The life and passions of the former Vogue fashion director and co-founder of Collagerie, GWG’s Website of The Year 2021.

Lucinda Chambers is one of fashion’s toweringly influential figures. Over her 36-year tenure at Vogue – 25 of which were spent as its fashion director under the editorship of Alexandra Shulman – she has shaped the wardrobes and aspirations, sartorial and beyond, of thousands of British women.

Her power and influence – exerted not only through Vogue but also as a creative direction consultant to brands such as Prada and Marni and, more recently, as the co-founder of luxury ready-to-wear brand Colville – is impossible to underestimate. And yet it might all have been so different. Had she stuck fast to her early ambition to work as a secretary, the world may have forever been deprived of her signature ‘ball gowns and Wellington boots’ aesthetic, as one paper put it. Instead, thank the fashion gods, she applied to Hornsey College of Art, which is where her life changed. A sideline in creating jewellery got her work into the pages of a magazine which, in turn, emboldened her to write to Vogue to ask for an interview.

To say that the rest was history would be to gloss over a somewhat circuitous trajectory within the world of Vogue House. And yet her inaugural role in accounts was soon traded in for a three-year stint as PA to Vogue’s then-editor, Beatrix Miller. The next installment of her time at Condé Nast would prove formative: she became assistant to the legendary Grace Coddington, who later went with Anna Wintour to US Vogue as its creative director at large. Under Coddington’s tutelage, Lucinda absorbed what it was to create an iconic fashion image. The lessons paid off handsomely; many of Vogue’s most enduring images of the last quarter century can be ascribed to her.

In 2019, together with Serena Hood, a fellow Vogue alumnus, she founded the digital platform, Collagerie, in which their spectacular edits of homeware and fashion are a daily inspiration for thousands of followers. Miraculously it marries simplicity of concept with artistic presentation and maximalism of sensibility, funneling it all into an achingly stylish nucleus that its many devotees would not – could not – be without. For those reasons and more, our judges crowned Collagerie our Website of the Year at the GWG Awards 2021.

Fresh from that triumph, Lucinda shares a smattering of her very favourite things in life. And, as so revered an editor, we knew we were in for a treat. Here she tells us where she happiest, what she’s coveting most right now – and why the vision of a bungalow on the beach will always set her dreaming.

Image by Sam Copeland for Pangaia and Collagerie

Favourite place in all the world?

There are so many, but if I were to choose just one it would have to be our farmhouse in Toulouse, France. It's where friends and family have gathered over the years, we swim and chat, eat and drink. Work is left behind us and memories are made.

Dream holiday?

Hotel Macakizi in Turkey. I always took my boys over the years and it’s ‘our’ place. The food, people and place are all dreamy. And as for the sea…

Most coveted item right now?

I’m counting the days for my upcycled Colville dress. Each one is unique and beautiful and it’s just so blooming flattering and spells summer.

Proudest professional moment to date?

This week has been incredibly proud making. Winning the Good Web Guide’s ‘Website of the Year’ for 2021 has to up there! Worth all the hard work.

Your dream future project?

Dream projects are already in motion, but collaborating with designers, artists and brands that have a vision is always incredibly inspiring.

Who has been your most inspiring mentor, professionally or personally?

I’ve been so lucky to work with inspiring women, from my early days as a secretary to Beatrix Miller, then editor of Vogue, who told me that I ‘had lots of furniture in my head but that I need to organise it.’ She gave me the confidence to aim higher. And my husband, who is one of the cleverest people I know but tells me I am too. (Sometimes I don’t believe him at all!)

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

Any house on The Modern House site! I dream of a long bungalow by the sea with huge windows. Very much a dream.

What book is on your nightstand/ kindle right now?

I’ve got a few on the go: Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In The Castle because so many people have recommended it I always want to know what the fuss is about. And War In The Shadows, because I’ve generally got a spy story that I’m reading. And a book on ADHD with a highlighter pen as it runs in the family and I want to know more about it.

Best film you’ve seen recently?

Nomadland. Anything with Francis McDormand.

Best binge-watched TV show?

Schitt’s Creek. We loved it so much and are just starting to think of watching it all over again! We fell in love with all of the characters.

Top podcast of the moment?

How I Built This… I so enjoy people’s success stories when they have worked so hard. There is always a learning takeaway.

Your hero?

Iris Apfel. Her sheer love of fashion, colour and just life in general is inspiring.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

I probably am like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, jumping and bouncing around the place.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I didn’t know what I wanted to be and didn’t think I was capable of a career. I thought I would be a secretary but then everything changed when I went to art school.

Worst job you’ve ever done?

I worked in a newsagent for many years, starting when I was thirteen. I was paid 25 pence an hour, but I was saving for my own television. It took me years, but it was worth it as I learnt a lot about having a goal, and patience. I kept the TV for a very long time!

Favourite dish to cook?

Roast chicken, roast potatoes and all the bits and bobs that go with it. It’s what my family ask for if they’ve been away so it symbolises the family together around the table.

Favourite café/ restaurant?

I love Laylow because it’s so pretty. And I also love The Wolseley because it’s just so treaty.

What tune always makes you want to dance?

Mambo No 5.

Favourite website or app?

Collagerie of course! Serena and I really needed this in our lives, so we went ahead and started it!

Most useful thing on your desk?

My Smythson diary as it tells me what I’m meant to be doing. Lost without it.

Which five people, dead or alive, would you find most interesting to be stuck in a lift with?

David Hockney, David Bowie, April Ashley, my mother and my brother to ask them all the things I didn’t.

Favourite building?

Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge. I love everything about it, the fact that it feels like it’s by the sea, the art is wonderful and the small touches such as the graded pebbles which make it so intimate. It’s like a home, not a gallery space. It achieves both.

Favourite Instagrammer or tweeter?

Russell Marsh’s IG, because I always want to see what he’s looking at.

Your screensaver?

Every day I think, ‘I have to update this’. It’s of my youngest son, so have to find a good one of all the boys in my life!

What would your biography be called?

Hang on…

What would be your epitaph?

She Was Kind. But that’s not for me to say, it’s just what I try to be.

By Nancy Alsop
January 2022

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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.