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Nuclear Wintour: Inside the Vogue wars

With a new tell-all book, sliding sales and a pandemic, is there a future for fashion glossies, asks Lisa Armstrong

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Fashion faux pas: Andre Leon Talley (left) is highly critical of Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour in his new autobiography. Photo: Getty Images for IMG

Fashion faux pas: Andre Leon Talley (left) is highly critical of Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour in his new autobiography. Photo: Getty Images for IMG

Getty Images for IMG

Fashion faux pas: Andre Leon Talley (left) is highly critical of Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour in his new autobiography. Photo: Getty Images for IMG

Oh dear. After years of omerta, it seems the glossy fashion world is turning in on itself. Andre Leon Talley, the 6ft 6in, one-time African-American creative director of US Vogue (a job title even he seems to have trouble explaining, but which seemed to involve "being Anna Wintour's eyes", presumably in case her own went on strike, and accompanying her to couture fittings) has gone rogue with The Chiffon Trenches, a tell-all autobiography in which he writes, inter alia: "I don't think she's capable of kindness."

And it's not just Leon Talley who has decided that what happens on the top floors of Conde Nast should no longer stay on the top floors. The American designer Ralph Rucci, sensing an ajar door on a hitherto locked cupboard, called Wintour "an evil British woman", adding that she was mediocre and alleging that "many, many have spoken badly about her in private".

Meanwhile, Alexandra Shulman recently revealed how surprised and hurt she was to be so shoddily airbrushed out of Conde Nast's history by its owners, the Newhouses, after 25 years successfully editing British Vogue and making millions for the company. And now Edward Enninful, her successor, has said, in a podcast, how cold he found the atmosphere at British Vogue when he arrived, and how out of touch and irrelevant it seemed.