Anna Wintour- Fashion’s Alma Mater
By Shri K

She is a fashion icon and has been recently awarded the title of ‘Dame’ Commander of the British Empire by the Queen. A formidable force in the fashion industry, Anna Wintour is said to have been the inspiration for the character Miranda Priestly in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. Editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine, she offers advice to movie stars, politicians and businessmen all around the globe.

Anna Wintour was born and raised in the UK. She was the editor for Vogue Britain before taking over its sister publication in America. Her work in fashion has had a rippling effect across politics, pop culture and art. She advises European luxury magnets on hot new designers and alerts designers to potential new investors. Anna has always had a knack of spotting the latest trends that will skyrocket the market.

Anna’s father was British and mother American. As a teenager, her passion for fashion was evident; she rebelled against school uniforms and did away with hemlines. Both her parents came from well educated and well to do families. Her father was the editor of Evening Standard and her mother the daughter of a Harvard law professor. Anna had journalism and business in her blood. Her father sought ideas from her to increase the paper’s readership amongst youth. She had big ideas and she sure had strong opinions on fashion trends. Anna also started dating older men when she was 15, which opened up many opportunities. At the same age of 15, she worked her first job at the Biba boutique (her father arranged the job for her). She then joined Harrods for a training program and briefly studied fashion as well. Her older boyfriend Richard Neville gave her some behind the scenes knowledge and experience regarding production in his magazine Oz. When she became editorial assistant at Harper’s & Queens, she used her contacts to promote new and exciting locations for photo shoots and that too by some of the most talented and ‘willing to experiment’ photographers. She had many rivals in London and decided to move to New York in search of greener and more rewarding pastures.

Anna’s ability to keep the print edition of Vogue going at a time when virtual magazines are the global norm illustrates both her talent and intelligence. Despite lay-offs and the arrival of the digital world, Anna has sustained the brand. The technological shift may have been a challenge but she has embraced it. She invites world leaders to talk to her editors-in-chief so as to get a pulse on change and look at it more innovatively. Her inspiration lies in people who are a part of the change and who know how to capitalize on it.

Anna believes that fashion mirrors what is going on in the world. It’s a reflection of and on society and how it stands at present not how it was in the past or will be in the future. Fashion is for the moment.

She has been described as “closed”; she is known to be inaccessible to people she doesn’t want to meet. An additional detail: one has to apparently walk about a mile to reach her in office if she does agree to meet you. There have been rumors of her nasty behavior while climbing the ladder of success, for example not allowing her junior staff to ride the elevator or initiate conversation with her. She may also be hated by animal activists for wearing fur, but her sense of style and fashion has shaped global tastes. And despite her A-list celebrities making the Met Gala a nightmare by spilling drinks everywhere and causing damage to one of the finest museums, one cannot deny the impact she has made in the world of fashion.

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