Angelica Cheung has confirmed she is leaving her position as editor-in-chief of Vogue China, in a surprise announcement bringing down the curtain on a 16-year-career at the most important magazine in fashion’s most important market of the future.“No doubt you have seen the announcement that I will be leaving Vogue China after putting out the 15th-anniversary issue, which I feel is a significant landmark and a fitting time for me to start a new phase in my career,” Cheung explained in a memo to her staff made available to FashionNetwork.com.
“As the founding editor, it was a privilege and honor to introduce Vogue to China, and shape the tastes of a nation of 1.4 billion. Vogue China was a phenomenal success from day one,” added Cheung in her memo.
In a separate email to staff, Li Li, Conde Nast’s managing director in China praised Cheung for being “a wonderful ambassador for Vogue China, Condé Nast China, and Chinese fashion. "Her last day with us will be December 8th, a significant date in our history as it is the day Angelica started at Vogue exactly 16 years ago.
"While we search for the new editor-in-chief of Vogue China, Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue US, artistic director of Condé Nast US and global content advisor, will work closely with me and Denise Suen, our managing editor of Vogue, to ensure a smooth transition and maintain the exceptional level of content our audiences expect. I’m also excited that our team in China will have a chance to work with Anna and show her some of the ways you’re connecting with our audiences and I know she is looking forward to integrating that innovation throughout the company,” Li Li added.
The sudden move will be seen as the latest example of Wintour tightening her control over the various international editions of Vogue and other titles as Condé Nast struggles to reinvent itself for the digital era and its print magazines become increasingly loss-making affairs.
During her tenure, Cheung was noted for her entrepreneurial drive, expanding the Vogue China stable to include Vogue Collections, Vogue Me, Vogue Film and various Vogue digital products, all of which rapidly found an audience.
“Saying goodbye is never easy, but it was also never my plan to stay this long. Originally I was going to launch the magazine and then pursue a legal career. It didn’t happen that way. Then came the 5-year mark, the 10-year mark and, now, the 15-year mark, and I feel it is the perfect milestone to sign off on. I am particularly proud of introducing top international creative talents to Vogue China, working with countless international brands with their China expansion, launching the careers of many Chinese models, and supporting a generation of Chinese designers. Though the process, I formed fabulous partnerships and friendships, not just in China but also internationally that I will treasure forever,” continued Cheung.
The daughter of a Chinese diplomat, Cheung grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution, later moving to Hong Kong, where she began her career in journalism. Noted for her independent spirit, natural sense of style and immense curiosity, Cheung was a key front-row figure at major runway shows for the past decade and half.
“My last day with the company, December 8, is precisely 16 years to the day I started at Vogue. On that day in 2004, in a small boutique hotel in Shanghai Xintiandi, I presented to Conde Nast executives a 130-page deck of A4 sheets, with cut-out pictures, hand-drawn illustrations, a slew of handwritten margin notes, put together in the bedroom of my apartment. And that was the first blueprint for Vogue China. It energized everybody, all were instantly convinced that Vogue China would be a success. The first edition was a sell-out and the rest is history,” she recalled.
The departing editor, however, did not reveal her plans for the future, though she did conclude in her memo: “Now I am ready to move on to the next phase of my life, pursuing new and exciting options in China and internationally. Let’s stay in touch and hope to catch up soon.”