I feel honestly that i am not entitled to evaluate Anne Wintour’s contribution to fashion and the overall evolution of notion in publication.She’s far too successful to have done something wrong.Actually she’s far too successful not to be in tune with the times.
But reflecting the present and providing guidance to a very specific direction regarding fashion industry’s future,has made her a potential hazard to the very industry she so well knows and supports.My opinion is that too much authority in just a single person was never good in terms of showcasing various creativity paths and notions about the industry.I will,therefore present a few quotes of Mrs Wintour herself to realize what;s her vision,in her own words.
_Conde Nast CEO Charles Townsend promoted Wintour to her current role overseeing several other titles.(artistic director at Conde Nast).To date, neither Conde nor Wintour have ever publicly detailed what her role is, though she has since made some notable personnel changes — firing and installing new chief editors at Lucky and Traveler — and had influence over the cover choices for those magazines.During WWD conference,she stated her vision for the ”new Vogue” by saying that:’‘print is still the most important, profitable part of Vogue’s business, but that to be a true powerhouse, Vogue must do more than produce a monthly magazine. What Vogue has developed is clarity, authority [and] a point of view .She extended that to “extracurricular” programs like Vogue‘s Fashion Fund, which “feed into the power and authority of Vogue,”
Mrs Wintour clearly faces Vogue and all Conde Nast as a venture to promote the idea of a real fashion ”powerhouse” defined by ”clarity,authority and a point of view”.Its the first time that i hear capitalism’s basic principles applied to a magazine not as an expanding style but as an overall philosophy to be communicated.Of course,the antithesis with free thinking designers and photographers that refuse to obey authority or have an interesting yet different vision of the world,wont be promoted.Vogue comes first,fashion comes second.
-In 1986 Wintour undertakes the role of chief editor of the Condé Nast-owned British Vogue.She had her own ideas as where the magazine needed to go as expressed at the time in London Daily telegraph:”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,”to continue: “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.”
Turning Vogue from a talented persons’ artistic hub into a ”how-to” time saving magazine was an idea widely in tune with the 80-90’s female emancipation.Still,what is left from such an approach is the concept of ”doing things fast,bot at pace”.Fashion is what’s in high street,is designers’ RTW collections but is also ”Haute Couture” and ”Fashion as art”.From the three categories,Mrs Wintour was pretty much obviously supporting the two first ones.
-”I’m the Condé Nast hit man,” she once told a friend. “I love coming in and changing magazines.” We all know now that when you come aboard you will change the magazine in question.The problem is that while her authorities are expanding the more Wintourish the magazines she patronized was becoming.In first people liked that,so i give her a credit for forecasting a new,everchanging situation in the notion of fashion:’‘better,faster,disposable”.
-In 1987 she undertakes a new make-over,this time of another Condé Nast publication, Home and Garden,She quickly changes the name to HG and rejected nearly $2 million of already-paid-for photos and articles.For any other editor this would be the end,but Anne had the strong backing of Conde Nast bosses,which allowed her to survive this with zero cost.This is of no surprise though as she has always showed a more ”corporate” than ”artistic” approach in every publication she undertook,in tune with Conde Nast managers.She was also right about how wealthy,working women was feeling about fashion,they wanted someone to tell them what’s in fashion and where to get it.Being it their place herself,she provided exactly that and succeded.
-In 1988 she undertakes the role of editor-in-chief of Vogue Us,a publication that was losing sales at the point of her arrival.She decided once more that a ”make over” was needed,Αnd she was right.she explored new ground making the magazine more appealing with more ”grounded” content,not too arty and confusion,making Vogue US the real ”Bible” of how to shop/what/where.In another effort to further change direction to the magazine,Wintour played the winning card of Hollywood glam,showcasing a preference for celebrities rather than models on her covers.This was an move that was interpreted in both manners,as a revolutionary and as a shifting point from pure fashion and style to showbiz aesthetics.My idea is that this was to be proven a mistake in a the long run.
She can also gain credit for being the first to truly mix low-end fashion items with more expensive pieces in her photo shoots.This created a notion of freedom,as Wintour actually express what was already going on women’s wardrobes.For them,it felt nice for Vogue to justify choices they have made mostly out of need,thus calling them ”mix-and-match”.Another triumph regarding female buyers’ psychology,in all aspects.
Her power and ability to speak her mind became obvious in the ”Hilary Clinton issue”.Mrs Clinton simply snubbed Vogue for fear of appearing ”too feminine”,”less serious” only to get a reply from Wintour in an open letter at Vogue, that stated: ”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.” Unfortunately,Americans appeared to have not moved from the power suit mentality as much as she thought to.Of course,behind that open letter there was the anxiety to restore ”Vogue” and her name to the status before Clinton’s rejection.
Last but not least.In February 2012, she organized a fundraising event for President Barack Obama named “Runway to Win”.In the event she offered up Obama-themed fashions and accessories from american designers as Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch. She justified her initiative by simply stating in ”The York Times” that :“The runway is no longer just a runway, it’s now a force for change in politics,”
I am not someone that will dare to doubt her undeniable talent to run and transform a magazine.Nor will i omit to mention her patronizing new designers such as the late Alexander Mc Queen.I will just make the notice that she’s working more on her image and PR relations than on fashion itself.Fashion used to be fun,at the time of Mrs Vreeland. Wintour removed the fun from fashion.That done,the industry is now calling for a change that this time wont include Mrs Wintour and her sharply stated vision.I wonder if she can hear it.