Culture Buff

In Vogue

21 September 2019

9:00 AM

21 September 2019

9:00 AM

A kangaroo on the beach with a model was the unsubtle cover of Vogue in December 1965. It will be exhibited, with many other images, at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra in Women in Vogue: Celebrating Sixty Years in Australia (opening October 11). I had started at Vogue just a month before that cover as a not particularly humble ‘Director of Finance.’ But on 30 October 1965, something really momentous happened: Jean Shrimpton, as guest of the VRC, attended Derby Day in a white shift with a hem four inches above her knees, wearing no hat, no gloves and no stockings. Instantly, women all over Australia felt unfashionable; the mini-skirt had arrived, everything changed. At Vogue Australia, editor-in-chief Sheila Scotter was not surprised. She had already published pictures from the Spring 1965 collection of André Courrèges, which ushered in the biggest change since Christian Dior’s New Look of 1947. It was a lively time to enter the world of publishing.

Other things were changing too; in January 1966, while that cover was still on sale, Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies announced his retirement after 16 years, leaving the way open for Harold Holt. At Vogue, MD Bernard Leser and Sheila asked me to work on the feasibility of a new lifestyle magazine which became Vogue Living. First published in 1967, one of the earliest issues of Living featured photographs of Zara Holt’s redecoration of the The Lodge in Canberra. The Lodge has never looked better. Times were indeed a-changin’.

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