Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anna Wintour: Scary Lady or Fabulously Fierce?

She has been the British-born editor-in-chief of US Vogue since 1988, she has her own trademark hairstyle and she strikes fear into every intern she comes across.  Everyone knows that 'The Devil Wears Prada' was based on a former employee's experiences with her in the office and given that her nickname is "Nuclear Wintour", you know she isn't going to be all flowers and candyfloss.  She intimidates men and women alike due to her ice-queen exterior so I was really interested to watch the recent documentary on the More4 channel, 'The September Issue' to really get an insight into what she is like day-to-day.  Saying that, I know she has the power to manipulate which scenes are used in the documentary and she definitely has access to a powerhouse legal team if she feels the need to sue for deffamation of character.  So we all have to take documentaries like this with a pinch of salt I think.

Here's the trailer for the programme:

Putting that aside, the documentary, which centres around all the work that goes into the biggest and most important Vogue issue of the year, was a must see for me.  I'm always fascinated by the amount of hard work that goes into every facet of a magazine, every page is carefully crafted, designed and styled, like a piece of fine art.  Let's face it, Vogue is a good example of modern iconic art in all it's disposable glory (although I know alot of people keep every issue!).

Anna Wintour has been criticised in the past for wearing fur and also for promoting 'elitist' views on beauty in the magazine by insisting already slender celebs, destined for the cover, lose more weight until they reach a size that is acceptable to her.  She also tends to choose what the celebs will wear on the cover, even celebs/figures as influential as Oprah Winfrey and Hilary Clinton!
She always wears Wayfarer shades and for a long time, I just assumed this was to intimidate people further, to promote the 'ice queen' image and to make her expressions harder to read (I personally don't like it when you can't see someone's eyes when you meet them).  However, I found out that these are prescription sunglasses for her deteriorating vision, a hereditory condition.  It seemed curious to me that someone who comes across as so strong and indestructable could be hiding their self-labelled 'weakness' behind a pair of shades, a kind of armour to protect her from the world.  Is she scared that we might actually get to see a human side to her? Something vulnerable or some smidgen of emotion that might make her seem more like the rest of us?

Many people feel she is a style icon and often emulate her image...
Don't get me wrong, I respect any woman who can command the world of fashion on a global scale and have the world's most famous and brilliant designers and photographers on her beckon call.  Can you be in such a prestigious role without being stubborn, emotionally distant and extremely blunt and rude at times? Maybe not.  I also know that she has probably sacrificed alot in her personal life to be in that job...missing time with her children, neglecting romantic relationships, etc.  But I know one thing...I definitely wouldn't want to work in the same office as her.  I think I'm far too much of a sensitive soul and she would have me crying into my morning coffee before the mail had even been passed round.

But what I want to know is...what do you think of Anna Wintour?

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