British Vogue’s confirmation of Edward Enninful as successor to Alexandra Shulman as editor of the influential fashion Bible has sent ripples of surprise across the fashion world and Ladbroke Grove in west London where he grew up in the same Notting Hill neighbourhood as another notable British menswear designer Ozwald Boateng.
Enninful’s appointment is unprecedented as a female has always held the post since Elspeth Champcommunal became the first editor in 1916 and after her nine women including Anna Wintour have occupied the influential position. Ghanaian-born Enninful has fashion running in his blood becoming the youngest fashion director of style magazine i-D magazine at just 18.
He also seems to have worked with everyone who is who under the fashion firmament. From late Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani to Wintour at American Vogue before his present stint as fashion and style director at W magazine. He also seems to have leapfroged Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter who had been hotly tipped for the job. Shulman’s deputy editor and Samantha Cameron’s sister Emily Sheffield was also in the running. Even Shulman can’t wait to see where Enninful will take the 100-year-old publication. The early clues could come from his close connection with celebrities, models and prominent entertainment figures.
Confirming the news, Condé Nast International chairman and chief executive Jonathan Newhouse lauded Enninful as “an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist”, adding that “by virtue of his talent and experience, Edward is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue“.
Shulman commented on her successor: “Edward is an exceptionally talented stylist who will no doubt bring an exciting new creative aesthetic to the magazine.
“Every Vogue editor arrives with their own range of talents and experience and Edward is very known, respected and liked within the fashion industry. I look forward to finding out his plans as soon as possible and working with him over the next few months of transition so that British Vogue continues to be the leading magazine in this market.”
He will be working closely with another west Londoner, Shepherd’s Bush-based Lucinda Chambers, Vogue’s charismatic fashion director who has been a permanent fixture over Shulman’s 25-year reign.
He said of his new role which begins on 1 August: “I grew up reading British Vogue – I am so honoured and humbled to be taking up the mantle of editor. I realise I am stepping into the shoes of a hugely respected editor in the shape of Alexandra Shulman, someone who has chosen to leave at the top of their game with a legacy of 25 years of success.”
Enninful revealed that he was “most excited to tell my father about my appointment. He immigrated to England from Ghana with my mother and six children”.
“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.”