Through those shielded eyes is a woman far more complex than meets the eye. She is known for her detectable style consisting of a pageboy haircut and oversized black sunglasses – used to shield her reported icy stare. Her public image has been fortified through the media, where her bold decisions have been scrutinised and anticipated by spectators. Her cold and aloof demeanour have drawn comparisons with the character Miranda Priestly in the film The Devil wears Prada which cemented Wintour’s status.
The accomplishments achieved by Anna Wintour have, on occasion, been overshadowed by her public demeanour, despite the power she holds over a billion dollar industry. We have to ask ourselves why powerful women have to be interpreted as intimidating people. Surely her success as a businesswoman has stemmed from hard work supported by her undoubted ambitious drive. She herself recognises that men in high positions are not spoken about in such a manner, yet women in similar positions have been subjected to sexist attitudes that can harbour in boardrooms.
She began her hugely successful career at Harper’s Bazaar and British Vogue. She then relocated to American Vogue where her work was associated with using less well known models, mixing street style with high fashion for a fresh and youthful feeling. Her first issue featured a young Israeli model wearing a pair of simple jeans (a first for the fashion publication) juxtaposed with an embellished jumper. Wintour is a hugely influential figure who has become a pioneer in the fashion industry for having the ability to discover talented individuals, including designers Christopher Kane and Marc Jacobs. Through establishing the CFDA in 2003 she still dedicates her time to young designers supporting them through the notoriously turbulent fashion industry.
Wintour is a pioneer who has paved the way for empowering her female counterparts. She sits at the helm of the fashion bible as editor of American Vogue – a position she has rightfully held for over twenty-five years. Her work has brought world wide recognition to the magazine as each issue is eagerly awaited to reveal the zeitgeist of the moment. The most coveted being the September issue which is even a subject of its own documentary.
What may go unnoticed is her philanthropic work to both the arts and other issues. As chair of the annual Met Gala at the Costume Institute at Metropolitan Museum of Art she has fundraised over £82 million. Other major contributions have included developing aids research across the United States for over a decade, of which Wintour has said ‘It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to help others, and for that I’m eternally grateful’.