A Visible Man: A Memoir

Edward Enninful. Penguin Press, $30 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-29948-7

Enninful, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief, makes a dazzling debut with this chronicle of his remarkable path to becoming a world-renowned style visionary. Born in Ghana in 1972, Enninful fell in love with fashion early on, devouring his dressmaker mother’s sketchbooks and reveling in “glamour and women and their style.” After his family escaped to London following a political coup in 1981, Enninful weathered Britain’s racist, repressive attitudes and harsh working-class life by finding solace in fashion. In nimble prose that moves at a brisk clip, he recounts his dizzying rise from model to stylist, to writer, and at age 18, fashion director of i-D magazine, where he brought in diverse models, making it his mission to shake up an outdated fashion industry in which, he writes, the conversation of diversity never made it outside “the occasional special issue.” Determined to vanquish “the stupid, tired adage that Black girls on covers don’t sell magazines,” Enninful dreamed up Vogue Italia’s “Black Issue” in 2008 before going on to become British Vogue’s first Black editor-in-chief in 2017. Readers will relish Enninful’s glamorous ascent as much as they will his willingness to detail the “ceaseless struggle”—“rejections, aggressions both macro- and micro-, overnight flights”—it took to build a “bolder, more inclusive” industry. Fashion mavens and forward thinkers alike will be mesmerized. (Sept.)
PW EDITORS’ PICKS FOR
THE BEST NEW BOOKS
PW EDITORS’ PICKS FOR THE BEST NEW BOOKS