The Fashion World After Anna Wintour
A rumour that Anna Wintour was leaving Vogue spread like wildfire. Condé Nast says it’s not true. But what would that look like and why all the chatter?
For the last seven days, pretty much every conversation between fashion friends, book agents has started with the same five-word question: “Do you think it’s true?”
“It” being a report that came out last week in The New York Post that the reign of Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue since 1988 and the artistic director of Condé Nast since 2013, the woman memorialised by Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” and typically referred to as either the most powerful editor in fashion or the most feared editor in fashion, was ending.
The article — citing “stunned” anonymous sources — said that she was going to move on this summer after finishing her September issue, the largest of the year, and which she made famous when she agreed to let the documentarian R. J. Cutler into the Vogue offices to film its making. (If you haven’t watched September Issue on Netflix go watch it ! Amazing.)
The rumours had been swirling around the fashion ether for the last few months, but until The Post article appeared, no one had dared voice them in anything except a whisper. It was just so hard to imagine. Ms Wintour has been shaping our experience of fashion and dressing and fame for as long as most people can remember. Yet, though Condé Nast denied the article via unnamed spokesmen, and Robert A. Sauerberg Jr., the chief executive of Condé Nast, sent an internal note to his editors telling them to dismiss the gossip (and though the section of the article stating Ms Wintour had already arranged an exit interview with The New York Times is incorrect), it didn’t shut down the buzz.
Matters were not helped by the fact that while Jonathan Newhouse, the chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast International, whom The Post suggested was coming back to the United States to be chairman of the American arm, denied his part of the story to the Business of Fashion website, the article didn’t say anything about Ms Wintour. The smoke continued to rise until, at the end of last week, Mr Sauerberg had finally had enough.
“I am happy to tell you there is no truth to the rumours of Anna’s departure,” he wrote in an email to me. He called Ms Wintour “a great partner as we continue our ongoing efforts to transform the company into the future.”
To put her tenure in context: She has been empire building through five presidential administrations. Since before Tom Ford made his debut at Gucci, before the Marc Jacobs grunge collection and before Stella McCartney or Alexander McQueen graduated from fashion school. As David Carr once put it in The Times: “She does not put a finger in the wind to judge trends: she is the wind.”
Reghan Blake – blondeBLAKE