Monday, March 1, 2010

SERIES: Ladies of style - international Vogue editors

Vogue if often called the fashion Bible and for more than 100 years it has been regarded as the most influential fashion magazine. Advertising in Vogue is enormously expensive, each issue is being prepared at least two months ahead and making the pages on this glossy paper is an achievement for any designer. Thinking about this I did a little research about the editors in chief of the various Vogue editions. The most (in) famous of them all is Anna Wintour – the editor of US Vogue, but even those who are not well known as she is are very interesting and powerful women, all of them different from each other.

Anna Wintour

The US Vogue editor - in - chief since 1988, has been recognized as one of the coldest and toughest people in the fashion journalism and industry in general. She is however, considered as one of the most successful and powerful as well.

With her trademark bob and sunglasses Wintour is to be found in the front row of the most important fashion events around the globe. Her judgment of what is good or not is reflected in the pages of Vogue – neither the magazine nor Anna never openly criticize designers, they simply exclude them.

Working her dream job Anna is completely devoted to what she does – she is said to be very demanding, disciplined, involved in every tiny bit of the magazine creation, clear about what she wants and very decisive. What is also important to her is being surrounded with great talent – mediocrity within her team or in designer’s collection doesn’t work for her. The best creatives and editors have been working with Wintour for 15-20 years.

Conde Nast has been quite awarding to Ms. Wintour’s success of 1,200,000 circulation – apart from her salary, every day of the week her hair and make-up is paid by the company and she has an annual 200,000 USD clothing allowance.

Wintour has involved Vogue in several projects that support fashion and young designers. Each year Vogue chooses aspiring designers, supports them and recommends them to different fashion houses. Additionally, on annual basis a gala event is organized to support the New York’s Metropolitan Museum’s costume institute and so far 50 million dollars have been raised.

Still, Anna hasn’t only been scrutinized for her temper only - her work has undergone criticism as well. Many have noticed that US Vogue has become much more commercial and celebrity oriented than its Europe counterparts. The number of pages with advertisements is on the rise constantly and while the perfect “American” lifestyle and look are being promoted. Recently, she has been criticized of losing a battle with ELLE as the October’s issue of Vogue had quite less advertisement pages than its strongest competitor.

Another fight that has been going on for years is the one with PETA who accuse Anna of her love of wearing fur.

No matter how much praised or criticized and even rumored to be replaced, Anna doesn’t feel that it is time to leave her position – in one interview she claimed that in times of financial crises when fashion is suffering as well, she is motivated to give her best in succeeding to over come the obstacles.

Carine Roitfeld

In the movie “The Devil wears Prada” French Vogue editor replaces Miranda Pristley to bring fresh air and new approach to the magazine. Tough the reality is far from Carine Roitfeld replacing Anna Wintour, it is true that she is her opposite – a trait that didn’t discourage her to be successful at what she does. The fact that French Vogue is internationally influential despite its circulation of 133,000 (which is very little compared to US Vogue) points that audiences like the artistic and less practical approach the ex-stylist and nine years now editor – in - chief has created.

Roitfeld says that she is not business-like as Wintour is – she can never imagine herself having the big job of editing US Vogue; her perfect job is being a stylist, being creative, making stories when she sees a model and developing them through editorial pictures.

What French Vogue now is clearly depicts Roitfeld herself – her love of untypical beauty, of high heels and clothes with sharp lines. Roitfeld is said to enjoy simplicity and minimalism – her office is supposedly almost empty as well as her desk, since she doesn’t use (and doesn’t know how) the computer at all.

Roitfeld differs on another level from Wintour, she is quite close to the people she is working with, claiming that she cannot separate work from friendship and that is the way how she functions the best. There was a rumor that each month she weighs her stuff, but she has denied it in several interviews.

The French Vogue editor is not a woman without higher ambition than the one she is living now - she constantly tries to answer the expectations for a refreshing, exciting and full of imagination Vogue issue every month.

To be continued...

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