November 3, 1949– Anna Wintour:
“Create your own style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.”
Is there anyone else that knows the Fashion World better than Anna Wintour, the Editor of Vogue Magazine since 1988 and currently the Artistic Director of all of Condé Nast Publications?
When she joined Vogue, taking over for Grace Mirabella after her 15 years, Wintour sparked a new look and new energy at the publication and she became one of the most influential figures in the fashion industry. She also became a Fashion Icon and Gay Icon with her iconic pageboy haircut, trademark black Chanel sunglasses and famously steely demeanor.
Wintour inhabits the sort of lifestyle all fashionistas die for. At the time, Vogue had lost some of its readership to rival Elle Magazine. She guided Vogue away from its lifestyle coverage and reestablished it as the dominant American fashion magazine.
London born Wintour, a member of a titled and wealthy family, moved to NYC when she 21-years-old after spending time in the trenches at Harper’s Bazaar and Viva. She found work at New York Magazine and House And Garden. She returned to London for a year to turn around British Vogue, and later assumed control of the franchise’s magazine back in NYC. Her use of the magazine to shape the fashion industry has been the subject of much debate.
Wintour has been in attendance at more than 5,000 fashion shows as a representative of Vogue. Her clothing budget is said to be more than $200,000 a year. She shares her front row seats with her celebrity friends, like Lupita Nyong’o, Kayne and Kim, Sarah Jessica Parker and Justin Timberlake.
Wintour is noted as an intimidating and exacting boss, with a disposition that has earned her the nickname “Nuclear Wintour”. The wildly popular novel The Devil Wears Prada (2003) is by Lauren Weisberger, Wintour’s former assistant. In the 2006 film version, Meryl Streep’s terrifying character Miranda Priestley is more than a little bit inspired by Wintour. She is the subject of another film, R.J. Cutler’s delicious documentary The September Issue (2009).
“I’m very good at delegating. People work much better when they have a real sense of responsibility. But at the same time, I don’t like surprises. I like to be aware at all times of what’s going on.”
Wintour has worn her hair in that signature bob since she was 15-years-old. The sunglasses are more than a fashion statement:
“I can sit in a show and if I am bored out of my mind, nobody will notice… At this point, they have become, really, armor.”
For her own clothing, Wintour rarely goes for bright patterns over tasteful black or beige, and she is usually wearing Manolo Blahnik sling-back shoes. It is rumored that she owns the same pair in different shades to match her skin color as she tans.
In June 1999, Condé Nast moved from its longtime home at 350 Madison Avenue to a new skyscraper, 4 Times Square as part of the revitalization of the neighborhood. Last spring Wintour and staff moved to new offices on the 26th floor at the brand new One World Trade Center, part of that turnaround in the area of way-downtown on the Island of Manhattan.
Wintour has two children with her first husband, David Shaffer. Her daughter, Bee Shaffer, is a segment producer on Late Night With Seth Meyers. Her son, Charlie Shaffer, is a medical student at Columbia University.
Wintour’s current boyfriend is Texan investor/Broadway producer Shelby Bryan. While both were still married, they started an affair. Those two crazy kids met at a benefit for the New York Ballet. Both Bryan and Wintour ended their marriages and they now have a close, committed relationship and live together in Greenwich Village. They have been a couple for 16 years, though they have rarely have been spotted together. She does seem happier these days. Lately in photographs she is shown smiling and laughing, sometimes without the sunglasses (which are corrective lenses).
Wintour has been a longtime advocate of liberal causes and she is super supporter and friend to President Obama and First Lady Michelle. She supported Hillary Clinton in her current bid for the White House. She was a part of Clinton’s long list of wealthy donors or “Hillblazers” as well as serving as Clinton’s consultant on her pantsuit and hair choices. She used her first ever Tweet as an opportunity to celebrate the Supreme Court’s repeal of DOMA in June, 2013:
“Today’s rulings are a big step forward for all Americans striving to achieve equality. I couldn’t be happier or more proud. A.W.”
Wintour also made headlines when she condemned The Sultan Of Brunei for imposing horrifying anti-LGBT laws. In a bold stance, Wintour publicly stated that Vogue would no longer use the Sultan’s Dorchester Hotels.The company was then forced to cancel its annual fashion competition and gala known as the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize and was the subject of a boycott during Paris fashion week.
On the announcement of The Supreme Court’s ruling on Marriage Equality, Wintour stated:
“I am thrilled. There were tears in the office of Vogue today in the support of gay marriage… I think it’s long overdue. As far as I’m concerned, having the right to say “I Do” is as fundamental as the right to vote.”
Wintour lives in a four story, 4000 square foot, 19th century townhouse on Sullivan Street. She has been quite the vocal neighbor. In 2010, she tried to stop the opening of Miss Lily’s Jamaican Café on her block.
“I am completely concerned. This is a unique historic neighborhood. I’m also concerned for the safety of the kids here.”
She is considered a feminist for bringing changes to Vogue that reflected, acknowledged and reinforced advances in the rights of women. In 2008, after Hillary Clinton turned down a Vogue cover on the grounds that it would make her look “too feminine”, Wintour made note of the pressures female politicians are put under by the media:
“The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying. This is America, not Saudi Arabia.”
Wintour is a big tennis fan, and she can often be spotted smiling from the sidelines at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. It’s fun to see photos of her yelling and jumping out of her seat.
Her love of fur in fashion has brought the ire of animal rights activists, especially from People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In Paris in 2005, a PETA supporter threw a pie in Wintour’s face. Wintour: “I think it was organic…” When asked what action she would take as a result of the incident she simply answered: “Wear more fur.”
Wintour is known as the ultimate arbiter of style and as one of the most recognizable faces in fashion. She was named as one of The 100 Most Powerful Women In The World by Forbes Magazine.
“I don’t think of myself as a powerful person. You know, what does it mean? It means you get a better seat in a restaurant or tickets to a screening or whatever it may be. But it is a wonderful opportunity to be able to help others, and for that I’m extremely grateful.”
This spring, Wintour became a Dame. Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to fashion and journalism. For the ceremony at Buckingham Palace, Wintour wore those trademark sunglasses, but removed them before entering the ballroom, where she received the award from one of our favorite queens. The notedly enigmatic editor smiled broadly after the ceremony. She also revealed that the Queen had struggled to attach the insignia to her pink, belted Chanel suit during the ceremony.
Wintour has been a Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum Of Art since 1999. In her role as chair of its annual fundraiser, she has raised $200 million for The Anna Wintour Costume Center at The Met. The annual Met Gala is probably the biggest and most important social event in our country, bigger than The Academy Awards or my summer block party.
As World Of Wonder writer and noted Pop Artist Trey Speegle reported on Monday, Wintour stopped by The Late Late Show With James Corden where the two Brits played Corden’s disgusting game “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts” a segment which shows celebrities forced to eat disgusting food or answer tough questions.
Choosing between a bacon wrapped pizza or rank designers Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren from best to worst. Corden and Wintour continued to ask one another tough questions including Cordon asking her “Who would you never invite back to the Met Gala?“. You won’t believe which famous papaya-colored White Nationalist Fascist-leaning world leader she chose. During the nine-minute feature, Wintour put to bed those rumors she had slept with Reggae star Bob Marley (she didn’t, she wished she had).
I like reading about Wintour and I like to think that if we met, we would really hit it off. But, she needs to be warned: I hate having a boss.