Anna Wintour

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Anna Wintour : biography

3 November 1949 –

Wintour has been accused of setting herself apart even from peers. "I do not think fiction could surpass the reality", a British fashion magazine editor says of The Devil Wears Prada. "[A]rt in this instance is only a poor imitation of life." Wintour, the editor says, routinely requests to be seated out of sight of competing editors at shows. "We spend our working lives telling people which it-bag to carry but Anna is so above the rest of us she does not even have a handbag."

Her successful request that key shows at the 2008 Milan Fashion Week be rescheduled for earlier in the week so she and other U.S.-based editors could have time to return home before the Paris shows led to complaints. Other editors said they had to rush through the earlier shows, and lesser-known designers who had to show later were denied an important audience. Dolce & Gabbana said Italian fashion was getting short shrift and Milan was becoming a "circus without sense."Moore, Malcolm; 22 February 2008; ""; The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 February 2008.

Giorgio Armani, who at the time was co-chairing a Met exhibition on superheroes’ costumes with Wintour, drew some attention for his cutting personal remarks. "Maybe what she thinks is a beautiful dress, I wouldn’t think was a beautiful dress", he said. While he claimed he couldn’t understand why people disliked her, saying he himself was indifferent, he expressed hope she hadn’t made a comment once attributed to her "the Armani era is over." He accused her of preferring French and American fashion over Italian.Peck, Sally; 21 February 2008; ""; The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 February 2008. Geoffrey Beene, who stopped inviting Wintour to shows after she stopped writing about him, called her "a boss lady in four-wheel drive who ignores or abandons those who do not fuel her tank. As an editor, she has turned class into mass, taste into waste".

Her remarks about obesity have caused controversy on more than one occasion. In 2005, Wintour was heavily criticised by the New York chapter of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance after Vogue editor-at-large Andr√© Leon Talley said on The Oprah Winfrey Show, at one point, Wintour demanded he lose weight. "Most of the Vogue girls are so thin, tremendously thin" he said, "because Miss Anna doesn’t like fat people."Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; 19 September 2005; ""; United Press International. Retrieved 18 October 2007. In 2009, residents of Minneapolis took umbrage after she told 60 Minutes she could "only kindly describe most of the people I saw as little houses." They noted their city had been named the third fittest in the nation that year by Men’s Fitness while New York had been named the fifth fattest.

Responses

Defenses of Wintour have often come from others. Amanda Fortini at Slate said she was comfortable with Wintour’s elitism since that was intrinsic to fashion:

Emma Brockes sees this in Wintour herself: "[Her] unwavering ability to look as if she lives within the pages of her magazine has a sort of honesty to it, proof that, whatever one thinks about it, the lifestyle peddled by Vogue is at least physically possible."

Some friends see her purported coldness as just traditional British reserve, or shyness. Brockes says it may be mutual, "partly a reflection of how awkward people are with her, particularly women, who get preemptively chippy when faced with the prospect of meeting Fashion Incarnate."Brockes, Emma; 27 May 2006; ""; The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2007. Wintour describes herself as shy, and Harry Connick Jr., who escorted her and Bee to shows in 2007, agrees.Smith, Liz; 12 February 2007; ; New York Post. Retrieved 12 February 2007. When Morley Safer asked her about complaints about her personality, she said

She has made similar statements in defence of her reported refusal to hire fat people. "It’s important to me that the people that are working here, particularly in the fashion department", she says, "will present themselves in a way that makes sense to the outside world that they work at Vogue"