Anna Wintour: a fashion pioneer

  • By The Alchemist About Town
  • 01 Feb, 2017

#The WomanAlchemist

Pic from Wewomen.com

It is month two of my feature monthly blog covering Women in Business who have inspired me .

February #TheWomanAlchemist is Anna Wintour, a great inspiration for me both because she  showed the way of what is possible if you really believe and follow your convinctions and because she has helped to shape the world of fashion and support/promote many designers I love.

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue and the artistic director of Condé Nast, is widely regarded as the most influential figure in fashion and arguably one of the most commercially minded editor ever.

She was born in Hampstead, London, the daughter of an American mother and an English father; she started her career in 1970, working in the fashion department at Harpers & Queen in London. Six years later, she joined Harper's Bazaar in New York as its Fashion Editor. After a stint as Senior Editor controlling the title's fashion and lifestyle coverage, Wintour was named Creative Director of American Vogue in 1983. British Vogue hired her back as Editor in Chief for two years. In 1988, she rejoined American Vogue as Editor-in-Chief which she has held since. She also became Artistic Director of Condé Nast in March 2013, and additionally executed the development and successful launch of Teen Vogue in 2001, serving as Editorial Director for the title.

Wintour is a pioneer who, during her tenure at American Vogue , started the practice of featuring celebrities on the cover, took the title’s fashion pages out of the studio and onto the street and used Condé Nast’s flagship influence to champion new American designers through the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Wintour also launched Fashion’s Night Out.

Her first cover, a street shot featuring jeans and Lacroix couture sweater, declared a new chapter in the magazine’s history. Today, US Vogue’s pages are populated by photographers, editors and designers, many of whom have been nurtured and championed by Wintour, providing the magazine with a constistent visual aesthetic.  She also pioneered the use of figures from outside the fashion industry to represent and illustrate her editorial messages.


The New York Times described her as an “in-house consultant for troubled or dated magazines,” the advice of which “can be sought, or delivered.”

 Wintour herself said “ Growing up in London in the Sixties you would have to be walking round with Irving Penn’s sack on your head to not realise that something extraordinary was happening in fashion. The look of the girl then and everything that was going on then, the pill and the emancipation of women and the end of the class system, just sort of seeing that revolution go on made me love [fashion] from an early age .”

"There's a new kind of woman out there. She's interested in business and money. She doesn't have time to shop anymore. She wants to know what and why and where and how ."

Anna Wintour played an instrumental role in reviving the magazine. She made changes in staffing, in the style of cover pictures and transformed the publication into a more youthful and receptive one focusing on modern perception on style and fashion targeting a far-reaching audience. She never hesitated to push for new ground that included inducting celebrities instead of supermodels on covers and introducing a mix of expensive and low-end fashion items during her photo shoots.

Her determination pushed American Vogue to regain its position as the frontrunner beating its competition, successfully accomplishing her goal of restoring the position of ‘Vogue’ in her over two decade long career with the magazine

Wintour has also been actively involved in philanthropic fundraising, she is a trustee of the New York Metropolitan Museum and has raised funds regularly for its ‘Costume Institute’ ; her involvement turned the museum’s annual gala into one of the most high profile events of the year.

Since 1990 she has raised funds for the ‘AIDS’ charities, the CDFA/Vogue fund was started by her to aid unknown fashion designers and she aided raising funds for the Twin Towers after the terror attack of September 11, 2001.

Some of her awards:

  • The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Lifetime Achievement Award
  • The British Fashion Awards (BFA) Outstanding Achievement Award
  • The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) Award of Courage
  • The Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for her service to British journalism and fashion
  • The  Legion d'Honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy
Wintour’s skill and enduring professionalism is rarely focused upon by the media, her discipline, focus and daily regime are legendary, a committed professional through and through, striving for excellence starting from herself.

I know she has been endlessily criticised for being "icy", she certainly has a strong personality, I personally like that.

I concur with her not liking people who'll say yes to everything she says, but wanting people who can argue, and disagree, and have a point of view which she can then reflect in her work ( the magazine).

I understand her love for New York because (quote) " it is a city for people who want to work. And I love that it is a city where everyone is from somewhere else - so you are not judged by your accent, who your dad was, or any of that .."  I feel the same about London  - which I adore.

Designer John Galliano says he owes his entire success to Wintour’s recommendation whilst Karl Lagerfeld , “She is the most famous fashion journalist in the world. She says what she thinks. That’s why some people think she’s tough.”

 Would she had endured the same criticism if she were a man? Doubt it.

"People respond well to those that are sure of what they want"- she has said and - " Why fit in when you were born to stand out".

For me she is a role model, somebody who inspired me to be myself and to go after what I want, unapologetically and that's why she is #TheWomanAlchemist for February.

And you, my lovely readers, what woman has inspired you to be who you are today?

Leave a comment and let me know :-)







The People Alchemist Blog

By The Alchemist About Town 22 Sep, 2017
I am so utterly delighted that my book is now out, available to order both on paperback and on Kindle edition just in time for Business Women's Day - YES!!!!!! :-) 

STOP IT! It's all in your head   is my labour of love and my way to encourage, inspire and empower women to achieve what they want professionally and not be confined by societal, religious, family paradigms of what " women should do/are like" and, most importantly, the restrictions in their head.
If that is being CEO of a Global Company or a stay-at-mum or Director of Paperclip ( whatever grabs your fancy) so be it.

Writing this book was also a personal challenge ( the 30 days thingy) which confirmed to me once and for all that you can really do whatever you set your mind to, if you really want to that is.

Couple of tips for writing a book from me:
  • write about what you are passionate about, you know more than you think.
  • free-write about the parts/chapters in the book you like the most and you are most interested in first - that will give you a great boost at the beginning - you can edit and add the boring bits later - by then most of the book will be almost there
  • keep your own voice - write as you speak so to speak ( people do need to understand you though..)
  • keep an open mind, ideas will flow into you mid-way through the project
  • a deadline and going public is good to beat procrastination ( but if that stresses you out too much don't do it) - the deadline certainly helped me.
You can do it too!!!

If anyone would like to be part of the book launch, the event is live on Eventbrite and you can buy an Early Bird ticket now:
SMASH YOUR CEILING - #STOPITBookLaunch 
Thursday 12 October at 18.30
Business Design Centre
Islington
London

To pre- e-meet other super fab women in business attending the event, please use the following hashtags:
#SMASHYOURCEILING
#STOPITBookLaunch
#BDCWorks

I'm so excited about this book and I genuinely hope you will like it- I hope to meet you soon, in person or through the pages of my book.

Laura x


#Hustle #GirlBoss #SmashThatCeiling
  #SmashYourCeiling
STOP IT! It's all in your head 
#dreambig #believe #youcan



By The Alchemist About Town 19 Sep, 2017
The time is getting closer and closer to the release of   STOP IT, It's all in your head   my new book ( 22 September for Business Women's Day - US) .

I have now  received the proof copy of the paperback which looks absolutely fabulous: a couple of things to correct but overall I am super happy with the result.
A lot of marketing to do now between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ ( which is PS: looking like more work than the actual writing of the book).

The book event/launch/talk is live on Eventbrite and you can buy an Early Bird ticket now:
SMASH YOUR CEILING - #STOPITBookLaunch 
Thursday 12 October at 18.30
Business Design Centre
Islington
London

To pre- e-meet other super fab women in business attending the event, please use the following hashtags:
#SMASHYOURCEILING
#STOPITBookLaunch
#BDCWorks

I'm so excited about this book and I genuinely hope you will like it.

Laura x


#Hustle #GirlBoss #SmashThatCeiling
  #SmashYourCeiling
STOP IT! It's all in your head 
#dreambig #believe #youcan



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