British Vogue editor, author and former Belgravia resident Alexandra Shulman talks to Lorna Davies about her life.
I found writing non-fiction very different to fiction. Obviously with fiction you have to create the story whereas in a diary like this [Inside Vogue] the events recorded happened, so there is no imagination needed. I really enjoyed writing both. In terms of the writing process, I was able to write Inside Vogue in small snatches of time whereas for The Parrots and Can We Still Be Friends, I had to set aside a real space to get out of my everyday brain and into the story.
My siblings and I spent our childhood in a flat in Eaton Square. Our garden was the square garden and I remember playing ring a-ring o’ roses around one of the trees in the afternoons and making daisy chains on the lawn. We would do the daily shopping in the shops of Elizabeth Street where there was everything and our mother sent us out with a list to Woods the butchers, Bainborough the greengrocer, Justin de Blank’s and Charles the fishmonger. It seemed a very ordered, safe world.
I would find it hard living without any cashmere jumpers.
I didn’t want to become a journalist because both of my parents [Drusilla Beyfus and Milton Shulman] were. But in the end I realised that it was a world that I understood and was in command of.
In my perfect weekend I wake up to a bright day and go for a run in Queen’s Park where I live. Then I have breakfast in our garden and read the papers. If I am feeling energetic I might go and see an exhibition or possibly swap the morning run for an afternoon one in Kensington Gardens and combine it with a visit to the Serpentine. On Sunday I normally like to stock up at the local farmers’ market and ideally will have people for lunch in the garden if it is summer, or maybe for supper later.
I don’t have favourite things in general – my tastes are pretty broad and I don’t really listen to advice, as those closest to me know.