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The inside story of Vogue magazine: catfights, heroin chic and nervous breakdowns

From its beginnings in the 1800s, the fashion bible has survived two world wars and a succession of controversial editors. Meadhbh McGrath talks to the author of a new book charting Vogue’s colourful history about the tantalising secrets of the world’s most famous magazine

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Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Photo: Natalie Behring

Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Photo: Natalie Behring

Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Photo: Natalie Behring

She’s the longest-serving editor of Vogue, a “fearsome” woman who consistently broke new ground in the fashion industry while earning a reputation as a demanding, even sadistic, boss. She instituted a strict office dress code, encouraged rivalries among staff, and is said to have told a colleague recovering from an attempted suicide: “We at Vogue don’t throw ourselves under subway trains, my dear. If we must, we take sleeping pills.”

Long before Anna Wintour, there was Edna Woolman Chase, who spent more than 50 years at Vogue — 38 as editor-in-chief of the American edition, during which time she held the first catwalk show, championed American designers when Paris was considered the centre of style, and also spent periods at the helm of the British, French and German editions.


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