Whether you are a longtime Vogue subscriber or you have just picked up the magazine for the first time, you know who Anna Wintour is. And for that reason alone, you must read WSJ’s cover story on the Vogue editor in chief. In the profile, fashion industry figureheads – including Francois-Henri Pinault, Si Newhouse and Marc Jacobs – discuss Wintour’s persuasiveness and clout, while power players such as Harvey Weinstein and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg discuss her influence on the fashion world at large. In other words, there is plenty to learn about the world of Anna Wintour, so we suggest you read the entire article. In the meantime, however, here are five things we learned about Anna Wintour that you might not already know:
1. She uses her connections and power to help her inner circle of friends.
“I’m a streak player, but Anna’s there, good or bad,” says Harvey Weinstein, co-chair of the Weinstein Company, who goes back some 15 years with Wintour. “When I wasn’t doing so well, Anna would throw a party and put me next to Bernard Arnault.” Out of that came several business deals, says Weinstein (he declines to be more specific).
2. According to a former colleague, Wintour doesn’t “play against anyone’s expectations of her.”
Instead, Wintour has an arid sense of humor about her reputation. At a screening of “The Devil Wears Prada,” based on a roman à clef by a former Wintour assistant, she wore Prada. During a trip to China last fall, she was asked during a press conference whether she was really like that. “It’s true, of course, that I beat all my assistants, lock them in a cupboard and don’t pay them,” she deadpanned. “She’s got an eye-rolling way of laughing at the circus, even while she takes it deadly seriously,” says Luhrmann. Wintour herself puts it more simply: “I care deeply about my friends and my family and they know it, but work is work.”
3. There is only one answer when Wintour asks for something.
The unusual part, say her intimates, is that there’s never a direct quid pro quo. On the other hand, if Wintour does ask for something, there aren’t two possible answers. “If I get a request for something I don’t want to do,” says Marc Jacobs, “first I get an email, then a phone call from someone at Vogue, and now I don’t even bother to say no—I know the next call is from her.”
4. She doesn’t think Vogue is too clubby.
“I try to remain open to new people, but obviously there’s a stronger element of trust with people you’ve known for a long time,” she says. “I think we have a Vogue vocabulary, and there are certain people we like to have as the backbone of the magazine—Vogue’s signposts. We try very hard to integrate the familiar signatures with people we feel are new and up-and-coming, but I would rather err on the side of being a little more familiar than being too . . . What’s the right word? . . . Edgy.”
5. Her Condé Nast boss, S.I. Newhouse, has no plans to replace her.
As far as the occasional rumors about a successor for Wintour, who is 61, Newhouse has one word: “Never. I hope she’s here 10 years from now, 20 years from now.”