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Power and Fashion: Anna Wintour is Vogue

Power and Fashion: Anna Wintour is Vogue

Anna Wintour: Some may call her demeanor Icy but she is one of the most powerful women in the fashion industry. I ABSOLUTELY love her style.

Who is Anna Wintour according to The Biography?
Born on November 3, 1949, in London, England, to newspaper editor Charles Wintour and philanthropist Elinor Wintour, magazine editor Anna Wintour has become an international fashion icon in her role as editor-in-chief of the highly influential Vogue magazine. She is known for her oversized dark glasses, high heels, sharp bob hairstyle, and icy demeanor.

The management style and drive that Wintour would later show as a magazine editor was in part inspired by her late father, a decorated World War II veteran who'd earned a tough, stern, and talented reputation as editor of the London Evening Standard. Wintour never shied away from the similarities she shared with the man known as "Chilly Charlie." "People respond well to people who are sure of what they want," Wintour told 60 Minutes in May 2009.

Long before Vogue, however, Anna Wintour started out in the fashion department of Harper's & Queen in London. Over the years, she rose up the editorial ladder and bounced from publication to publication between New York and London. In 1976, she moved to New York and took over as fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar. Still, in her 20s and still in New York, Wintour left Harper's for a job at Viva, a publication owned by the same outfit that managed Penthouse. There, Wintour essentially became the magazine's fashion department, cutting her teeth as a high-end editor and manager. Wintour spent generously on photographers and shoots, arranging for expensive trips to places like the Caribbean and Japan.

Long before Vogue, however, Anna Wintour started out in the fashion department of Harper's & Queen in London. Over the years, she rose up the editorial ladder and bounced from publication to publication between New York and London. In 1976, she moved to New York and took over as fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar. Still, in her 20s and still in New York, Wintour left Harper's for a job at Viva, a publication owned by the same outfit that managed Penthouse. There, Wintour essentially became the magazine's fashion department, cutting her teeth as a high-end editor and manager. Wintour spent generously on photographers and shoots, arranging for expensive trips to places like the Caribbean and Japan.

Getty Images

Getty Images

From British 'Vogue' to American 'Vogue'

In 1986, two years after she married South African psychiatrist David Shaffer, Wintour returned to London as chief editor of the Condé Nast-owned British Vogue. Not surprisingly, Wintour had her own ideas about the magazine and where it needed to go.

"I want Vogue to be pacy, sharp, and sexy, I'm not interested in the super-rich or infinitely leisured. I want our readers to be energetic, executive women, with money of their own and a wide range of interests," she told the London Daily Telegraph. "There is a new kind of woman out there. She's interested in business and money. She doesn't have time to shop anymore. She wants to know what and why and where and how."

Wintour's sharp critiques and lack of patience soon earned a few memorable nicknames: "Nuclear Wintour" and "Wintour of Our Discontent." The editor, though, relished it. "I'm the Condé Nast hit man," she told a friend. "I love coming in and changing magazines."

Her next big makeover came in 1987 with another Condé Nast publication, Home and Garden, where she summarily changed the publication's title to HGand managed to reject nearly $2 million of already-paid-for photos and articles.

Grumblings about Wintour's changes were quick to appear, but her bosses at Condé Nast were clearly behind her, doling out a salary of more than $200,000 to its demanding editor, and allowing a $25,000 annual allowance for clothes and other amenities. In addition, the magazine's owners arranged for Concorde flights between New York and London so Wintour and her husband could be together.

Image Source: Alexander Wang

Image Source: Alexander Wang

Wintour: A Fashion Influencer

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 Oprahthat 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 then maybe I am."

To read more about Anna Wintour and other Influencers visit Biography.com

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