Profile: Anna Wintour
Wintour joined Vogue as editor in 1988 when the magazine was at a low point. During her tenure at the helm, she has turned the publication into a fashion bible. Ten years after her arrival, Vogue has a 41.9 percent share of the market, and a circulation of 1.1 million. That kind of pull translates into serious power for the magazine's editor. Wintour has the influence to make stars out of up-and-coming designers.
The rest of the media treats Wintour like a movie star, chronicling her life on entertainment news shows. But more than a celebrity, Wintour is the kind of person others want to have on their side. The Council of Fashion Designers of America honored her with a special award for her "Global Influence on Fashion." Others in the industry, from retail executives to planners to window designers, trust her advice because she knows what's "hot" and what works, whether it be a photographer, a model, or a theme for a show. And of course, people outside the industry look to her for fashion ideas and advice.
So what's she like, really? Wintour is slender, elegant, and meticulously appointed - the epitome of the Vogue persona in Chanel sunglasses and stiletto heels. There is some debate about whether Vogue influenced her style, or she rubbed off on Vogue. The latter seems to make the most sense, considering the changes she's credited for at the magazine. Besides, some of Wintour's closest friends are the biggest names in the industry (Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, and John Galliano, to name a few); it would follow that she'd be a woman with incomparable taste. Her look has been emulated by everyone - from window dressers at Bergdorf's to the latest crop of nouveau riche women with something to prove. A stylist comes to her house each morning to do her hair, and Conde Nast gives her a generous clothing allowance. (Many designers won't accept money from her - the fact that she wears their clothes is payment enough.) Wintour earns about $1 million a year, including an interest-free mortgage and her clothing allowance.
~ Some say the ongoing feud between Wintour and the animal rights organization PETA is less de mode. Wintour makes no bones (sorry) about publicizing her love for fur and red meat, and as long been attacked by the group for advertising fur in her magazine. PETA activists have gone so far as to dump a dead raccoon on her plate at the Four Seasons Restaurant, and paint the words "fur hag" on the doorstep of her home. Most recently, activists protested outside Vogue's Christmas party at Balthazar in New York City. Wintour's response - in the giving spirit of the holiday - was to send out some dinner: a heaping platter of rare roast beef. Meow!
Though idolized by industry insiders and dowdy readers alike, Wintour has received her share of criticism over the years. Some say her fetish for fashion has detracted from the quality of the magazine's articles. And no one can deny that Vogue is clearly directed towards an affluent minority. For most, the magazine is a really just a fantasy book, a collection of images and ideas to spice up their wardrobes. Rumor has it that the editor only allows articles that deal with the rich and famous. (The June 1998 issue broached the subject of female genital mutilation - via a printed discussion between Somali supermodels Iman and Waris Dirie; Vogue apparently didn't consider interviewing t