Jade Hobson was born in New York but grew up in Darien and Westport. From an early age she was intrigued by design and initially drawn to architecture. But fashion captured her heart and when a friend suggested she would make a good “magazine girl,” she applied for, and got, a job at Conde Nast, which launched a life-long career in magazines with a brief detour into landscape design. She has called Wilton her home for 40 years.
What was your role at Vogue?
I worked at Vogue for 18 years so my role evolved over that time. My last title was creative director of fashion. Part of my job was to help choose the photographer for photo shoots along with Grace Mirabella and Alex Liberman. I also helped to choose the model for the shoot, selected accessories, and consulted on hair and makeup. We photographed either in a studio or on location. I traveled the world. We were all part of a team. It was a wonderful collaboration.
Which photographers did you work with?
Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Hiro, Arthur Elgort, Jeanloup Sieff, Elliott Erwitt, Deborah Turbeville, and many more.
Why did you leave Vogue?
I resigned when Grace Mirabella was fired. I went to Revlon briefly but left when Rupert Murdoch offered Grace Mirabella her own magazine—Mirabella. I could not resist joining Grace again.
Describe your time at Mirabella?
I helped conceive the magazine and served as publication director and executive creative director. Grace Mirabella was publication director. I hired fashion editors, helped select clothing, came up with stories or themes for shoots, and attended the New York and European collections.
What was the magazine like?
Mirabella was a combination of fashion and features, fantasy and reality. We featured a recurring fashion story, “A la Gap,” which was a take off on Gap ads. We photographed real people wearing one item of clothing chosen by Mirabella with the subjects own clothing. We used subjects like Louise Bougeoise, Julie Kent, and Kitty Carlisle Hart. I would visit a subject with an item of clothing and then look through their closets to determine the rest of the outfit. Closets were as varied as piles of clothing on the floor of a loft belonging to Norman Mailer’s daughter to Mrs. Hart’s totally anal closets.
Fill us in on some of the highlights working for Town & Country.
Two favorite stories that I worked on at T&C include “The Real MacGraw” featuring Ali MacGraw photographed outside of Santa Fe in Georgia O’Keefe settings. Also “The End of the Affair,” which was a black-tie dinner party shot mainly from the neck down, highlighting activity under the dinner table. Hands and feet strayed to another partner, a child played with his train, and a bulldog watched the action in a black velvet “collar” bejeweled with a Bulgari diamond pin with 36 carats of diamonds.
Best piece of fashion advice?
Know what works for you. Do not be overly influenced by trends. Look in the mirror—from the front and back. Study proportion. Seek professional help if needed.