The famous silhouette at Fashion Week for the past 32 years. The perfectly coiffed helmut hairstyle. Oversized sunglasses. Statement Necklace. Calf-length dresses. Admired, feared, and copied, Anna Wintour commanded attention. Whether on purpose or not, when she entered the room her presence was felt far and wide.
As the daughter of famous newspaper editor Charles Wintour, publishing runs through her veins. Vogue USA sits at the top of a diminishing fashion magazine landscape besieged by the digital platforms. Now the resurgence of Black Lives Matter has placed the once venerated title and its editor in a cross hairs. As the pressure mounts for a more socially responsible outlook, many want answers about the lack of diverse voices in the fashion field, particularly at Vogue. Will Anna Survive?
The “C” Word
In Anna’s defense, her first cover model was Naomi Campbell in 1989. But, in 2020 the entire organization feels like a social club trapped in an episode of “Mad Men”. First, Andre Talley, former Vogue Editor at Large, released excepts from his book calling Wintour “A Colonial Broad”. OUCH!
Side Note: I plan on reading Mr. Talley’s book “The Chiffon Trenches”. I have some questions with a raised eyebrow concerning his new found “Identity” and “Sour Grapes” tell all.
I cannot remember a designer or creative of color championed by her or anyone at the publication. Based In New York City, I fail to see why it was difficult to find a Black Photographer. It took singer Beyonce to insist on one for her cover shoot. Former African American staff members (the few who worked there) complained of bad treatments and lazy stereotypes.
Can She Stay?
If a letter to Vogue staff on lack of support for African American Staff members was suppose to put out the fire, it only threw gasoline on a flame. Conde Nast Chairman Roger Lynch during a staff phone call defended the embattled Editor in Chief. Stating, “Wintour is staying put”. But with opens calls inside and out insisting on her resignation, it is hard to see how this corporate position is sustainable.
How will fashion handle this increasing awkward relationship? A one time asset suddenly has the potential of being a liability at fashion week. Social Media could be unforgiving if that scrutinizing silent gaze is sitting front row.
As for my real opinion. It was no secret many publishing houses were and are cultural insensitive. I would not have met the “hiring profile”. Vogue USA never impressed me on the creative level. It did not take risks. Nor did I find it particularly stimulating or at the forefront of style. It was about the establishment. Who made into the club. However, guilty as charged, I read the September issue.
Earning a reputation for control, Anna Wintour has learned as the rest of us, no one is in control during these times.