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THE VOGUE FACTOR: When Kirstie Clements was finalizing plans for the October 2012 issue of Vogue Australia — plans that included making Andrej Pejic her cover model — little did she suspect that she would be delivering a larger-than-usual editor’s letter by the end of that month. Sixty-five thousand words, to be precise. Published by Melbourne University Press and due out Feb. 28, “The Vogue Factor” is Clements’ memoir of her 25-year career at the magazine, starting as its receptionist in 1985, before moving up through the ranks as an editor’s personal assistant, beauty editor, Paris correspondent and finally, editor in chief, a position she held for 13 years. That tenure came to a sudden halt on May 16 last year when Clements was dismissed by Vogue’s Australian licensee, NewsLifeMedia, as part of a midyear restructuring that witnessed the layoffs of five of the company’s magazine editors and five members of Clements’ editorial team. The “regime change,” as Clements puts it, saw the installation of Harpers Bazaar Australia editor Edwina McCann as Vogue’s new editrix, along with a group of McCann’s Harper’s staff.
Approached by Melbourne University Press a day after she left Vogue, Clements wrote the book in five months and is now gearing up for a two-and-a-half-month publicity blitz that will include a splashy outdoor bus campaign in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. “I could never get bus backs at Vogue,” said Clements, whose memoir covers a few personal milestones, such as the birth of her twin sons, plus her observations on how the industry has changed in the quarter-century she spent at the magazine, from commercial pressures to unreasonable celebrity publicists to skinny models.
“I look back on it and feel very fortunate to have been there in the time I was there,” she said. “And I loved every second of it.”