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Former British Vogue Editor Beatrix Miller Remembered By the Fashion World (1923 – 2014)

UK Vogue January 1980, via tFS forums

UK Vogue January 1980, via tFS forums

There are only a few stellar individuals to which the fashion world will truly be indebted and Beatrix Miller is certainly one of those people.

Passing away on Friday at the age of 90, Beatrix has left behind a legacy that not only included her own success as editor of British Vogue from 1964 to 1986, but that of countless editors, photographers and writers whose careers she launched during her time at the helm of Britain’s most influential fashion publication.

A very private, yet open-minded individual, it was under Bea (as her very close friends referred to her) that some of those most memorable cover images and shoots were commissioned featuring everyone from Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall to Sophia Loren and fresh faced Marie Helvin, shot by newcomers like David Bailey.

She was a staunch perfectionist and it was not uncommon for her to scrap an entire shoot over an imperfection, but she also relished talent and change taking the magazine through some of the most exciting changes from the Sixties to Eighties.

Tributes have flooded into today by those who had the privilege of working with her.

Grace Coddington, who left modelling to work for Miller, remembers her interview for the job: “She seemed far more interested in what I was reading than in what I was wearing,” recalled Coddington, “I could sense myself being mentally marked down as a dimwit. Nevertheless, by the end of the meal I was recruited.”

David Bailey, who was notorious for falling outs with the establishment recalled how "she was a breath of fresh air as an editor, all the editors before her were ladies who wore white gloves." He continues, "She was the first British Vogue editor with any gumption. She hired art directors who weren't yes men, who had an opinion. She was the reason that I came back to Vogue."

Similarly, Vogue's fashion director Lucinda Chambers remembered that "under her leadership, fashion editors such as Grace Coddington, Liz Tilberis and Anna Harvey flourished, as did photographers such as Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel and Patrick Demarchelier, to name but a few. I started as her secretary. Miss Miller encouraged me to follow a dream. She used to say to me, 'You have lots of furniture in your head darling, now you have to organise it.' She gave me a shoot to do when I was just a lowly — and very bad — assistant, and told me I could do it with whoever I wanted to. So it was that I found myself on a plane to New York to work with Patrick Demarchelier. Incredible."

The fashion world has a lot of thank her for and will remember her for her unfailing dedication and lasting influence.

View a retrospective of Beatrix Miller's work for British Vogue in the tFS forums.