Long before The Devil Wears Prada came out (both the book and the movie), Anna Wintour has been a fascinating character to me. I see her on TV in the front row of EVERY major fashion show in New York, Paris, Milan, or London. She’s this lady in bob and huge sunglasses (even indoors) that lend her an air of mystery and nobility.
Her power in the global fashion industry of course in unrivaled. Vogue is the bible of fashionistas. Anna can thus dictate trends that would instantly reverberate throughout every corner of the world. Undoubtedly, Anna is one of the most, if not the most, influential person in fashion today.
Jerry Oppenheimer’s biography however paints a more complex, yet biased, portrait of the fashion icon. Chief of which is Anna’s infamous diva attitude. I’ve always loved any diva who walks around. I so dig their feeling of superiority and haughtiness, that’s why Barbra Streisand and Maria Callas always appealed to me. Anna, on the other hand, earned notoriety for being demanding, cunning, and unyielding.
According to the book, she started in the fashion magazine industry with one goal in mind – to be the editor-in-chief of American Vogue one day. She clawed her way to the top, charming a few powerful men in the publishing industry through her sex appeal. Naturally, she had to step on quite a number of people as well like a good diva always does. Nobody was simply allowed to get between her and her ascent to Vogue.
A very interesting but short section of the book talked about her ubiquitous sunglasses. While it has been generally accepted that the sunglasses are nothing but a fashion statement to make her more enigmatic, they actually function as her eyeglasses to counter the fast degradation of her eyesight, an affliction that hounds Anna’s father as well. The vain bitch that she is, she would rather wear sunglasses even in darkness than get caught wearing eyeglasses. Anna, have you heard of contact lenses?
As I said, the biography is more malicious rather than a balanced look at Anna Wintour’s life. I’m sure she’s more multi-faceted than being simply vicious the way that the book wants her to appear. In fact, Oppneheimer’s Anna borders on the caricaturish. I’ve yet to finish the book though. I go to the bookstore twice or thrice a week to read a couple of chapters or three.
But right now, Anna Wintour is my muse, my inspiration, my obsession. Maybe I should pull out all my sunglasses and start wearing them EVERYWHERE.