A Candy-Coated Classroom
In my ongoing pursuit of interviewing Candy Pratts Price-repetitive emailing, endless phone calls, and weekly inbox updates and reminders, she graciously invited me to exclusive blog coverage her guest appearance and lecture for the SPCA program at NYU. The professor was fashion legend Jun Weir, previously a top fashion editor and journalist at Harper's Bazaar and WWD, and remains invested and involved in the fashion industry today. Weir asked Candy to speak to her class about "The Changing World of Fashion Magazines," and who better than the Creative Director of vogue.com?
Candy opened by showing her first "Candycast" blast to demonstrate what the new online world of fashion journalism looks like. It was like getting sneak peek at the last page of a famous biography. The infiltration and domination of the internet age has forced fashion editors and journalists to think and communicate differently or as Candy noted, "start a new conversation" applicable to the online world.
Although her work for vogue.com, relationships, and even personal life exist in a virtual world, she confidently states there will always be a place for print. She recognizes the endless opportunities and benefits of the WWW, but she also admits, "I love paper..holding it, flipping it, it is all in your own control." She discussed some of the latest and most updated tech-devices for wireless reading, specifically the iPad, as having vast potential due to the fact that has the universal "lean back" appeal-similar to how one reads an actual printed magazine or book.
Candy then honestly and openly hearkened back to the beginning of her career, walking us through her past fashion careers and personal accomplishments chapter by chapter. She started with a rhetorical question, "how did I get where I am today?" immediately followed by her answer, "I wanted to be at the top, live a glamorous life, and be financially independent!"
She led us through her internships when she was studying at FIT; first being a Christmas Angel at Bergdorf Goodman and second Bachrach, the society photographers. This is the time that Candy realized the power of an image and "how an image is captured." After graduating FIT, Candy's various jobs and power in the fashion world are all connected by one word, "windows."
She began as a window shopper or at least in a position on the outside looking in. One day when she was walking past the Charles Jourdan boutique and out of the corner of her eye she spotted a fabulous pair of yellow suede high heeled sandals on display in the window. Knowing she must have them, she the went inside and asked for a job selling shoes, disregarding the store's elite and selective recruiting process and preference for hiring French women. She got the job, and moved from humble shoe-girl, to the untouchable master of window dressing and displays for the entire store. Candy borrowed art from the MOMA, which was across the street, and decorate the store and windows; thus combining at and fashion. Every single day was a different window and spectacle and according to Candy, a time when "fashion was its most sensational."
Once Candy's windows caught the attention of Marvin Traub and the Bloomingdales family, Candy went from working solo at Charles Jourdan, to the Creative Director of all Bloomingdales window displays and storefronts with a staff of 150 people, plus the union, and a on-site team of carpenters under her belt. Her time at Bloomingdales, was "the best time of her life" and also one of the hottest and most exciting times in retail history.
She loved retail, but after mastering the aspect of the fashion industry, she wanted a new challenge-thus, she entered the world of publishing. After one phone call from Anna Wintour asking Candy to become part her "New Vogue" team, Candy knew she wanted "in and to be part of this new revolution." She created an organized the VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards which was one of the first events that combined and branded fashion and music together as one. The second the internet and online world hit the fashion publishing industry, Candy received another call from Wintour, this time asking her to move to style.com.
Candy immediately took the job, helping develop the site and ensure it's success. She insisted that to truly succeed, the website needed to "reflect a curated magazine with no borrowed content." Candy describes "the world of a website as 24/7," leaving her with less time with the world offline and travel being the one exception. As Candy points out to the class, "I need to see how you walk, what you eat, and how you wear your pearls otherwise I would never be able to tell people the proper way to wear them."
Candy Pratts Price has recently moved to vogue.com as Creative Director.
As the talk came to an end, Candy opened up the discussion to a Q&A with the students. One asked, "Is the digital world crowding out magazine print?" Candy's response perfectly reinforced her lecture's bottom line: "No, There is room for both, a short story or longer article as well as a breaking fashion news-one line."
Sarah Sulzberger Perpich