Inspiring Women: Anna Wintour of Vogue
Few names are as renowned in the world of fashion as Anna Wintour. As the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue for three decades, this woman has become almost synonymous with style itself.
With a knack for supporting young designers and an eye for fashion trends, Anna has made herself irreplaceable in the constantly changing world of fashion. How did she do it? Read on to get a look into the life of this incredible fashion maven.
Anna Wintour makes success in fashion look seamless and easy, but her decades of work prove it’s anything but. From a young age Anna’s heart was stuck on fashion, but school was another story. Anna would go in and out of school, but had no desire to finish-even for fashion classes.
Her penchant for journalism undoubtedly sparks from her father’s career as the editor for the London Evening Standard. He would occasionally consult Anna on how to make the newspaper appeal to a younger audience.
“If you’re an overnight sensation, you can be yesterday’s news in no time. Whereas building something slowly and carefully that has value and quality, that’s what’s going to have legs.”
While known for her work with America’s edition of Vogue, Anna’s career in fashion journalism began in England. Her career would later take her across the ocean and back again several times. In the beginning, Anna would face age-old challenges of getting fired, having magazines shut down, and learning to be a strong yet respected leader.
At the time that Anna was named Editor-in-Chief at Vogue in New York City, things weren’t going well for the magazine.
To transform a struggling magazine, Anna took a new, modern approach and focused efforts on being receptive and youthful. One of her biggest moves was to put celebrities on the cover instead of models - a shift that carries on today. Anna told CBS that putting Madonna on the cover sent the magazine soaring by 40%.
“Even if I’m completely unsure, I’ll pretend to know exactly what I’m talking about and make a decision.”
Making such changes led Anna and Vogue to great success, a success that she now wields with regal grace. The Independent reported that just a year after she took the helm at Vogue, Anna essentially decided what would be ‘en vogue’ for designers and department stores alike. She is a queen at being productive at work. As her career reached new heights, Anna was unafraid to take others with her and is said to be responsible for the popularity of designers like Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs.
What We Learned From Her
On Being Bold
It was during her leadership at British Vogue that Anna Wintour gained a reputation for being severe and stern that would lead to the Devil Wears Prada. In the book Winners and How They Succeed, author Alastair Campbell reveals that it’s Anna’s decisiveness that gave her this reputation. In a conversation with Anna, she spoke of a former boss who was incredibly indecisive. From that experience, Anna decided to always stick to her decisions and be quick to make them.
“If one sometimes comes across as being cold or brusque, it’s simply because I’m striving for the best.”
Anna also told Campbell that showing any vulnerability to her team is a rare occurrence. She has no interest in soothing fears, but focuses on figuring things out. While it must have been difficult to seen herself portrayed as a bitch, Anna continues to lead with a fierce decisiveness. She shows us that sticking to your leadership style and ignoring the haters can lead to incredible success.
On Moving Forward
Anna Wintour may seem like a woman incapable of screwing up, but that certainly isn’t so. It’s advice from a previous editor at British Vogue that helped Anna to always move forward. In the fashion world, it’s always about the next issue, no matter what success or failure was obtained from the last.
“I do respond to my own instincts. Sometimes they're successful, and obviously sometimes they're not. But you have to remain true to what you believe in.”
From her termination at Harper's Bazaar and struggles managing Home & Garden magazine, Anna learned the importance of reviewing yourself and coming out stronger than before.
For the aspiring ladyboss, Anna Wintour is a fantastic example of success that comes from putting in the work and staying dedicated to your passion. For more Inspiring Women, read our feature on Suze Orman, financial guru and mega-influencer. Go get it, girl!