French Vogue Boss Emmanuelle Alt Doesn’t Think She’s A Feminist

Her reasoning? A confusing: 'Life would be miserable without men'


by Pandora Sykes |
Published on

We love French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt for a lot of reasons. Along with Isabel Marant (who she used to brand consult for), she pretty much invented the insouciant Parisian aesthetic that has became Pinterest's bread and butter. And she's an inspiration to young girls who aspire to be a French Voguette when they grow up, because she thinks kids shouldn't give a shit about fashion, she doesn't smoke or drink and she loves pasta - removing the connotations that being worryingly sinewy, or smoking a ton of Camel Lights will guarantee you a place in the fashion world.

But we can't pretend our soul didn't give a little cry of sadness when at the end of her otherwise brilliant interview in *British Vogue's *July issue - out this week - she gives a questionable reply to the question: 'Would you consider yourself a feminist?' 'No, not at all!' she laughs, seemingly aghast at the thought. 'Life would be miserable without men. Who would you buy all those shoes for?'

We agree, Emmanuelle, that life would be pretty miserable without men (and shoes come to think about it) but - and we're resisting the urge to plonk an exclamation mark at the end of this sentence - luckily, being a feminist doesn't mean you can't enjoy the company of men.

Still, Emmanuelle isn't the first successful woman working in fashion to deny that she is a feminist. Carla Bruni - once a supermodel, most recently a First Lady of France - famously announced in 2012 that she does not need to be a feminist because women before her had done all the hard work. Which is so extraordinarily nonsensical it's best not to dwell upon it, really.

The funny thing about Emmanuelle's airy rejection is that feminism is officially en vogue (pun intended) in the fashion world right now. Last week, Alexander Fury of *The Independent *wrote that'feminism' is fashion's favourite 'trend' for 2014. ' He wrote: 'Miuccia Prada's spring/summer 2014 collection was based on "the multiplicity of guises that women assume in the course of a day, a lifetime", a notion interpreted by many as fundamentally feminist.' And Mrs Prada herself seems to concur. 'I'm fixated with the idea of women of strength,' Miuccia said after her SS14 collection. 'It's a political discourse: I'm allowed to do whatever I want with clothes'.

Fury also cites female fashion designers like Phoebe Philo of Celine and Stella McCartney as women who consciously make practical, wearable fashion for women, including plenty of androgynous shirts, suits and flat shoes. His argument is that because these clothes are intended to comfort rather than trounce women they're surely intrinsically feminist in design.

Ok, it's certainly worth remembering that fashion and feminism are not always easy bed-fellows. (As Fury puts it: 'fashion is a business - and feminism is a political movement'.) But surely we've moved past the argument that we can't want equality in the workplace and be excited by the fact end of season sales are coming up? And people like Emmanuelle Alt - one of the few senior women in publishing, and one who earns £179k for editing French Vogue - are surely the postergirls for that view? Which is what makes her feminist denials all the more confusing.

Follow Pandora on Twitter @pinsykes

Picture: Jason Lloyd-Evans

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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