Anna Wintour

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Anna Wintour : biography

3 November 1949 –

Her defenders have called criticism sexist. "Powerful women in the media always get inspected more thoroughly than their male counterparts", said The New York Times in a piece about Wintour shortly after The Devil Wears Prada‘s release.Carr, David; 10 July 2006; ""; The New York Times, retrieved from plainsfeminist.blogspot.com 10 December 2006. When she took over at Vogue, gossip columnist Liz Smith reported rumours she had gotten the job through an affair with Si Newhouse. A reportedly furious Wintour made her anger the subject of one of her first staff meetings. She still complained about it when accepting a media award in 2002.Oppenheimer, 286.

She has been called a feminist whose changes to Vogue have reflected, acknowledged and reinforced advances in the status of women. Reviewing Oppenheimer’s book in The Washington Monthly, managing editor Christina Larson notes Vogue, unlike many other women’s magazines, Wintour, unlike Vreeland, "…shifted Vogue’s focus from the cult of beauty to the cult of the creation of beauty". To her, the focus on celebrities is a welcome development as it means women are making the cover of Vogue at least in part for what they have accomplished, not just how they look.

Complaints about her role as fashion eminence grise are dismissed by those familiar with how she actually exercises it. "She’s honest. She tells you what she thinks. Yes is yes and no is no", according to Karl Lagerfeld. "She’s not too pushy" agrees François-Henri Pinault, chief executive officer of PPR, Gucci’s parent company. "She lets you know it’s not a problem if you can’t do something she wants." Defenders also point out she continued supporting Gucci despite her strong belief PPR should not have let Tom Ford go. Designers such as Alice Roi and Isabel Toledo have flourished without indulging Wintour or Vogue. Her willingness to throw her weight around has helped keep Vogue independent despite its heavy reliance on advertising dollars. Wintour was the only fashion editor who refused to follow an Armani ultimatum to feature more of its clothes in the magazine’s editorial pages, although she has also admitted if she has to choose between two dresses, one by an advertiser and the other not, she will choose the former every time. "Commercial is not a dirty word to me".

Wintour herself, when asked about it, dismisses the notion that she has all the power attributed to her. "I don’t think of myself as a powerful person," she told Forbes in 2011, when it named her 69th on its list of the world’s hundred most powerful women. "You know, what does it mean? It means you get a better seat in a restaurant or tickets to a screening or whatever it may be. But it is a wonderful opportunity to be able to help others, and for that I’m extremely grateful."

In response to criticisms like Beene’s, she has defended the democratisation of what were once exclusive luxury brands. "It means more people are going to get better fashion", she told Dana Thomas. "And the more people who can have fashion, the better".

Early life

The young Wintour was educated at the independent North London Collegiate School, where she frequently rebelled against the dress code by taking up the hemlines of her skirts.Oppenheimer, 15 At the age of 14 she began wearing her hair in a bob.Oppenheimer, 21. She developed an interest in fashion as a regular viewer of Cathy McGowan on Ready Steady Go!,Oppenheimer, 22. and from the issues of Seventeen her grandmother sent from America.The September Issue, 0:19. "Growing up in London in the ’60s, you’d have to have had Irving Penn’s sack over your head not to know something extraordinary was happening in fashion", she recalled.The September Issue, 0:18. Her father regularly consulted her when he was considering ideas for increasing readership in the youth market.