Sunday, March 27, 2011

Anna Wintour: the personality and success of the high priestess of fashion.

The Wall Street Journal

*(You'll want to read my previous post -- "The September Issue" -- before this one).

The name is Anna Wintour.

If you are anybody in the world of fashion and you are not in her inner circle, you are terrified. To those of us who have never been acquainted with her, she is the petite woman with the signature blonde bob behind the dark, round Chanel sunglasses sitting in the front row at fashion shows.

"Anna Wintour has this no nonsense personality," Brie Colangelo said. "She's cutthroat and says exactly what she thinks. She is the goddess of fashion because she is so brutally honest."

Wintour was born in 1949 and became editor at Vogue in 1988.  Though her reign over the fashion world did not begin until later in her life, she has always been connected to the world of journalism through her father, who was an editor of a London newspaper.

"I think my father really decided for me that I should work in fashion," Wintour recalls in "The September Issue."

With the help of her father and the connections of her journalist boyfriends, she quickly rose to the top in the fashion magazine industry.

Though she is known for her signature look and for being the best in the industry, most know her for her "ice princess" personality.

"At some stage in her career, Anna Wintour stopped being Anna Wintour and started being 'Anna Wintour,' at which point, like wings of a stately home, she closed off large sections of her personality to the public," The Guardian reported.

There have always been rumors of her volatile outbursts and her unrealistic requests. Hence, the birth of "The Devil Wears Prada."

"She is the editor of one of the most famous, if not the most famous, fashion magazine in the world," Colangelo said. "If she was easy going and indecisive people wouldn't respect her as much, work as hard to earn her approval, or respect her opinion."

Perhaps Colangelo has a point. Would Wintour be as worshiped by her army if she did not rule as a dictator? Vogue is definitely the Associated Press of the fashion world, being the most credible source, but would the publication still be so if it were not for the cutthroat personality of Wintour?

Jocelyne LaFortune, an aspiring journalist, agrees that Wintour's strong personality has played a large role in establishing Vogue as the bible of fashion.

"It's hard to imagine someone who isn't as strong willed being successful in an industry that is so cutthroat and competitive," LaFortune said.

Afterall, Wintour is quoted as saying: "You either know fashion or you don't."

The September Issue.

The Wall Street Journal

“There is something about fashion that can make people very nervous,” Anna Wintour, the chief editor at Vogue, explains in the ninety-minute documentary “The September Issue.”

Perhaps, it is the high priestess of fashion herself that puts everyone on edge when it comes to fashion, as we have seen in Meryl Streep's depiction of her in the "Devil Wears Prada."

However, this documentary, which follows the Vogue editor through the drama of piecing together the 2007 September issue (the most coveted issue of the year), shows a softer, funnier version of Wintour that will make any fashion fanatic adore her.

This documentary allows us to follow Wintour and her top-of-the-line fashion team around the world to London, Paris, Rome and New York as they put together the fattest issue (over five pounds in weight) of Vogue to date. I adored watching the Vogue entourage travel to Versailles and Rome -- places I visited while living abroad last year. The dream world of Vogue appears more tangible after experiencing these places first-hand -- the places are just as glamorous as the garments being modeled.

My roommate Brie Colangelo -- a California native -- introduced me to this documentary last summer. She discovered this documentary from a review in "Entertainment Weekly."

"I am not a fashionista in any sense of the world," Colangelo said. "But I enjoy fashion and I enjoyed this documentary. I am not one to spend a lot of time on my fashion, but this documentary definitely made me think more highly of the fashion and how much work goes into an outfit -- not to mention a fashion magazine."

Colangelo said she was very impressed and has more respect for the world of fashion after seeing this documentary.

"I really enjoyed this documentary because it gave us a behind-the-scenes look at Vogue and how Anna Wintour works and decides what fashion is in or out," Colangelo said.

The documentary also introduces us to Wintour's family life and we meet her daughter, Bee Shaffer, who does not share or understand her mother's passion for the fashion industry.

"Some valid points are made about how fashion is viewed by both fashionistas and those who believe fashion is unimportant and not influential in the world."

Either way, the fashion, the drama and the glamour of "The September Issue" will leave you drooling.