Anna Wintour : biography
Ten months later she finally became editor of Vogue. Under Mirabella, it had become more focused on lifestyles as a whole and less on fashion. Industry insiders worried that it was losing ground to the recently introduced American edition of Elle.
After making sweeping changes in staff, Wintour also changed the style of the cover pictures. Mirabella had preferred tight head shots of well-known models in studios; Wintour’s covers showed more of the body and were taken outside, like those Diana Vreeland had done years earlier. She used less well-known models, and mixed inexpensive clothes with the high fashion: the first issue she was in charge of, November 1988, featured 19-year-old Michaela Bercu in a $50 pair of faded jeans and a bejewelled T-shirt by Christian Lacroix worth $10,000. It was the first time a Vogue cover model had worn jeans.
Years later, Wintour admitted the photo had never been planned as the cover shot. "I just said, ‘Well, let’s just try this.’ And off we went. It was just very natural. To me it just said, ‘This is something new. This is something different,’" she said in 2011, when Vogue put its entire archive online. The printers called to make sure that was supposed to be the cover, as they thought a mistake might have been made.
"Wintour’s approach hit a nerve—this was the way real women put clothes together (with the likely exception of wearing multi-thousand-dollar T-shirts)", one reviewer says. On the June 1989 cover, another model was shown in wet hair, with just a bathrobe and no apparent makeup. Photographers, makeup artists and hairstylists got credited along with the models.
Under her editorship, the magazine renewed its focus on fashion and returned to the prominence it had held under Vreeland. Vogue held its position as market leader against three contenders: Elle; Harper’s Bazaar, which had lured away Liz Tilberis, Wintour’s most prominent deputy, and Mirabella, a magazine Rupert Murdoch created for Wintour’s fired predecessor. Her most serious competitor was within the company: Tina Brown, editor of Vanity Fair and later The New Yorker.Oppenheimer, 293-96.
At the end of the decade, another of Wintour’s inner circle left to run Harper’s Bazaar. Kate Betts, seen as Wintour’s likely successor, had broadened the magazine’s reach by commissioning stories with a more hard-news edge, about women in politics, street culture and the financial difficulties of some major designers. She had also added the "Index" section, a few pages of tips meant to be torn out of the magazine. At staff meetings she earned Wintour’s respect as the only person who publicly challenged her.Gray, 2.
The two began to disagree about the magazine’s direction. Betts felt Vogue‘s fashion coverage was getting too limited. Wintour in turn thought that the stories with popular culture angles Betts was assigning were beneath readers, and began pairing Betts with Plum Sykes, whom Betts reportedly detested as a "pretentious airhead". Eventually she left, complaining to the New York Times that Wintour had not even sent her a baby gift. Wintour wrote an editor’s letter that complimented Betts and wished her well.Gray, 3.
Betts was one of several longtime editors to leave Vogue around the millennium. A year later, Sykes, another putative successor, left to concentrate on her best-selling novels set in the city’s upper classes and a screenplay. A number of other editors also left to assume the top jobs at other publications. While some of their replacements didn’t last, a new group of core editors formed.
The September 2004 issue was 832 pages, the largest issue of a monthly magazine ever published at that time, since exceeded by the September 2007 issue Cutler’s documentary covered. She also oversaw the introduction of three spinoffs: Teen Vogue, Vogue Living and Men’s Vogue. Teen Vogue has published more ad pages and earned more advertiser revenue than either Elle Girl and Cosmo Girl, and the 164 ad pages in the début issue of Men’s Vogue were the most for a first issue in Condé Nast history. AdAge named her "Editor of the Year" for this brand expansion.22 October 2006; ""; Advertising Age. Retrieved 8 February 2007. Queen Elizabeth II appointed her Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.Hastings, Christopher; 14 June 2008; ""; The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 June 2008.