Anna Wintour: 7 Things You Didn′t Know
Over the course of her incredibly illustrious career, Anna Wintour has built quite the CV and racked up almost every honour the fashion industry has to offer. Not only has she occupied one of the most important and influential positions in the industry, serving as the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue US for the past 30 years, but she’s also gone on to become the first ever Artistic Director of the entire Condé Nast publishing empire - a job created especially for her. So, as we celebrate the Dame turning 68, we found some intriguing facts you might just want to know...
Written in History
Whilst Wintour is a complete separate entity in New York, she has notable family ties within the British publishing industry. Her father, Charles Wintour, was the editor of the London Evening Standard for many a years and her brother, Patrick, followed in the family footsteps by working as the political editor for The Guardian. The pedigree of successful journalism that runs in her blood also seemed to be the reason for her departure from the UK. Wintour said, “I’m often asked why I left London for New York in the late seventies, and the reason is because five years of being asked over and over again if I was the daughter of Charles Wintour was more than enough.”
Back in 1975, a young Anna Wintour was fired from her position as Junior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar. The knockback only strengthened her and a mere 13 years after being let go from Harper’s, she became the editor-in-chief of Vogue. The reasoning behind her Harper’s Bazaar firing was because she ‘didn’t understand the US market’. We wonder, are they prepared to eat their fashionable hats now?
The Purpose Accident
Anna Wintour’s first Vogue US cover featured Michaela Bercu, an Israeli model, who wore a $10,000 bejewelled Christian Lacroix jacket simply paired with $15 jeans because she couldn't fit into the matching skirt. The style definitely was not the norm of the time and the printers actually questioned the cover of the magazine, thinking there had been a mistake. Wintour commented, “Afterwards, in the way that these things can happen, people applied all sorts of interpretations: it was about mixing high and low, Michaela was pregnant, it was a religious statement. But none of these things was true. I had just looked at that picture and sensed the winds of change. And you can’t ask for more from a cover image than that”.
Wintour may help create all the latest trends in the pages of Vogue, but her style remains remarkably consistent. Whilst she definitely has certain clothing features or silhouettes that she gravitates towards, the one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is her fashionably iconic bob haircut. Her signature trim dates back as far as we can remember with her family saying she has had the hairstyle since she was 15. You could say some in the fashion industry are chameleons; Wintour is definitely not one of them.
Never to conform, Wintour would shorten the length of her school skirt (it was brown, finished with pleats and cut just below the knee). She subsequently left her school and enrolled in a training programme at Harrods. At her parents demand, she also took fashion classes at a nearby school however quit after a short while saying, “You either know fashion or you don’t”.
The fashion industry is known for its late night shows and all night partying. So it may come to a surprise to many when we say the Queen of Fashion doesn’t actually drink. That’s right- Anna Wintour is teetotal. In line with her ridiculously early wakeups and very early bedtime, Wintour chooses to forego the champagne and cocktails flowing at shows and events. Simply coffee and water for this one.
Wintour is Coming
Wintour has been the Editor-in-Chief for Vogue US since the 1980’s; prior to this she spent a year fulfilling the same role at Vogue for the UK edition, where she hired and fired staff to exert more control of the publication. During this time, she earned the nickname ‘Nuclear Wintour’ and many industry editors labelled the period ‘The Wintour Of Our Discontent’. She also took editorial roles for the likes of Harper’s Bazaar and New York City. What some may not know, however, is that Wintour spent some time at the women’s erotic magazine, Viva. The adult’s magazine was started by Kathy Keeton, then wife of Bob Guccione, publisher to the very hardcore pornographic magazine, Penthouse. She rarely discusses her time there due to that connection.
Look at that. You learn a new thing everyday... or seven. As we continue to celebrate the brilliance of Anna Wintour, take a look at these 73 questions with the powerhouse herself: