❚ ONCE IN A WHILE a piece of journalism actually reveals stuff you didn’t already know and great big penny drops. For its April issue, WSJ., the glossy magazine published by The Wall Street Journal, puts Anna Wintour on its cover (photographed by ex-Blitz club barman Mario Testino), while writer Joshua Levine explains in thorough detail how her power and financial clout reach far beyond her own editorship of Vogue, which she assumed in 1988.
By mobilising a “fully connected network” of allies and celebrity shock troops Anna shapes micro-economic forces around the world, to become “basically a global brand”, in the opinion of Deborah Needleman, editor of WSJ., “someone whose power extends beyond what she does”. Or as a former colleague who attended corporate matchmaking sessions between fashion’s biggest brands says: “She’s really the McKinsey of fashion.”
When some of New York’s 1,000 targeted stores balked at joining up to her Fashion’s Night Out initiative to rebuild sales amid post-recessionary thrift, she was 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.” A year later FNO had become an international event in 16 countries, when Istanbul, for example, logged clothing sales of $2 million in three hours.
At the age of 61, Anna’s globe-trotting, matchmaking and event-planning have not only made her a force among fund-raisers but are fuelling rumours that she is angling for a job in Washington as an ambassador. Indeed, Michelle Obama is one of the first names Wintour mentions when asked whom she most looks up to. Read on to discover Anna’s response…