She is one of the most respected – and feared! – figures in fashion. Anna Wintour might be turning 69 but she is far from ready to hang up her Manolos and swap the catwalk for a tea-room! Although she is a familiar face and certainly a fashion icon, Anna has always been a private person. To celebrate her big day here are some fascinating facts about the original fashion influencer.
Anna has had her iconic bob since she was 14 and is in no hurry to change up such a classic look. When she’s attending fashion weeks around the world the sleek look of her bob is maintained with two blow-dries a day – one first thing in the morning, and again early evening.
For decades Anna, at the helm of Vogue, has been lauded as one of the most powerful women in the fashion business, but she is modest about how much influence she can actually exert. “It simply isn’t true,” she says of her ‘most powerful’ tag. “I love my job, I love everything about it. I love the additional responsibility that I have as artistic director and I love journalism. My dad was an editor, my brother is a political editor, it is just a world that I am steeped in. And honestly without sounding pretentious, I don’t think about power or what that brings me. What does that really bring? A good table at a restaurant? I just try to use my position to help Condé Nast [the publishing house] and to help others.”
As much as her bob, a pair of massive sunnies has become part of the Wintour look. Whether she is inside or out, more often than not you will see Anna with her eyes stylishly covered. But there is a good reason she likes life in the shade. “They’re seriously useful. I mean, I can sit in a (fashion) show, and if I’m bored out of my mind, nobody will notice. And if I’m enjoying it, nobody will notice. So, I think at this point they’ve become, you know, really armor,” she explains.
It’s hard to believe but Anna didn’t cut it when she started working as a stylist in the US and was actually fired! “I was told I would never understand the American market – but I think everyone should be fired. It’s character building.”
Although Anna has a reputation for expecting high standards from those around her, she says she is not the control freak many people think she is. “You can’t control everything and nor should one want to,” Anna says. “I like to know what’s going on and am aware, but I’m not a micro-manager. I don’t feel people work the best way under those circumstances — if they feel someone is always watching every single thing. So we try to encourage in everything we do for all the different editors and writers and photographers to take ownership and feel good about what they’re doing.”
Giving back is part of Anna’s mindset and she has always celebrated smaller and unknown designers. So its no surprise she also started the CFDA/Vogue Fund to mentor and support new fashion designers. In addition she is trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and has staged benefits which are also the hottest ticket in town helping raise over $50 million. She has also spent time organising benefits for AIDS charities to the tune of $10million and counting.