Simon & Schuster UK has landed a history of wartime Vogue by historian Julie Summers.
Publishing director Iain McGregor acquired world rights from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates. With official and personal correspondence researched from the magazine’s archives in London and in New York, Dressed for War: The Story of Audrey Withers will be published in February 2020.
Exploring British Vogue’s most formative years, during the Second World War, Dressed for War tells the story of its editor, Audrey Withers, who was charged with publishing the November, December and January editions of the magazine during the blitz.
"Together with her talented team – including society photographer Cecil Beaton and model- turned-war reporter Lee Miller – she forged an identity for the magazine that went far beyond stylish clothes, reporting from across war-torn Europe, detailing the plight of the countries and people living under occupation," reads the synopsis. "In doing so, she set herself against the style and preoccupations of Vogue’s mothership in New York, and her often sticky relationship with its formidable editor, Edna Woolman Chase."
McGregor said: "Julie Summers is arguably one of the country’s best social historians and Simon & Schuster has enjoyed a successful relationship with her across several publications. I believe Dressed for War could be her biggest success to date as the story she is telling is one that will resonate with lovers of fashion, Vogue magazine and of course women’s role in the Second World War and beyond. Dressed for War is an important book for 2020 and we are extremely proud to be publishing it."
Summers added: "I first came across the name Audrey Withers when I was working on a book and exhibition for Imperial War Museums called Fashion on the Ration. Today the name Audrey Withers is barely known outside the world of Condé Nast, yet during the war she was described as the most powerful woman in London. Intrigued, I began to research her long and remarkable career at Vogue. With the help of unseen archive material I have managed to piece together a story that throws new light not only on Audrey Withers but on the story of British Vogue in the 1940s and 1950s. It has been the most enjoyable research and writing experience of my career to date."