senior management.”
Dozens of readers, meanwhile, were quick to praise Ms. Chambers’s candor. Her profile outside the sector increased after her star turn last year in “Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue,” a BBC documentary in which she won legions of fans thanks to her upfront approach, artistic vision and eccentric yet elegant fashion sense.
Julie Zerbo, of the website the Fashion Law, looked beyond the reader reaction and to the possible legal fallout, wondering on Twitter if Ms. Chambers might be sued:
And then at lunchtime on Tuesday, the tale took a further twist when the article reappeared online.
“Due to the sensitive nature of this article, we took the decision to temporarily remove it from the site, but have now republished it in its entirety,” Ms. Aronowsky Cronberg explained in an email to The New York Times.
“In terms of the reasons why it was removed, they are directly related to the industry pressures which Lucinda discusses in her interview,” she continued. “As you know, fashion magazines are rarely independent because their existence depends on relationships with powerful institutions and individuals, whether it’s for tickets to shows, access in order to conduct interviews or advertising revenue.”
“We created Vestoj to be an antidote to these pressures, but we are not always immune,” Ms. Aronowsky Cronberg added. “We hope Lucinda’s republished interview will spark a discussion which might, in her words, lead to a more ‘empowering and useful’ fashion media.”
Ms. Chambers could not be reached for comment.