by Remi Betesh
If you've ever thought you just can't do it all, Ginnie Chadwyck -Healey has proved that theory wrong. From landing the dream job at Vogue, covering everything from fashion and beauty, to becoming a mother and starting her own company... this woman is unstoppable.
IF YOU HAD'NT GONE IN THE DIRECTION OF FASHION, WHAT WOULD YOUR DREAM JOB BE IN ANOTHER LIFE?
In another life, I think I would have loved to be a lawyer.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR JOB AT VOGUE?
I'm afraid it's a case of sheer perseverance, right place right time and a CV that was overloaded with examples of my genuine interest in the industry. From entering the Vogue Talent Contest (writing competition) to hounding Alexandra Shulman, the then Editor, to a stint at GQ Fashion and at US Vogue in Paris - I was fortunate enough to land work experience at Conde Nast UK. I applied for a role on the commercial team at Vogue and was just lucky enough to be successful. I never looked back.
WHAT WAS YOUR ROLE AS EXEC RETAIL EDTIOR ENTAIL? WHAT WAS A TYPICAL DAY FOR YOU?
British Vogue's 100th anniversary cover
It was in some ways an ambassadorial role, hosting reader events and presenting the bi-annual Trend Report to the industry but largely days were spent meeting PR Managers from all kinds of brands, going to see new collections, meeting advertisers’ needs if something wasn’t quite working for them within the magazine (because it’s never plain sailing getting that balance between editorial and commercial right), curating and editing the Vogue Checklist pages, writing a quick online article for the digital team if I had time and, more often than not, working on a reader-focused event with a brand.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT THE JOB?
The best bit was that it offered exposure to the fashion, beauty, watches and jewellery industries. I was not only limited to one category as most other editor roles are. It was fraught in terms of everyone wanting to present their product or collection to you but you had an enormous feeling of being the first-in-the-know. Combine that with exposure to the commercial team's pitches or targets, the business hub of the brand, and you really had a juicy role!
HARDEST PART OF THE JOB?
The juggle between wanting to hear someone's pitch after they've gallivanted around London to get to Vogue House, but then realising you are already late for the next meeting. There was an art to having to just cut someone short however seemingly impolite (and un British!) that is.
Interviewing Mr. Manolo Blahnik
BEST FASHION MOMENT?
I remember I was heavily pregnant and I had to interview Manolo Blahnik live on stage at an event and the sound system just disintegrated, no one could hear us and he just carried on as if we were having a private chat. I thought I might go into labour!! He is fabulous.
MOST FAMOUS PEOPLE MET?
I can remember having to find a seat for Kate Hudson and her then partner Matt Bellamy at The Vogue Festival some years back and she said 'come sit with us' and I thought 'That's so not what we've been told to do (staff were ushers) but if Kate Hudson invites you to sit....'
IS IT WHAT PEOPLE THINK IT IS? IE HIGHLY FASHIONABLE , OFFICE CORRIDORS LIKE A CATWALK AND DEVIL WEARS PRADA-ESQUE?
Ginnie with David Beckham
I think everyone who works at Vogue has an innate sense of style. It is just part of the territory, their passion. So whilst I was there I thought very little of the daily 'churn' of outfits being worn but now I'm out I really realise just how fabulous some of my former colleague's own style language was. I miss the charade!
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN STYLE?
Considered, confident, colourful.
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR STYLE, WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION AND HOW HAS YOUR STYLE EVOLVED POST VOGUE?
Well I certainly don't wear heels. There are no heels under my desk. There are usually children. So I am buying far less shoes and bags, and instead I really think trans-seasonally. If something takes my fancy I really have to think 'will this look ridiculous taking the children to school? Is this a Vogue moment I'm having?'! Really my life now dictates what I need because I'm fortunate enough to have amassed a large wardrobe. If I'm inspired it could be as simple as reading a weekend supplement - that down-time moment of the weekend is KEY to snaring us consumers.
WHAT FASHION BRAND DO YOU MOST ALIGN YOURSELF TO AND WHY?
I will forever be faithful to Roksanda. Her lines, her cut, her pockets (oh her pockets) and her use of colour - she really is my go-to. She studied architecture and design and it permeates her stylistic language.
ONE TREND THAT WILL NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE?
Animal print - we just can't get enough of it and it really can work all year round.
ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR SOMEONE READY TO MOVE ON FROM THE ‘DREAM JOB AND OR SWITCHING CAREERS?
It takes guts but don't ever look back. Value yourself and others will value you.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW VCH STYLE WAS CREATED AND WHT IT OFFERS?
It's been something I've realised I needed to do for a while. I was pulled in so many directions at Vogue that really I was not giving enough time to my children or husband. Vogue kept coming first. So very sadly, I bid farewell to my Vogue days and started VCHStyle which is in its formative phase; a platform for me, my writing, my personal styling and the bit I'm most excited about - my presenting. I am NOT an influencer (though apparently according to some brands I am a 'micro-influencer' - whatever that means!) It’s a bit like the role I did at Vogue but with me as the boss (and the brand) and I get to work and pitch event ideas to whoever I like which has certainly been a new found freedom. I hope there's an honesty and a frankness that comes with my approach (be it my tone of voice in a written article, my consultancy ideas or my opinions when styling clients) which people will enjoy following - and I think they instinctively trust someone with 12 years of experience at Vogue under their belt.
Ginnie's favourite Roksandra look; SS18
WHO IS THE ULTIMATE VCH CLIENT AND WHAT SETS VCH STYLE APART FROM OTHER CONSULTING BRANDS?
I've been fortunate enough to work with some major brands, working with their private client base (Louis Vuitton, Joseph, Ralph Lauren) and also some mid market brands. But then I am also working with real life mothers or real life city workers who just want to feel inspired - it's these people I love working with the most. My dream is to sort out Marks & Spencer! Generally I think the clients I have appreciate me being someone who can think on their feet, treat them or their VIP's with the utmost respect and try and get inside their mindset as to what they might like to buy or try. If I am working with a brand on an event or a new collection, there is a polite professionalism crossed with an awareness of that all important bottom line. Retail is hard right now. For anyone. I have always had an innate awareness of the commercial elements all of these brands are striving for. We don't just work in this industry for love.
HOW HAS YOUR TEN YEARS AT VOGUE QUALIFIED AND ENABLED YOU TO SET VCH UP?
VCH working with Ralph Lauren
The contacts I made at Vogue - many I am lucky enough to call friends now - have not simply disappeared or dried up. Yes it takes a little longer to set up a meeting because Ginnie from VCH Style is not the same as Ginnie from Vogue but WOW I have been amazed at the response and the support from the whole community. The candid advice has proven invaluable.
IF THERE WAS ONE PERSON YOU COULD STYLE, WHO WOULD IT BE?
That would be telling - I'm working on it though!
WHO WOULD YOUR DREAM GUESTS BE AT YOUR DINNER PARTY, DEAD OR ALIVE?
Jackie Onassis, John F Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Cher, The Queen, and Meryl Streep. And Jamie Oliver cooking, with my husband as sous-chef.
WHEN YOU AREN’T WORKING, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SPOT TO HANG OUT AND RELAX IN LONDON AND WHY?
If I could sit all day at The Wolseley and enjoy 3 square meals and do some fabulous people watching, with a couple of business meetings thrown in, I'd be a happy Ginnie.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION AND WHY?
My new favourite place has to be Dubrovnik. Tourism makes up such a key part of Croatia's economy that they really go above and beyond to make you welcome. The views are breathtaking.
WHEN TRAVELING, WHAT WOULD BE THE KEY PIECES FOUND IN GINNIE’S LUGGAGE?
My Pippa Holt kaftan, my lime green Havainas and probably some baby wipes. Baby wipes seem to live in every bag I own now and they are excellent for cleansing!
DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN SIGNATURE FRAGRANCE AND WHY?
I am Chanel Beige through and through.
FAVOURITE QUOTE TO LIVE BY?
‘It's only money' - from my grandmother who I sadly never met but I know we would have had a blast.
WHATS NEXT FOR GINNIE?
My personal styling service via WhatsApp has launched so that's only adding to the juggle. It's not free but it is entirely impartial. (But really right now? I need to go play shops with my children.)