“It’s difficult because you’re aware there are people who will think, ‘Who is this complete tosser who thinks lipstick’s important?’” But, having spent a lot of time looking at what Vogue did during the war — over two wars — you realise that those things do matter, and don’t look completely out of whack with what’s going on. People really care about making themselves feel presentable.”
I am discussing the stockpiling of hair dye with Alexandra Shulman, CBE, former editor-in-chief of British Vogue for some quarter of a century, and a not-unrelated 62. Both of us are aware of sounding Marie Antoinettish at a time when people are dying. However, as her new book Clothes … and Other Things That Matter makes clear, how we rig ourselves out does matter, not least in a time of crisis. Clothes is the perfect isolation read — clever, emotionally intelligent, revelling in style without making us yearn to shop. Shulman will narrate the audiobook, so we can have her as a glamorous Covid companion.