Friday, June 18, 2010

Interview - David Clark, editor of Vogue Living

Vogue Living's 'new look' July/Aug issue - out this week!

Brooklyn City Guide, as featured in Vogue Living's current issue. SO good. (double click for an almost legible view!)

Oh my. Would you believe me if I told you that Vogue Living magazine just got even more irresistibly delicious? Truly! This week the famed Australian interiors magazine launches it's July/August issue with a much anticipated 'new look' - merging the design eye candy we've all come to know and love, with some of the best content from Vogue Entertaining + Travel. The result is freaking AMAZING. Vogue Living will continue to be a magazine about interiors, design, art, architecture and decorating.... but will also now expand to cover food and wine, bars, restaurants, hotels, and the most stunning travel destinations from all corners of the globe. Aggh.

I am particularly enamoured with the 'City Guides' section - how incredible is the Brooklyn guide, pictured above?! I love it's slightly more 'personal' feel - the perfect round-up from US-based Australian writer David Prior, complete with illustrated map! Other cities featured this issue include Kyoto, Manhattan and Paris... ooh la la.

To celebrate this important milestone for one of Australia's best-loved design mags, I am very excited to share an interview with 'Mr Vogue Living' - David Clark! Yep. Only the big names around here! :)

After originally studying commerce/law, and later architecture, David was eventually seduced by the publishing industry, and has been at the helm of Vogue Living Australia for the last six years. David's expert curatorial eye oversees every aspect of the magazine - a much bigger and more complex role than simply driving the editorial content. On a daily basis, David's job involves problem solving with VL's ad team, marketing team, finance team, publishers, photographers, writers, designers... not to mention endless speaking engagements and travel. I can only imagine how incredibly busy and stressful his job must be - albeit very rewarding!

I am truly grateful for David's time, and I think everyone reading should go out and buy the latest issue to show their appreciation! (like you need an excuse!).

David Clark.

Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to your current role at Vogue Living?

When I was a teenager in suburban Brisbane, no joke, my family nickname for me was “Mr Vogue Living”. I can’t recall why – whether I was constantly reading Vogue and Vogue Living, or whether I had delusions of grandeur. Either way – it started early.

I studied commerce/law when I left school. Hated that. Always wanted to study architecture. 10 years later, after working in the interior textile industry in Sydney and London, I went back to university to fulfil that wish. It led me to an architect’s office, and then to write about architecture for a magazine. I moved back to Sydney to work for Belle Magazine as Design Editor and left there as Deputy Editor to freelance for a few years. I realised I still had this fire to be an editor. There was only one (possibly two) magazines that I wanted to edit. The stars aligned, and Vogue Living was it.

What have been one or two of your most memorable favourite shoots / stories featured in the magazine over the last few years?

Bhutan is one. Earl Carter and Susie Westwood got this fantastic shot of monks walking in a line across a courtyard of the Aman in Bhutan. Stunning. Houses? There are so many beautiful interiors we’ve published. One of the more recent that was a great story was John Wilson and Peter Lin’s apartment in Chippendale. It was a cover story. Great mix of good design (by Iain Halliday) and a wonderful aesthetic from the owners.

John Wilson and Peter Linn's apartment in Chippendale, Sydney, featured on the cover of Vogue Living earlier this year.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Fielding questions and issues from my editorial team, the ad team, the marketing team, the finance team, the publishers, from the industry and clients, from photographers and writers… it’s a complex role and you have to deal with lots of things at once. At the same time you have to be a leader for your team. It’s a mix of business and creativity. Hard to balance sometimes. I’ll be at my desk trying to get through emails, will be diverted by something more pressing, then be at my art directors desk working on a layout with her, then a meeting with an advertiser, maybe having to be at a function that evening, or talking at one.

Vogue Living is such an incredible source of creative inspiration for so many – but where do you turn for your own creative inspiration? (Travel, other publications, the internet, your environment, travel, nature, family or friends…?)

I rarely look at other publications. In fact, I hardly read magazines at all. I have to say that most of my inspiration comes from my team. Such a smart bunch of people so full of curiosity. Curiosity is one of the most important attributes in a person I believe.

The design world also inspires me. Milan design week is an important source for me. People and design… travel is always inspiring. And the cinema.

Melbourne fairs pretty well in the latest issue... love this shopping story on Le Louvre's new(ish) South Yarra digs... Striking shots by Lisa Cohen. Double click for a larger view.

What do you think defines an ‘Australian’ sense of style when it comes to residential architecture and interiors?

Australia has a ‘lifestyle’ (I hate that words…it demeans living) that is the envy of the world. We forget that people in other places find our life seductive and exotic. Tyler Brule (founder of wallpaper and editor in chief of monocle) has said that “Australia is the country that exported lifestyle to the rest of the world” I agree with him.

At a deeper level, the thing that distinguishes Australian design and architecture is the crossover space between indoors and outdoors. In fact, I think it defines our design and our living. You can see it in very Paddington terrace renovation that has opened up the back of the house to a private outdoor room. We’re lucky to live in a climate where we can do that.

How would your describe your sense of style when it comes to your own home? Is your own home a picture-perfect ‘Vogue Living home’!?

I don’t have a sense of style in my own home. It certainly isn’t picture perfect. I use my apartment as a place to put interesting things. Rugs, textiles, books, art from friends. Stuff I’ve gathered.

Which designers, artists or creative people do you most admire at the moment?

Too many to mention. I admire any creative person who is pursuing their inner vision. It’s such a hard road, especially in Australia where creativity can be belittled. They have such perseverance.

What are you most proud of professionally?

Editing Vogue Living. And knowing that it is a magazine read and admired around the world.

What would be your dream creative project?

A great party for my 50th birthday.

What are you looking forward to?

The great party at my 50th birthday. (I’ve got 2 years to organise it)

Sydney Questions –

Your favourite pocket of Sydney for shopping / strolling / people watching?


Where was the last great meal you ate in Sydney?

Lunch at Aria.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

At a café in Darlinghurst.

Sydney’s best kept secret?

The harbour foreshore. I believe that contemporary Australian art came from that place.


  1. Thanks for this interview Lucy and David! I am pleased to hear David started off in the wrong direction and corrected his path to follow his passion at a later stage- what a result! I am hoping to do the same late start- wonder where I'll land. Thanks guys and good luck to VL with the new layout - I am very intrigued.

  2. great interview. and food? brooklyn? i'm getting this issue!

  3. Great article. Thank you. Will definitely head out today to buy VL.

  4. Great interview! It's so nice to hear how David started out and how he got to where he is now. And the new VL look and content look great!

  5. Great post. I really enjoyed this interview; David has such an interesting and unexpected background.

  6. I LOVE, LOVE this issue. I got my subscribers issue and then and went and bought another copy so I can tear it to bits. I have never done that before. This issue is awesome.

    Thanks for the fantastic interview.

  7. The lovely Sandy K (see above comment) shared some of the photos with me, since it will be a few weeks before the issue lands Stateside.

    I'm on pins and needles!

    Vogue Living Australia is, bar none, the best shelter magazine on the planet.

  8. Great interview - thank you! Agree that the changes are great! Posted link to you on my blog --

    Cheers, Paula

  9. Thanks for this insight. I actually sent the following to VL after I received my copy in the post...

    "I love Vogue Living.
    I’ve loved it for years.
    I pore over every page, every article looking for inspiration and ideas.
    And I jealously guard my collection, sharing only with my mum, because I know she understands.

    But when July/August 2010 arrived and I settled in for emersion, I found myself racing through, stressed almost, by the jumble of fonts and angles, overlayed pictures and reversed out copy.
    I don’t mind so much that the advertising and editorial content are almost indistinguishable – because I’m interest in, and read both – but the whole experience was like being in an overcrowded department store and I couldn’t wait to get out. The racing was so intense that I ended up flipping though the back pages, thinking I’ll get to it later - and this NEVER happens.

    I’m disappointed. And sorry that I feel the need to share."

    I really hope I can chill out and get used to it...

  10. .....and my beloved Sam Jinks' art work is on page 136!