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Dressed for War
The Story of Vogue Editor Audrey Withers, From the Blitz to the Swinging Sixties

On 25 September 1940, three weeks into the German Blitz on London, 35-year old Audrey Withers stepped into the shoes of her American predecessor as editor of London Vogue. Over the next three months, she faced deadlines and firebombs as she strove to bring out the November, December and January editions of the magazine amid the ruins of the capital. As the war progressed, so Audrey's influence over the fate of Vogue grew, drawing it inexorably away from the style and preoccupations of the mothership in New York. Audrey needed her readers to believe that London Vogue had its finger on the pulse of history.

Fashion is Indestructible by Cecil Beaton, June 1941 (C) The Conde Nast Publications Ltd

She had an experienced team of top-flight talent at her disposal, including the society photographer Cecil Beaton and the brilliant model-turned-photographer-cum-war-reporter Lee Miller. Both roamed across war-torn Europe and further afield, detailing the plight of the countries and people living under occupation.

Putting Vogue to bed in the bomb cellar of One New Bond Street, November 1940 (C) Douglas Slocombe estate

Audrey's deft handling of her star contributors, and the importance she placed on reflecting people's lives at home, gave this slice of literary history a real edge. With official and personal correspondence researched from the magazines archives in London and New York, Dressed for War reveals the untold story of the immense struggle between the personalities who shaped Vogue in the latter half of the twentieth century - and beyond.

Summer Life by Snowdon (c) The Conde Nast Publications Ltd

Dressed for War will be published by Simon & Schuster in February 2020

Read about Julie's journey writing about Audrey Withers in her blog:

 
 
Published 6 February 2020 by Simon & Schuster

978-1471181573