If Diana Vreeland invented the fashion editor—as the late photographer Richard Avedon was quoted as saying at Vreeland’s 1989 memorial service—Anna Wintour invented the celebrity fashion editor. Since taking the reins at American Vogue in 1988 (she was editor of British Vogue and House & Garden before that), Wintour has transformed the fashion industry and the parameters of a magazine editor. Wintour’s version is a frosty, sunglassed superpower who dictates trends as freely as she reports on them, and whose influence extends far beyond her own editorial pages—to the title’s advertising side, for one. But also to the realms of society (see the star-studded and superexclusive Costume Institute Ball); pop culture (Meryl Streep famously played a thinly veiled version of her in The Devil Wears Prada; also see The September Issue, and the Halloween-plus-clothes-and-celebs global event that is Fashion’s Night Out); celebrity (she has anointed many an “It” actress via a Vogue cover), and, of course, fashion design (John Galliano owes much of his success to her, as do the young designer beneficiaries of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund). As for her trademark oversize shades, “I have terrible eyes and I get very bad headaches,” Wintour told WWD in November 1989, about a year after taking the helm at Vogue. “I wear them because I get tired, that’s all.”
Moment 99: Wintour Wonderland
Since taking the reins at American Vogue in 1988, Anna Wintour has drastically transformed the fashion industry and the parameters of a magazine editor.
Special IssueWWD 100 issue 11/01/2010