Best Known For
Anna Wintour is best known as the influential editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, and for her iconic pageboy haircut and large sunglasses.
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Despite her claims to the contrary, Wintour became a force in the fashion world, not only through her decisions about what to feature in her magazine, but also by breaking in newer designers and celebrating their styles. She helped make the careers of such designers as Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen. In recent years, her work has made her a power broker between designers and retailers. In 2006,
she initiated a deal between men's designer Thom Browne and Brooks Brothers, which resulted Brown's work appearing in 90 of the retailer's stores.
Over the years Wintour also demonstrated an ability to speak her mind. As gentle as she could be about the matter, the editor informed Oprah that she'd need to lose 20 pounds before she would put her on the cover of her magazine. And early in 2008, when Hillary Clinton snubbed Vogue out of fears that appearing too feminine might undermine her presidential ambitions, Wintour fired back at the Clinton camp with a letter in the February issue of her magazine.
"The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying," she wrote. "This is America, not Saudi Arabia. It's also 2008: Margaret Thatcher may have looked terrific in a blue power suit, but that was 20 years ago. I do think Americans have moved on from the power-suit mentality."
Of course, with that power and influence comes a well-documented ego. Through the years, Wintour developed a reputation for being aloof and cold. It has been said that she is difficult to work for, and insists that her staff always look fashion-forward and rail-thin. Wintour, a mother of two who famously wore Chanel micro-mini skirts throughout her pregnancies, doesn't exactly deny she can be a demanding person for which to work. "I'm very driven by what I do," Wintour has said. "I am certainly very competitive. I like people who represent the best at what they do, and if that turns you into a perfectionist than maybe I am."
One of Wintour's former assistants, Lauren Weisberger, wrote The Devil Wears Prada (2003), a fictionalized account of her days at Vogue. Her main character, played by Meryl Streep, was a demanding boss not unlike Wintour. The book was made into a film in 2006, and Wintour turned heads when she arrived at the film's premiere dressed in Prada. This move showed critics and fans alike that Wintour was not without a sense of humor.
"The thing about Lauren's book and this film is that I do not think fiction could surpass the reality," a UK fashion editor told a reporter around the time of the movie's release. "You only have to see Anna's requests for seats at the New York shows to get an inkling of how art in this instance is only a poor imitation of life. Most of us just ask for seats in the first or second row. She has her people request a seat from which she will not have to see or be seen by specific rival editors. We spend our working lives telling people which it-bag to carry but Anna is so above the rest of us she does not even have a handbag.
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