Is there life after Vogue for Anna Wintour?
If its editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, is not already speculating on this possilbilty, there are plenty of American tabloid gossip columns asnd websites ready to do so on her behalf.
For the better part of a month, New York, or Planet HQ, has been rife with rumours that Ms Wintour is planning a career move from her beloved American Vogue, where she has presided in both style and substance for two decades.
She is 59, coming up to 60, snipe the snide.
She’s ruled the roost for too long, squawk the mediocre. She’s cruel, insist the lack-lustre. She’s aloof screech the charmless. They point to the recent closure of Men’s Vogue, over which she also presided, as proof positive of her fall from grace.
Two weeks ago, the New York Post’s Page Six column quoted an ‘insider’ as claiming Ms Wintour ‘is thinking of retiring. She feels she’s done it all and had enough”.
A gossip website has speculated she might be seeking a cultural appointment within the Obama administration; she is certainly known to be a fervent Hillary Clinton supporter.
Another report suggested she could move to a fashion consultancy for a luxury conglomerate such as LVMH, surely one of the few organisations which could match Ms Wintour’s reported $2million a year salary.
As recently as Tuesday, the Manhattan media news and gossip website, Gawker, claimed Si Newhouse, the head of Condé Nast, had met with the editor of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, and it posited the kohl-eyed, long-legged, mini-skirted Parisienne as Wintour’s replacement.
Six months ago, it was Aliona Doletskaya, the multi-lingual, fur-loving editor of Russian Vogue, whose name was circulating as the woman to bring a Siberian Winter in to replace the reign of ‘Nuclear Wintour’.
Wintour’s office has responded to all suggestions with: ‘‘This is a completely unfounded rumour’.
Doubtless there are many who would be glad to see the Chanel-clad back of the woman who inspired the film ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, and would be only to eager to slide into her prime front-row seat at the world’s major fashion shows.
But there are many, many more who would be extremely sorry if she were to hang up her Manolo’s and I am one of them.
Let’s be clear on one point: Ms Wintour may be a first-class fashionista. But she is no flake. She does not suffer fools gladly. She is not fooled by schmooze. She refuses to praise less than 100% effort. She respects fashion and expects respect in return. She is tireless and passionate.
She is the powerhouse behind the Vogue/CFDA scheme for young designers and the brains behind, and the very visible style in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Gala, which now rivals Hollywood’s Oscars as a red carpet spectacular, as well as being an honorary trustee of the museum.
Ms Wintour is not running in a popularity contest, she is running a multi-million dollar magazine. She is guilty of nothing less than the pursuit of excellence. And in a society that increasingly rewards conspicuous mediocrity, that is a talent to be praised – and fervently grateful for.
When Ms Wintour was approached by a reporter for New York magazine’s fashion blog, The Cut, and asked about her plans for retirement, she responded: ‘I’m sorry, I think that’s an extremely rude question. Leave me alone.’
If she is thinking of retiring or stepping down, of one thing we can be certain, she will do it on her terms and in her own time – and the world of fashion will be the less for it.