A she-devil? The new biography about Anna Wintour

Et must have been the year 1968 when a young woman decided to London dressed up for a demo. On that day, 8,000 mostly young people wanted to march from Trafalgar Square to the United States Embassy to protest against their military action in Vietnam. Decades later, the father of this young woman remembered the scene in a joint interview with her. He says: "After two hours of wondering what she would wear to the demo, I heard her come down the stairs, turn around and run back up." The daughter asked the father: "Daddy, am I for?" Or against Cambodia?” The father did not stop at this one blunt revelation from the young life of his daughter, who by the time of the interview had long since been influential and famous. He also remarked, "I'm almost certain you're aware that there are two parties in American politics."

Jennifer Wiebking

Editor in the "Life" department of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

There's a lot that makes this woman stand out in the interview scene: First, there's the importance of her father, the former London-celebrated editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard newspaper. The daughter keeps mentioning him; her admiration for him must be great. This interview scene from back then is also about looks and fashion, which was obviously important to the young woman. And the question of whether an interest in one's own beautiful surface is compatible with an interest in what moves humanity. The interview incident is also interesting, however, because it fails to mention the most well-known thing about this woman: that she is by no means as naive as her father portrays her, but rather a power man who was already there at the time of the interview, transforming the world with his idea of to shape beauty.

2006 Meryl Streep Wintour starred in The Devil Wears Prada

It's about Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue. She is still the most important woman in fashion. Among her less glorious credits is that she worked hard for decades to reduce beauty, at least when it comes to women, to three adjectives: thin, white, young. Everyone recognizes Anna Wintour - by her bob, by her sunglasses, maybe by her beige Manolo Blahnik sandals, and she usually wears colorful dresses and crystal necklaces. And ever since Meryl Streep played an easily recognizable literary version of her in The Devil Wears Prada in 2006, everyone thinks they know Wintour and her rigid working methods a little bit. Perhaps this is enough to describe their importance: A few months ago, the “New York Times” published a large portrait of Anna Wintour's hairdresser.

In this respect, her first name is sufficient as the title of a new biography about her. In "Anna," author Amy Odell gives a glimpse into the life of this woman who is surprisingly well-armed. Who, even if she has to cry from time to time, doesn't really let anything get to her and still takes everything exactly.

Amy Odell:

Amy Odell: "Anna - From the Life of a Fashion Icon". Publication date: September 20, 2022. Riva Verlag, 400 pages, 24 euros.

Image: Riva Verlag

The scene described in the book explains where she got it from. In the beginning there are mother and father. One, Eleanor, called Nonie, had a passion for parties; the daughter is now, among other things, the host of the biggest fashion party of the year, the Met Ball. The other, father Charles, lived for his work as a journalist. "Anna's relationship with her father is one of the most important of her life," says biographer Amy Odell. She is connected via zoom to the conversation this summer evening. On screen, she bears a slight resemblance to actress Anne Hathaway, who then played the assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. "People who have worked with the father say that if they look at Anna, they see him."

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