Anna Wintour at 92Y

By Richard Dupuy

The propaganda for Condé Nast as the platinum standard in publication was the sound bite voiced through Anna Wintour as the imperious Si Newhouse’s mouthpiece for his otherwise now floundering empire. In my opinion this particular editor in chief serves as the ultimate public relations vehicle showing that all is well within the Newhouse Empire.

Rumors of scaling VOGUE in order to continue at its present course was immediately rebuffed by explaining that no changes in expenses at its central core operations are being affected-however now every piece that is reviewed by Anna has its value scrutinized to merit its place so that it reflects present  economy for the reader. Only a sliver was revealed that she was in talks with Mayor Bloomberg on an ingenious plot to get customers back into stores which will be unveiled this week, although I am very curious how it can play out when the working class layperson cannot afford a decent meal or look after their young when unemployment is at an all time high in the city. With that being said, Anna had met with the directors of the high end department stores to advice their respective buyers’ selection of appropriate pieces for the now slight shift in seasons due to global warming while keeping their customer’s requirements in mind.

Grace Coddington (Creative Director), Hamish Bowles (European Editor at Large) and of course her court jester Andre Leon Talley (Contributing Editor) had an impressive mention on how they will be contributing on via blogging (being one of the innovations) – and that she wants her team to demonstrate their opinions/suggestions from their point of view, not merely being ‘doormats’ – curiously Tonne Goodman (Fashion Director) did not figure into the conversation. Since each have personal yet quirky personalities essential ingredients for creativity that she insists on personally conducting interviews with candidates seeking for the position of assistants.

This of course is to set the tone for their appearance for Cutler’s documentary ‘The September Issue’ (screened in the past Sundance festival to mostly positive reviews) which is to be aired this coming September on A&E or released in theaters.

When asked if ‘Anna Wintour’ would be a brand on its own, she coyly disagreed with Jonathan’s question although he begged to differ. In her words she likened VOGUE to be a product neither hot nor cold but always consistent with iconic brands such as ‘Coke’ or ‘Pepsi’ – a response that she repeated with admiration when it was posed to designer Ralph Lauren in the past.

‘Tomorrow is another day’ replied Anna when asked if models would trump celebrities as being cover girls again but stated that the time is now swaying in the favor of the former as the saturation of actresses seem to have run its course (I believe that she is not quite there yet because there is not denying with the potential of a celebrity worth her weight in salt who can result at very profitable bottom line sales).

Ambassador Susan Rice (American foreign policy advisor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations) being invited for dinner would be her preference of choice while the First lady Michelle Obama embracing fashion has been a tremendous support to the fashion community  as well as the apparel industry and that through her – now have “an administration that supports us”. Just having Mrs. Obama on the VOGUE March issue solidifies its iconic status of its legacy thus another priceless notch on Anna’s ‘couture belt’.

On the subject of Bryant Park no longer being the platform for showcasing future fashion shows due to not wanting them and so it made more sense to move over to Lincoln Center, the newly renovated modern Alice Tully Hall would be a refreshing welcoming change. This will prove a challenge for many of the designers due to their proximity within the garment district to its location and the editors’ stone’s throw commute from 4 Times Square.

As far the her most memorable cover was the 1988 November cover featuring an unprecedented nearly three fourth shot of Michaela Berçu (a young wavy haired blond Israeli model who had a small cameo in Coppola’s ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’)-since all covers had tight shots under Grace Mirabella’s stewardship up till Anna’s ascension of Editor in chief – sporting a Christian Lacroix couture T-shirt and Guess blue jeans- and being Wintour’s very first commissioned VOGUE cover.

In conclusion the highlight was when “Fur shame!” chanted by the PETA activists while attempting to unfurl banners interrupted Anna’s response to the various definitions on the facets of fashion, resulting in an anecdotal response of, “As I was saying, fashion means different things to different people” when they were forced out by the security much to Anna’s chagrin concluding the response that, “Fur is still a part of fashion, so VOGUE will continue to report on it.”An avid Wintour supporter loudly voiced “I love you Anna” diffused the tension, while the VOGUE editor continued on her stumbling into fashion, journalism and magazines due to growing up in a household filled with its affinity to the media and having notable literary and political figures at their home.

Being seated at the ‘S’ seat against the dark redwood wall, I was able to still observe Anna’s radiance and gratitude at having to work at something that she truly enjoys doing everyday. Mr. Jonathan Tisch, CEO of the Lowe’s group did a phenomenal job of working as the moderator while she was outfitted in a black purple floral printed shift under a conservative sunshine cardigan with matching colored open toed kitten heel sling backs while her bob looked absolutely voluminous and silky and blond.

In all it was a sold out event worth attending to hear what the most influential legendary VOGUE editor’s thoughts and what she had to say about the future of publishing and fashion in the recent wake of the global economic upheaval.

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