By JOSHUA LEVINE MARCH 24, 2011
Mario TestinoAnna Wintour, photographed at her suite at the Paris Ritz, taking in a tennis match between couture shows.
To understand what’s happened to Anna Wintour and to the fashion industry as a whole, it helps to look at two photographs. The first is a 1955 Richard Avedon shot of the model Dovima, dressed in a black Dior gown with flowing white sash, stretching her white arms toward two enormous pachyderms that flank her like bodyguards. “Dovima with Elephants,” as the photograph is known, may be fashion’s most iconic single image—perfectly posed and concerned with absolutely nothing but itself. A print sold for $1,153,011 at Christie’s last November—a record for an Avedon.
Wintour turns that iconography inside out in Vogue’s April issue. Amidst the magazine’s lissome models is a photo spread featuring Amar’e Stoudemire, the 6-foot-10-inch, 240-pound basketball forward, in his New York Knicks uniform. An elephant among Dovimas.
Photos: Evolution of Anna
Stoudemire isn’t the first pick in Wintour’s basketball draft—she put LeBron James on the cover a few years back—but she’s been courting him for a while now. In September, she invited him to join her at the runway show before last September’s Fashion’s Night Out and in February she brought him to the Tommy Hilfiger show. “Amar’e looked wonderfully dapper when he turned up,” Wintour says. “I can think of very few men who could pull off a collegiate cardigan, bow tie and Nike high-tops. I asked him what he thought one of the best looks was, and he indicated a camel cape. And you know, he was right.”
“There are people who are like beacons, and I’m in the fortunate position that I can meet such people,” she says. It’s hard to imagine Wintour hanging around with these people just because, well, she likes them. “To be in Vogue means something,” she continues, matter-of-factly. “Not all of them become friends, but it’s part of my job to get to know these people and try to understand who they are, what they are and what future they have. I won’t pretend that I’m sitting here with a spreadsheet . . . ‘Now it’s time to reach out to LeBron James.’ It’s instinctive.” That’s how Wintour works—intuitively, obliquely and patiently. “Her genius,” says the designer Marc Jacobs, “is picking people very astutely, whether in politics, movies, sports or fashion.”
Patrick McMullan (33); Getty Images for IMG (Wintour); Wireimage (Gillibrand); Getty Images (McNally)The editor’s powerful friends constitute a kind of coalition of the willing that extends her influence well beyond Vogue. Here are just a few of the key people in what one academic calls Wintour’s “fully connected network.”
She’s been editor of the American edition of Vogue since 1988, and by now it has become commonplace to call her the most powerful woman in fashion. But her influence is much broader than it appears in her fun-house-mirror caricature: a brittle despot in round Chanel sunglasses who rules the world around her through impeccable taste, terror and sarcasm. It is hidden within an intricate web of powerful friends and allies, many of whom she’s worked with for decades. That web spans the U.S., out to Hollywood, down to Washington, and across both oceans. Imperious as she may appear, she’s really more impresario than empress.
Her inner circle is tight-knit, their devotion cemented by an almost canine sense of loyalty on Wintour’s part. “I’m a streak player, but Anna’s there, good or bad,” says Harvey Weinstein, co-chair of the Weinstein Company, who goes back some 15 years with Wintour. “When I wasn’t doing so well, Anna would throw a party and put me next to Bernard Arnault.” Out of that came several business deals, says Weinstein (he declines to be more specific). Weinstein returned the favor by stepping in to help Wintour produce a Bruce Springsteen/Billy Joel benefit concert for then-Senator Barack Obama before the 2008 election.
Australian director Baz Luhrmann met Wintour when he sent her a half-finished reel of his movie “Moulin Rouge!” after it was beset by toxic prerelease buzz. Wintour threw her support behind it, putting Nicole Kidman on the cover in a gown from the film and organizing a celebrity auction around it with allies like Weinstein and Donald Trump. “Those people helped me see ‘Moulin Rouge!’ through its birth pangs,” Luhrmann says. The two have been close friends since. “I always talk to Anna about what I’m up to,” he says, referring to plans for his next film, an adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” “and I always listen to what she has to say.”
Anna’s army gives her a reach that far exceeds her grasp as a magazine editor, not to mention a deceptively potent economic punch. In the past two years, it’s become clearer just how wide-ranging her clout really is. In early 2009, with New York’s $10 billion fashion business reeling, Wintour took a ride to see New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She proposed a one-shot, late-night shopping party, inspired by Paris’s “nuits blanches,” the city’s round-the-clock cultural festivals. Bloomberg signed on, after insisting that all five boroughs be invited to the party. “Even a guy like me, who can barely match my tie to my shirt, knows that fashion means dollars to New York City. Besides, behind all Anna’s grace and poise is some pretty tough resolve. She’s not a person you want to say no to.”
“You can make a film in Hollywood without Steven Spielberg’s blessing, and you can publish software without Bill Gates’s blessing, but you can’t succeed in fashion without Anna’s blessing”
The idea wasn’t universally popular at first. The city was shell-shocked. Retail therapy had suddenly become dysfunctional behavior, and New York was in the chilly grip of that least American of virtues, thrift. Early on, Wintour approached Terry Lundgren, chairman of Macy’s Inc., which owns both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, for support. “I was hesitant, given the mood people were in,” Lundgren says. “I didn’t know if it would work.”
One former colleague recalls Wintour deploying her celebrity shock troops when some stores balked at joining up. “She’s calling it in from command central—’I'll get you Sienna Miller at the store, I’ll send you Justin Timberlake!’ ” (Timberlake and Miller are among Wintour’s most zealous Hollywood allies. “She understands fashion is a frame of mind, not just the clothes,” Timberlake says. “She’s figured out that all these small moving parts come into play to make a bigger picture.”)
Fashion’s Night Out was a Mardi Gras moment in the middle of Lent. Overall foot traffic in New York City stores increased almost 50 percent, according to the research firm ShopperTrak. While other post-event reports suggested there was more ogling than spending, the overall verdict was resoundingly favorable. “Maybe you can’t really put a figure on Wintour’s economic impact, but it’s a very big number,” Lundgren says, adding that Macy’s sales, which had been down 4 to 5 percent, rose into “double digits” the weekend after FNO. “It was the first shot in the arm we had seen that year.”
The following year, Wintour upped the ante. She convened an extraordinary meeting of 30 international Vogue editors and publishers in Paris, to discuss further global initiatives. “It was the first time anybody had gotten them all together,” says S.I. Newhouse, chairman of Advance Publications, which owns Vogue parent Condé Nast. “She didn’t need my authority to do it—she has a remarkable ability to impose her will. If I had had reservations, she probably would have gone ahead anyway.”
To kick off the festivities, Wintour organized New York’s largest public fashion show in the plaza at Lincoln Center, selling 1,500 tickets at $25 and higher. The show conscripted 125 of the world’s top models, broadcast live on the Web and later on CBS. Fashion’s Night Out 2010 clocked in with more than 1,000 New York stores, over 100 American cities and 16 countries around the world. Istanbul, for example, logged clothing sales of $2 million in three hours. Rest assured, there will be an encore in 2011.
Wintour’s glittery coalition of the willing will be on full display next month at her benefit gala for the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute. The guest list includes Paul McCartney, Jeff Koons, Alicia Keys and Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of consumer products. Last year, Bloomberg, Bono, Barry Diller, Larry Gagosian and Tommy Mottola all dropped in from their respective planets.
Mario TestinoWintour, with Daphne Guinness (left) and Karl Lagerfeld, at the 2008 Met Costume Institute gala, to which Wintour has given new life since becoming co-chair in 1995, turning it into New York’s star-spangled kiss to the world and raising $75 million for the museum in the process.
When Wintour took over as co-chair of the gala in 1995, it was an in-grown Park Avenue cluster buss that generated around $900,000 a year in donations. The Met has been throwing some kind of Costume Institute benefit since 1948, when matrons paid $50 to wear some of the Costume Institute’s gowns at a midnight supper in December. Diana Vreeland and Pat Buckley, formidable doyennes in their own right, took their turns co-chairing it. Wintour corralled the biggest names from Hollywood, television and the Internet, and turned the gala into New York’s star-spangled air kiss to the world. “It was much more fashion industry before,” Wintour says. “When I became involved, I started to invite the Nicole Kidmans and the Cate Blanchetts, and then I tried to bring in the worlds of politics, literature, painting, music, so it’s not just about fashion. It’s like producing a show.”
For the sometimes fussy Met, this was a new way of looking at things. Last year, for instance, Wintour had a 30-foot hot-air balloon trucked in from South Dakota and floated it above the museum’s Engelhard Court. “When we first saw it, we go, ‘Never! We can’t have gas in the museum!’ ” says Met president Emily Rafferty. “Anna’s changed our attitude—she’s brought us to new levels of thinking of what we can do, but without ever losing sight that we’re working in a museum context here.”
Prices for a ticket will run up to $25,000, and $250,000 for a table. Last year, the gala brought in almost $9 million. In the realm of New York charity benefits, only the Robin Hood Foundation gala with its hedge-fund-heavy guest list is said to raise more. In all, Rafferty credits Wintour with raising $75 million for the museum’s Costume Institute since she arrived—$55 million through the benefit gala and $20 million through corporate sponsorships for exhibitions. “That’s an awful lot of money,” Rafferty says. The money will help the Costume Institute undertake a major renovation, beginning in 2012. For her labors, Wintour has been named an honorary trustee of the museum.
Many people think they already know Anna Wintour. She’s the perfectly coiffed monstre sacré of the fashion world. She has been saddled over the years with various nicknames, many turning on some form of the word “cold.” She does not go out of her way to dispel them. You can see it in the 2009 documentary “The September Issue,” as Wintour impassively allows Grace Coddington, the Vogue creative director with her heart on her sleeve, to hijack the audience’s affection. “Anna doesn’t play against anyone’s expectations of her,” a former colleague says.
Instead, Wintour has an arid sense of humor about her reputation. At a screening of “The Devil Wears Prada,” based on a roman à clef by a former Wintour assistant, she wore Prada. During a trip to China last fall, she was asked during a press conference whether she was really like that. “It’s true, of course, that I beat all my assistants, lock them in a cupboard and don’t pay them,” she deadpanned. “She’s got an eye-rolling way of laughing at the circus, even while she takes it deadly seriously,” says Luhrmann. Wintour herself puts it more simply: “I care deeply about my friends and my family and they know it, but work is work.”
Mario TestinoWintour with her children, Charlie and Bee Shaffer
Wintour had a fixation with fashion from a very young age. Her father was an Englishman named Charles Wintour who edited London’s Evening Standard newspaper and had a reputation for aloofness. Her mother was an American named Eleanor Baker, whom everyone called Nonie. In 1967, 17-year-old Anna dropped out of school to join London’s wild fashion dance.
Since then she has climbed from masthead to masthead at fashion magazines in England and here, never losing sight of the only fashionable masthead really worth climbing. The story has passed into legend of Wintour’s first interview at Vogue in 1982. Grace Mirabella, then Vogue’s editor, asked Wintour what job she would like if she came to the magazine. “Your job,” Wintour is said to have replied without blinking. Mirabella circled the wagons, but six years later, Wintour had penetrated and Mirabella was out. (Mirabella remained bitter about it.)
Wintour realized long before most that fashion was about to burst its tight seams and join the broader culture. When she put Kim Basinger on Vogue’s May 1991 cover, fashion was still living in the rarefied fantasy of Dovima. In the main, Hollywood stars were no more icons of style than they were models of personal probity or fonts of wisdom. Wintour changed all that with a series of celebrity covers that put Holly wood on notice that it had better get serious about what it wore—Winona Ryder and Sharon Stone in 1993, Julia Roberts in 1994, Demi Moore in 1995, leading up to the celebrity explosion of 1998, when Sandra Bullock, Claire Danes, Renée Zellweger (whose image Wintour managed closely), Elizabeth Hurley and the notorious Spice Girls took turns on Vogue’s cover (Wintour concedes she might have pushed the point there: “I’m not terribly proud of putting the Spice Girls on the cover,” she says). That was also the year Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton got covers, signaling Vogue’s embrace of the wider world. Occasionally, the wider world doesn’t hug back. Wintour’s 2008 LeBron James cover, shot by Annie Leibovitz to evoke King Kong, was a big loser on the newsstand.
There’s also the question of whether Vogue doesn’t sometimes allow a fashionable tail to wag a questionable dog. The March issue included a soft-focus look at Syria’s ruling al-Assad family. Yes, conceded writer Joan Juliet Buck, “In Syria, power is hereditary,” and there are those “souvenir Hezbollah ashtrays” scattered around. But president Bashar al-Assad’s wife, Asma, is nonetheless “glamorous, young and very chic.”
Still, Wintour called the tune correctly, even if she doesn’t get every note right. “Fashion has become as powerful as music was when I was growing up,” Luhrmann says. Was it Wintour or was it the world? “That’s a little chicken and egg, but she led the way and you have to give her the credit,” says a colleague.
Fashion may have overflowed its banks in the past decade, but the $350 billion industry itself remains compact enough for one person to dominate, that person being Wintour. She threw all of Italy into a tizzy last year when it was discovered she would spend only four days in Milan during February’s fashion week. Emergency meetings were called, designers frantically demanded to reschedule their shows and every one scrambled to squeeze 88 runway shows into 70 hours to accommodate her abbreviated stay. In 2007, R. J. Cutler was shooting “The September Issue” about putting together Vogue’s biggest issue. A friend asked him what it was like watching Wintour work. “Well,” he replied, “you can make a film in Hollywood without Steven Spielberg’s blessing, and you can publish software in Silicon Valley without Bill Gates’s blessing, but it’s pretty clear to me you can’t succeed in the fashion industry without Anna Wintour’s blessing.”
In fact, some of fashion’s biggest names are where they are in large part thanks to Wintour. She has helped broker corporate marriages for some of fashion’s biggest brands—Bottega Veneta at Gucci and Michael Kors at Sportswear Holdings. “She does this very discreetly, but she’s really a kind of consigliere to the entire fashion and retail industry,” says a former colleague who worked closely with her.
The Michael Kors story goes back to 1981, soon after Wintour joined New York magazine as fashion editor. Kors, a young designer, had just launched his first women’s-wear line and Wintour decided in her brisk way that she liked the clothes, and him. Kors hit the rocks in the mid-’90s, filing for bankruptcy in 1993, but Wintour talked him up tirelessly.
In 2002, Silas Chou and Lawrence Stroll were looking for fashion’s next big brand. The two partners had made out handsomely buying Tommy Hilfiger in 1989 and taking it public in 1992. Wintour recommended Kors. “When I met Michael, Anna had seen his talent 20 years before,” Chou says. “We talked constantly and when the time arrived, her opinions about him were very important.” Chou and Stroll bought a controlling stake in Kors in 2003 through their Sportswear Holdings for around $100 million. Retail sales for the Kors brand are now in the neighborhood of $1 billion.
“I came to realize that she’s really the McKinsey of fashion,” says a former colleague who attended several corporate matchmaking sessions with her. Wintour is more modest: “We can suggest, but in the end, everybody makes up their own minds.”
One of the people Wintour counsels regularly is Bernard Arnault, whose LVMH luxury conglomerate owns Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Fendi, among others. In 1993, Wintour and Vogue contributing editor André Leon Talley put a down-and-out designer named John Galliano together with financial backers John Bult and Mark Rice, which relaunched Galliano’s flagging career. She later proposed him to Arnault, who hired him first for Givenchy and then for Christian Dior (which is controlled by Arnault’s holding company). In 1997, Wintour pushed Marc Jacobs to Arnault for Louis Vuitton. “She pointed us towards unexpected choices,” Arnault says. “I speak very openly to her, and this was quite audacious—it was not about picking the big names of the moment. It took her to see that there was a stylistic closeness between John and Dior. She was the discoverer.”
It looks like Galliano needs Wintour more than ever now: In late February, the designer was abruptly suspended from Dior after a Parisian couple accused him of yelling unprovoked anti-Semitic barbs at them in a Paris bistro. When a video clip recorded last October surfaced soon after showing a visibly drunk Galliano at a bar making similar racist remarks, he was fired. Of his downfall, Wintour says, “This is all so tragic.”
Last July, Wintour met with then–French Minister of Industry Christian Estrosi. She suggested politely that the French government do more to support young French designers financially. Her own CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, which raises millions for young American designers, has become something of a model in Europe. She got the idea in 2001, when the World Trade Center disaster disrupted New York’s fashion week, leaving young designers financially stranded. The fund now has a $10 million endowment, and has launched similiar programs in Milan and London.
“She tackles things that are really much bigger than what any other editors take on,” says François-Henri Pinault, head of luxury-goods giant PPR. Pinault is currently discussing how to finance support for young designers with Estrosi. Not that Wintour came right out and asked him to. “She’s much more subtle than that,” he says.
Ivan ShawMario Testino photographs Wintour for WSJ.’s April cover.
When I met Wintour in her big, artfully tidy office at Vogue, she had been up since 5 a.m.—her normal waking hour. On most days she goes off to play tennis at 6, but lately she’s been nursing a sore elbow and can’t play. Which didn’t mean no tennis. She was watching her friend Roger Federer play a tough five-set match against Gilles Simon at the Australian Open. Simon had beaten Federer twice before, and Wintour was uneasy. “At least he’s through,” she said afterward, visibly relieved.
Wintour first sought out Federer at the 2002 U.S. Open, before he won his first Grand Slam. He was a bit taken aback. “I didn’t really know who she was,” Federer says. She’s since become a trusted adviser and a close friend, not only to him but also to his wife, Mirka, and agent, Tony Godsick. “I bounce all kinds of ideas off her—what to wear on and off the court, photo shoots, sponsors, everything,” he says. For her part, Wintour has never asked him for anything, but, he says, “That day will come, and when it does, I’ll be very happy to work with her.”
The unusual part, say her intimates, is that there’s never a direct quid pro quo. On the other hand, if Wintour does ask for something, there aren’t two possible answers. “If I get a request for something I don’t want to do,” says Marc Jacobs, “first I get an email, then a phone call from someone at Vogue, and now I don’t even bother to say no—I know the next call is from her.”
Jacobs describes a den-motherly attitude that those who see only her hard surface sheen don’t suspect she has. “She gets such a bad rap. She stands by the people she believes in, and if you’re not one of those people, perhaps you take a different view.” Wintour has supported Jacobs since her earliest days at Vogue, when, he says, “everybody was trashing me. It goes way beyond an editor-fashion-designer relationship.” Which is how Jacobs found himself sitting next to Wintour on the Jimmy Fallon show, speaking out about Fashion’s Night Out.
If there’s a risk to having a rat pack, even a large and glamorous one, it’s the possibility that it could make Vogue’s pages seem overly clubby. Wintour reflects a minute when I ask her about this, and puts it another way. “I try to remain open to new people, but obviously there’s a stronger element of trust with people you’ve known for a long time,” she says. “I think we have a Vogue vocabulary, and there are certain people we like to have as the backbone of the magazine—Vogue’s signposts. We try very hard to integrate the familiar signatures with people we feel are new and up-and-coming, but I would rather err on the side of being a little more familiar than being too . . . What’s the right word? . . . Edgy.”
With all of her globe-trotting, matchmaking and event-planning, it’s easy to forget that Wintour’s bread and butter is running a magazine. Like the rest of the magazine industry, Vogue was badly hurt by the economic crash. Revenue fell 5.55 percent in 2008, then a further 27 percent in 2009 to $289 million, but now it appears to have rebounded. Revenue for 2010 was up 18 percent to $342 million, according to the Publisher’s Information Bureau—although it remains below the 2007 peak of $419 million—and it’s up almost 11 percent for the first quarter of this year, behind Elle’s 14.3 percent and abreast of InStyle’s 10.9 percent. Vogue is solidly beating both in total number of ad pages.
Wintour launched the redesigned Vogue.com last September, on the eve of New York Fashion Week. After starting slowly with 545,000 unique visitors, the site registered 896,000 in January. That’s still fewer than the 2.4 million who visited Style.com, the omnibus Condé Nast site that used to host Vogue, but it’s a healthy upswing, even more so when you consider Style.com is 10 years old.
“It’s part of my job to get to know these people, to understand who they are. I won’t pretend that I’m sitting here with a spreadsheet . . . ‘Now it’s time to reach out to LeBron James’”
Wintour came late to the Internet, concedes her boss, S.I. Newhouse. “She started the site reluctantly because she believes that the expression of Vogue’s effectiveness is print,” he says. “But, typically, once she did it, she did it right.” Can Wintour rule the digital fashion world as resolutely as she has ruled print? “It’s too early to say,” hedges Newhouse, “but take Fashion’s Night Out as one example: She clearly has an ability to impose her will.”
The brand, of course, is what Newhouse cares most about. “There can be no greater role than being editor of Vogue,” says Newhouse, who confirms that Vogue is Condé Nast’s most profitable publication. As far as the occasional rumors about a successor for Wintour, who is 61, Newhouse has one word: “Never. I hope she’s here 10 years from now, 20 years from now.”
You might ask, with all her talent-grooming outside Vogue, has Wintour groomed anyone to take over whenever she—or, more to the point, S.I. Newhouse—chooses to pass on her mantle? “Why would she?” answers a former colleague, who points out that at most magazines the editorial mantle doesn’t get passed dynastically. And regime change is rarely gentle. Grace Mirabella didn’t groom Wintour, and Diana Vreeland didn’t groom Mirabella. More often than not, a new editor means a new editorial vision, usually at the behest of the boss. As long as Wintour’s vision defines Vogue, no one is likely to do Wintour better than Wintour herself.
But last year, the successor rumors grew feverish. Waiting in the wings, so it went, was Carine Roitfeld, the provocative editor of French Vogue known around Paris as “Iggy Pop.” She happens to look a little like the goggle-eyed rocker and she shares with Pop a sense of erotic bravura that gave French Vogue a reputation for daring. Roitfeld gets the credit, if that’s the word, for launching a trend known as “porno chic,” which gave French Vogue an R-rated eclat in the fashion world. U.S. Vogue, it was said dismissively, was overly preoccupied with things people might buy.
Roitfeld resigned in December, reportedly pushed toward the door for having consulting relationships with labels like Balenciaga that were seen as coexisting uneasily with her editorial duties. (Roitfeld denies ever having consulted and having been asked to resign.) Inside French Vogue, the idea that Roitfeld threatened Wintour was never taken seriously. “It was all bulls—,” says one French Vogue executive. “The only thing Roitfeld cared about was creativity, and Wintour is about business. Wintour gives the ‘la’ to all the other editors”—a French expression rooted in the way orchestras tune their instruments that means she both sets the tone and serves as inspiration.
Not everyone applauds Wintour’s business sense and wider ambitions. There are those who mourn the passing of fashion in its narrower, Dovima-centric sense, and who see Wintour’s broader sensibility as a coarsening of fashion’s most exquisite self. In a recent New York Times article on Roitfeld’s departure, the fashion photographer Inez van Lamsweerde said she hoped French Vogue didn’t start to look more like, well, American Vogue. “Do we really need another magazine about the latest architectural feat, the latest book? To me, what’s needed is a real fashion magazine with the best taste and incredible photography,” she said. This kind of thing has been heard before. Back in the ’90s, designer Geoffrey Beene famously accused Wintour of appealing to the lowest common denominator. “As an editor, she has turned class into mass, taste into waste. Is she not a trend herself?” sniped Beene, who stopped inviting Wintour to his shows.
Even after the departure of Roitfeld, rumors still adore Wintour. The latest one is that she is interested in leaving Vogue and fashion for a job in Washington as an ambassador. This speculation has fed on Wintour’s enthusiastic fund-raising activities for Barack Obama and her open admiration for the First Lady—Michelle Obama is one of the first names Wintour mentions when asked whom she most looks up to.
Before the presidential election in 2008, she co-hosted a fund-raising dinner with Calvin Klein and André Leon Talley at Klein’s home. “I spent time on the aesthetics, and Anna did the phone calls and was really responsible for the funds,” Klein recalls. “She was a powerhouse, this tiny, beautiful woman who you think just lives and dies for fashion.” Shortly after, Annie Leibovitz photographed Michelle Obama for a spread that ran in the January 2009 issue. She also appeared on Vogue’s March 2009 cover, along with an exclusive interview with the First Lady.
Last July, Wintour hosted a $30,000-a-head Obama fund-raiser at her townhouse in Greenwich Village. In attendance were key members of her network, including Harvey Weinstein and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman; Andrew Rosen, founder of sportswear manufacturer Theory (he contributed heavily to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and made the T-shirts for Fashion’s Night Out); Gap designer Patrick Robinson (who co-chaired the 2010 Costume Institute gala with Oprah Winfrey and Wintour); old chum and CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg; and art dealer Larry Gagosian. According to Women’s Wear Daily, the dinner raised as much as $1.5 million.
Wintour flatly denies she’s angling for some kind of government job. For her, Vogue has no limitations. “With all the new media outlets out there, with all the noise, a voice of authority and calm like Vogue becomes more important than ever. The more eyes on fashion, the more opinions about fashion, the more exploration of fashion around the world, the better it is for Vogue. Vogue is like Nike or Coca-Cola—this huge global brand. I want to enhance it, I want to protect it, and I want it to be part of the conversation.”