During her 34-year career at the forefront of American Vogue, Anna Wintour has garnered more titles than the Queen and weathered almost as much controversy.
Appointed as Editor-in-Chief in 1988, she rose to become Artistic Director, Global Editorial Manager, and Global Chief Content Officer for parent company Conde Nast, and was awarded a Dame’s Honor in 2017.
In the capricious world of fashion, where fortunes rise and fall like seams, Wintour’s survival skills are legendary.
Why has she stayed at the top for so long? First, she is dedicated and good at her job: you can’t stay at the top without it being a given. Second, she is surrounded by a loyal team built over decades, and the Conde Nast board of directors continues to support her.
Third, and most relevant, she’s adept at adapting, or at least appearing to adapt, by positioning herself on the right side of history.
“Like all good editors, Anna is interested in everything,” says Jo Elvin, who edited the Conde Nast title shine between 2001 and 2017. “I remember when she put Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover of Fashion in 2014. Some shook their fists at the move… but it moved with the times and where people’s fascination lay. That keeps them in the game.”
“It effectively exerts its own gravitational force field, magnetized by strategically placed invitations, introductions, magazine features, and messages of support.” The New York Times Said fashion director Vanessa Friedman.
Despite this, the woman nicknamed “Nuclear Wintour” is currently experiencing her most nuclear career turbulence to date. Last June, workers at Conde Nast staged protests in front of their Manhattan townhouse, chanting “The boss wears Prada, the workers get Nada” and carrying banners that read “Prestige can’t be eaten.”
Now over 500 employees from the company — that owns The New Yorker and vanity fair magazines as well Fashion — formed a union to push for better pay, more job security and a stronger commitment to diversity and equality.
Wintour’s camp has distanced them from these complaints. A source insisted it was a company issue, which was “not her thing”. But could this be the scandal dethroning her? Or will her cunning nature save her once more?
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Wintour’s chilly demeanor, love of furs, and adept way of avoiding being eliminated by circumstances that would end most people’s careers are more than a little reminiscent of a cat.
Here we examine their nine lives.
1 The Affair
In February 1999, New York was rocked by Wintour’s affair with Shelby Bryan, a married Texas cellphone millionaire.
Wintour himself was married to child psychiatrist David Schaffer for 15 years. Both left their partners to be together, married in a private ceremony in 2004 (and separated in 2020). The scandal did not tarnish Wintour, who spent her 70th year dating actor Bill Nighy on a string of days. It is unclear whether they are still together.
2 The Awakened Makeover
If the Fashion Offices are now bastions of racial diversity, as some claim it certainly never was.
So, when Wintour allegedly recently uttered the words, “Why are there so many white people in the room?” When she walked into her Manhattan office, eyebrows were understandably raised.
She also managed to relieve herself of responsibility Teen Vogues New editor Alexi McCammond resigned over racist and homophobic tweets. At 72, Wintour had finally read the room.
3 The satirical book
In 2003, Wintour’s former assistant, Lauren Weisberger, released The devil Wears Pradaa thinly disguised fiction drawn from her experiences at American Fashionwhich was filmed three years later with Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.
Wintour reportedly said the film would “probably go straight to DVD”; it made over $300 million. Then, in one of the Volte faces she’s so adept at, she credited it for making fashion “fun and glamorous” — and adept at showing up in Prada for the premiere.
4 The controversial interview
“Asma al-Assad is glamorous, young and very chic – the freshest and most attractive of all first ladies…” wrote Joan Juliet Buck in a March 2011 interview with the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It was a year before Wintour broke her silence: “We had hopes that the Assad regime would be open to a more progressive society…” The scandal passed. Wintour remained in power.
5 The Explosive Book
Once upon a time, Wintour and André Leon Talley came together at the hip, but life isn’t a Hallmark card and it’s American in 2018 Vogues Most high profile black employees fell out with her. His autobiography 2020, The Chiffon Trenchesdescribed Wintour as “incapable of simple human kindness”.
When Talley died in January, the two were still estranged, and Wintour was further criticized for the time it took her to post a tribute.
6 The disgraced designer
In 2012, Wintour was photographed meeting then-disgraced designer John Galliano, who had been fired from Christian Dior the previous year after making racist and anti-Semitic comments.
Her support helped him tremendously to rehabilitate his career: After a stint in rehab, he returned to the catwalk in 2014 and became the creative director of Margiela.
Wintour was similarly loyal to other troubled fad names. Whatever mud is flung, it never sticks to Wintour’s shiny, Teflon-coated armor.
7 The Met Ball misstep
The annual ball has long been considered the “biggest fashion night of the year”. In recent years, Wintour – the chairwoman – has been accused of “ruining” the Met Ball, and some members of New York’s elite have complained that she made it too “populist”.
But only an irate snob would object that Wintour’s broader guest list — which includes the likes of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian in attendance — isn’t positive, even if it’s made with clenched teeth.
8th The political spit
Wintour has long had an interest in politics, such as when she put Kamala Harris on the cover of Fashion in January 2021 the world didn’t bat an eyelid. But her pantsuit and Converse trainers were widely criticized, with the internet calling it “disrespectful”.
Based on a new book by The New York Times Feeling belittled by reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, Harris asked aides: “Dignity Fashion Do you represent another world leader in this way? Wintour pushed back, admitting she chose the cover photo based on Harris looking “relatable.”
9 The Fur Protest
For decades, Wintour was as associated with her furs as she was with her black sunglasses. In 1996, during a luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel, a protester approached her table, pulled a dead raccoon from her bag and threw it onto her plate—barely flinching. But that was then: In 2020, she wore “fur-free” coats by Gucci and Stella McCartney.
While ell Furs and exotic skins were banned from its pages last year, Fashion still have to do this.
© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022
https://www.independent.ie/style/fashion/an-affair-tell-all-books-political-spats-and-fur-protests-the-nine-lives-of-anna-wintour-41527947.html Affair, tell-all books, political quarrels and fur protests: the nine lives of Anna Wintour