In the past few years Anna Wintour has evolved from ‘just’ editor-in-chief of Vogue US into an iconic image both in and of the fashion world, the oversized sunglasses and perfect bob cut being known to both insiders and the masses.
Within Vogue, Wintour has managed to almost single-handedly change the course of not just entire collections, but entire season trends; the England-born editor has, in the past decade, shifted the power scales of the fashion world so designers answer to the media and not the other way around. She is responsible for creating Vogue’s “Fashion’s Night Out”, which is now a worldwide event, and is not only a trustee of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art but also has a seat on President Obama’s Committee on Arts and Humanity.
One would think this would be (more than) enough for 63-year-old Wintour, whose career has never stagnated and even flourished with the recession as she brought a new, more approachable vision to Vogue US in a time when people would be more than ready to give up on the luxury of fashion. But maybe it is exactly because of this that Wintour’s new title came about: the appointment as artistic director for the entire Condé Nast.
It sounds, quite frankly, absolutely insane. But it is not unexpected. At an age when most people with a regular day job would be considering retirement, Wintour keeps racking on the credits, now being named responsible for the artistic direction of Condé Nast’s 18 publications – including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and, one of my personal favourites, GQ.
Vogue US has recently been receiving some backlash due to its increasingly commercial take on fashion, growing less intellectual and more ‘shopping guide’ each month. Maybe this is Wintour’s final test – she can either strike gold and completely revamp the entire Condé Nast, boosting sales up into surreal values, or she can destroy more cerebral magazines like Vanity Fair by trying to turn them into Vogue US (which is, right now, not much more than a trend report and a catalogue). This might mean the nearing of an end for Wintour and a slow push out of Vogue US… or an absolute stroke of genius and the revival of an entire publishing house, in a way that will allow her to stay for longer than expected, leaving a legend and a legacy behind.
In any case, whether she fails or succeeds, it’s Anna Wintour: she is untouchable and will forever be on a pedestal. Wintour does whatever she wants, and that’s exactly why we still love her.