10.30am : Julie Summers

Sunday 18th 10.30am

Dressed For War: The Story of Audrey Withers, wartime editor of Vogue

The author of thirteen works of non-fiction, Julie Summers is one of Britain’s foremost social historians, listed as one of only four women in the top fifty historians in Britain in 2015. Her latest book, Dressed for War, is a biography of Audrey Withers, wartime editor of Vogue. It is the untold story of our most iconic fashion magazine in its formative years, in an era when wartime exigencies gave its editor the opportunity to forge an identity for the magazine going far beyond stylish clothes. 

The book tells the story of the titanic struggle between the personalities that shaped Vogue for the rest of the twentieth century and beyond. During the War Vogue’s top-flight writers and photographers sent images and reports from Europe and further afield, detailing the plight of countries and people living in war-torn Europe. Audrey Withers’ deft handling of her star contributors, and the importance she placed on reflecting people’s lives at home, give this slice of literary history a real edge. 

Julie Summers’ biographies include Our Uninvited Guests: The Secret Lives of Britain’s Country Houses 1939-45, and the best selling Jambusters, which inspired the ITV series Home Fires. She is Royal Literary Fund Fellow at St Hilda’s College, Oxford.