How’s that for timing? Just when we’re trapped in the house with nothing to do except count the items in our wardrobes, Alexandra Shulman produces a book that is the best possible escape from dark times. It even begins with her counting the items in her wardrobe: the number is 556, which includes thirty-seven handbags, thirty-five bras and twenty-two coats – which isn’t that much if you think about it. Had I been editor of Vogue for twenty-five years, I would have snapped up way more handbags. Her current bag, the one she is using at the time of writing the chapter on handbags, is a twenty-year-old brown leather tote made by Prada containing, among other things, one left-eye contact lens, an Oyster card and a paperback copy of Svetlana Alexievich’s Chernobyl Prayer.
She wears Prada, but she’s no devil. Shulman is vulnerable, honest, down-to-earth and – this is the most surprising bit – one of us. She has no sense of herself as a world-class beauty, no interests in diets or botox or spending her days in the gym. It’s hard to