I must begin by saying I have never purchased Vogue Magazine. I sometimes think putting my hair in a pony tail in the morning is the same thing as taking a shower. In case that lead in is too obtuse, here it is plain and simple. I know nothing about fashion whatsoever. But I watched with interest this past Sunday, 60 Minute’s piece on Anna Wintour, Vogue Magazine’s twenty something year iconic leader and known best over the past years as the evil Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.
I was disquieted through the whole thing and couldn’t figure out why, so I watched it again. I watched it three times before my mind figured it out. I kept thinking she was making me uncomfortable but it wasn’t her.
Here are the facts on Anna Wintour. She has successfully published the premier fashion magazine (often more than 800 pages) every month for the past thirty years. She makes or breaks fashion designer’s careers. The richest man in France, and head of the Luxury company, LVMH, Bernard Arnault, called her and asked her who should be the new Chanel designer. She told him. And, he hired him. “It was the smartest thing I ever did for Chanel.” I won’t go on because I’m told I can be too wordy, but you get the picture.
Here is how Morley Safer opened his interview with her.
“She is said to be the most powerful woman in fashion and she does nothing to dispel that belief.” Huh? Can you imagine an opening line of a 60 Minutes piece with Bill Gates. “He is said to be the smartest man in the world, and he does nothing to dispel that belief.” I can’t continue, but the interview did in exactly the same manner.
“People have called you ambitious, driven, needy, a perfectionist, a bitch and competitive. Are you?” She looked out from underneath her shielding bangs and quietly answered, “Well, I am ambitious, I am driven. I care about it being the best it can be so I guess I’m a perfectionist. I try hard not to be a bitch.” Anna, honey, should should have called me. Here is the answer. “Well, Morley, is the head of any company, ambitious, needy, driven, a perfectionist, etc?”
“Is it true you always look perfect?” I have no words, but she quietly answered, “I try to always look my best.” He then goes on to say that the company pays for her hair and her make up each day and a reported $250,000 clothing allowance. Duh.
He shows her at a fashion show. He shows her in her office and talks about how you walk a long way into the office and that’s done on purpose to intimidate. Bite me. Here’s what is really cool. Her office is exactly as the office in The Devil Wears Prada, and she didn’t change it after the movie so it wouldn’t remind everyone of the movie the way I would have done.
So, I go to the 60 minutes website and look at the videos they didn’t include. You should too. She is amazing talking about the history of fashion. She talks about a piece on American Obesity. She is articulate and brutally honest. She discusses telling Oprah to lose 20 pounds before going on the cover in clear, insightful sincerity. She is my new favorite person. And, she says her toughness may be an armor because she has a lot to do. I have to also say there are a number of people who have worked for her for years. They didn’t look intimidated or beaten.
Don’t you worry Anna. I’m mad as hell and taking action. I’m going to lose 50 pounds over the next month. I’m getting my hair blown dry tomorrow and then heading to Saks to get my make up done after which I’m going into debt to purchase every single thing they put on my face including the $200 eye shadow brush. I’m subscribing to Vogue Magazine and giving it to my daughter who will be attending law school next year for Christmas. Don’t you worry new friend, I’ve got your back.