November 3, 1949– Is there anyone else that knows the Fashion World better than Anna Wintour, the Editor of Vogue Magazine since 1988 & 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 & new energy at the publication & became one of the most influential figures in the fashion industry, & she became a Fashion Icon & Gay Icon with her iconic pageboy haircut, trademark black Chanel sunglasses & famously steely demeanor. Wintour inhabits the sort of lifestyle all fashionistas would die for. At the time, Vogue had lost some of its readership to rival Elle Magazine. She guided Vogue away from its lifestyle coverage & reestablished it as the dominant American fashion magazine.
London born Wintour, a member of a titled & wealthy family moved to NYC when she 21 years old after spending time in the trenches at Harper’s Bazaar & Viva.
She now lives a life that is the envy of any fashionista. Wintour has been in attendance at more than 4,000 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 & Kim, Sarah Jessica Parker & Justin Timberlake.
Wintour is noted as an intimidating & exacting boss, with a disposition that has earned her the nickname “Nuclear Wintour”. The novel The Devil Wears Prada (2003) is by Lauren Weisberger, Wintour’s former assistant. In the film version in 2006, Meryl Streep’s terrifying character Miranda Priestley, is loosely inspired by Wintour.
“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 the signature bob since she was 15 years old. The sunglasses are more than a fashion statement:
“I can sit in a show & 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, & 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 address to a new skyscraper, 4 Times Square as part of the revitalization of the neighborhood. This spring Wintour & 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 2 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 Shelby Bryan. They have been a couple for 15 years, though they have never really been spotted together. She does seem happier these days. Lately in photographs she is shown smiling & laughing, sometimes without the sunglasses (which are corrective lenses).
Wintour has been a longtime advocate of liberal causes & a supporter & friend to President Obama & First Lady Michelle. She used her first ever Tweet as an opportunity to celebrate the Supreme Courts 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 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 & 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 4-story, 4000 square foot, 19th century townhouse on Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village. 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, & 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, & she can often be spotted smiling from the sidelines at the US Open & Wimbledon.
Her love of fur in fashion has brought the ire of animal rights activists, especially from PETA. In Paris in 2005, a PETA supporter threw a pie in Wintour’s face.
Wintour is known as an ultimate arbiter of style & 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, & for that I’m extremely grateful.”
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 approximately $150 million for The Anna Wintour Costume Center at The Met. The annual Met Gala is probably the biggest & most important social event in our country, bigger than The Academy Awards or my summer block party.
I like reading about Wintour & I like to think that if we met, we would get along. But, she needs to be warned: I hate having a boss.