AJ: It seems that only certain politicians can say whatever they want without getting too much in trouble.
AG: But it’s not even that. I think they are the only ones who don’t care about being politically correct. While if you’re a good person you have to fit into this category, labeling yourself and limiting what you can say to fit in. I think we still need to work on that.
AJ: What I like about your approach is that you’re often political and always very open. And I think this is rather uncommon among editors with such an important role in a major fashion magazine.
AG: In the beginning, I struggled because it wasn’t easy being that open and political in my position. But I kept fighting for it because I believed in it and time has shown us that having good aesthetics and a moral code can go well together. Working for something you truly believe in has been my mantra since day one.
AJ: Were your bold choices well received by the readers?
AG: Not always. I remember once, I was at a dinner party and the person sitting next to me didn’t know that I was in charge of certain things at the magazine. She told me that she was disgusted by a picture I had published on our social media, of a young woman with a disability that was absolutely beautiful to me. So I asked her what she was talking about, I tried to understand what she meant and I explained my point of view as well. Sometimes, people are just ignorant. There are so many superficial people in this industry and I think whenever we have the chance to talk to them, we should do it.
AJ: Sometimes people have a preconceived idea of beauty or of what is supposed to be published in a magazine.
AG: Exactly, people have their idea of what Vogue should be like. I should know this better, given the fact that I’ve been working at the magazine for 20 years now. Things always change, we don’t have pictures in the style of Cecil Beaton and Horst P. Horst anymore. Things change, culture has changed, and fashion is a mirror of that. Sometimes it can even anticipate certain things and push them forward. This is what I’m trying to do.
AJ: I’m not an expert on or much trained in fashion, but I agree with you when you say that fashion has cultural meaning, and it’s not just a superficial discipline. It’s like design in a way, it can and should make statements related to social and political causes. It’s difficult for people to see that, since fashion is also very connected to a product, something we are pushed to consume. Do you think it’s possible to appreciate fashion in its different aspects? To be better “trained” in fashion in this sense?
AG: The problem is that people don’t have the balls to admit that the first thing they do every morning is to get dressed and that it makes them feel one way or another depending on what they’re wearing. And they do have their own style in any case, even if they’re not well dressed. So, fashion is a very important part of their life. People have the tendency to demonize fashion without even trying to understand it. I’m against consumerism, for example, I don’t believe in the idea that you should buy new clothes every season. What I’m trying to say is that fashion and style are not only about consumerism. Clothes are a way to talk about ourselves. If you are not a hypocrite you’ll understand that everything in this system is connected with consumerism and capitalism, apart from a revolution, maybe, which I don’t see coming very soon. Everything else feeds the system, even if you go and march on the streets and have a T-shirt on, or if you’re going to a museum and so on. I think we should all become a bit more aware of things and their processes.
AJ: Sometimes I feel like we are living in a bubble and it is not easy to understand images and fashion, but they are important. It is part of our everyday life. You’re exposed to images and you’re exposed to clothing every day. And your choices in this matter signify what you do or believe. Fashion and images are connected in this sense.
AG: I feel that we have been talking about certain issues in a way that is not good for the issue itself. I mean, it’s not about making people feel guilty or talking about how pitiful something is. I’m against all that. I think we need to find new ways to tell stories. Everyone could benefit from that.