By now you all have probably already heard about The September Issue, a new documentary by R.J. Cutler that follows around the American Vogue staff as they prepare for their September issue (the biggest issue for magazines) in 2007. The film’s impending release has sent most fashionistas in a tizzy since it has brought out Anna Wintour,Vogue‘s Editor-in-chief and one of the most powerful women in the fashion industry, from her normally private life. Wintour is famous for her “Ice Queen” demeanor, something that was enhanced in recent years when Lauren Weisberger, a former assistant of Wintour’s, wrote The Devil Wears Prada which caused the press to loudly murmur that the novel’s powerful and nasty fashion magazine Editor-in-Chief, Miranda Priestly, was based on Wintour. Since The September Issue is coming out soon (and since we now live in an era where even the most powerful magazines are feeling the sting of both the economy and the supposed “death of print”) Wintour has been making the rounds and helping promote the film, not to mention her magazine and her reputation as a power player in a global industry.
The thing is even though Wintour has been accused of being classist, an eltitist (uh, who in fashion isn’t?), a snob and a big ol’ meany, I can’t help but sort of like her. In fact, I’ve always sort of respected her, even if I don’t necessarily buy into her belief that a $3,000 tweed skirt is a good “investment piece.” In all the cra-zy stories I’ve heard from a friend of a friend of the cousin of one of Anna’s old assistants, I’ve never heard her accused of anything other than asking and expecting people to competently do their job. Most of the stories I’ve heard or read on gossip blogs have all dealt with little benign things that would probably piss off a 23-year-old entitled assistant who probably has more money in her clothing allowance than I have in my checking account, but they wouldn’t shock anyone who has ever had to do a grunt-work media job. So, one time Anna made her assistants stay at work until 6 p.m. for the entire month of July? Or, this other time she got mad because someone didn’t deliver the items she needed for a photo shoot on time? Are these things supposed to sound like insane boss stories?
I know, you might be saying this is an example of sexism because if a man was doing her job he would be commended and given a raise, not dragged through the gutter like a Chanel knock off. Yes, there is a layer of sexism here that follows around almost any powerful woman. However, the trope of a cool, collected and direct female Editor-in-Chief at a fashion magazine is nothing new. Fashion people are expected to be snobs, and to be honest a lot of the runts of the fashion industry are which makes it difficult to interact with some of them when they already have a chip on their shoulder for being accused of being shallow and frivolous by pretty much everyone else on Earth. Fashion is notoriously a female and gay male dominated industry, which makes people imagine that it isn’t worth paying attention to. “It’s just clothes,” they say, “it isn’t important to our society.” True! But do you know what else is a frivolity in the same way that fashion is? New media and social networking websites. And yet everyone takes these pale-skinned men who run these businesses very seriously. I’m not saying we should ignore the new media industry, I’m just saying that there is a lot of pointless crap out there that holds up a global business. Unfortunately, because some intelligent people blow fashion off it draws out the barnacles of society who want to get their Pa-Pa and Ma-Ma to help them land a $24,000 a year assistant job and the best fashion magazine because they imagine it to be basically swimming in free designer clothes and taking long “lunches” with your skinny co-worker friends who don’t eat. And so, we are brought to what I imagine is part of Anna’s problem: having to deal with some of these coddled people who think fashion is all It-purses and no work. If you were one of the most powerful women in your industry and you had people’s careers and livelihoods depending on you, would you want to deal with a few spoiled brats who claim they are allergic to work?
So, Anna, who knows the power and importance of her position and the fact that she has a business to run, separates the chaff and probably hurts a few people’s feelings along the way . So they go run to Gawker and whine about how Anna is so mean and so cold and she makes her assistants :(. But really, who cares if Anna Wintour is mean? Do you think that Anna is sitting in the back of her office, biting her nails and getting worried because someone said she was not super nice? I don’t think so. And that is part of what I love about her, she just owns her reputation and isn’t going to apologize and let people walk over her just to convince a few staff members that they should like her. I’m not saying that her position gives her free reign to act like a monster, she just shouldn’t feel bad about making a few people mad because she didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. Life is hard, as they say, and nice girls don’t get the corner office.
Also, anyone who is BFFs with Andre Leon Tally can’t be a total monster, right?
You Might Also Like ...