When you think of the fashion industry, leggy models, fast and fickle trends, and the latest “it” bag may come to mind. But when you look closely at the business of fashion (after all, it is an industry), you see that one of its leading icons uses basic branding principles to engage her consumers in innovative ways, expand her portfolio and most importantly, remain relevant and differentiated in an ever-changing, copycat industry. As you may have guessed, this leading fashion icon is Anna Wintour, the British-born editor in chief of American Vogue who has sternly, yet gracefully, transformed the magazine into the industry standard for fashion publications, if not the voice of fashion itself. The character Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City put it eloquently, “When I first moved to New York and I was totally broke, sometimes I bought Vogue instead of dinner. I found it fed me more." This sentiment epitomizes the strength and influence of the Vogue brand.
Undoubtedly Anna Wintour embodies everything the fashion world has to offer. Believe it or not it is Anna who decides what everybody is wearing today and what everybody will be wearing tomorrow. Not only does she run the most powerful fashion magazine in the world, Anna Wintour makes and breaks careers. She gives aspiring designers such as Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and even the iconic Alexander McQueen the big break that they all once craved. To put it simply, scouting fabulous fashion designers is one of Anna’s many talents. Nuclear Anna or not, it is impossible to be unaware of the power and control this style icon has.
Known to most, Anna Wintour possesses the qualities of a style icon – creativity, innovation and fearlessness. Having only gained her position as editor in chief of Vogue U.S, Anna abolished the tradition of putting plain ridged over dressed models on the cover of Vogue. None of the other main fashion magazines agreed with her rash decision of putting a girl with a smile in simple Guess jeans and a vest top on the cover of Vogue. However, this turned out to be a major success leading Anna to start putting celebrities instead of models on the cover of Vogue and like she predicted, sales skyrocketed and the world of fashion changed forever.
And just like every style icon, you would expect ones attire to turn heads. Anna’s own style has become something of a status, donning her signature bob and black sunglasses she already creates the elusive, Anna Wintour look. Before her reign however, Anna was something of a style nympho, wearing an eclectic collection of high fashion sexy and wacky fun prints. This turned regal once she came to Vogue, perhaps due to her stance within the fashion industry, and her seriousness over her role. The light, conservative attire, usually a Chanel suit or cardigan draped over a dress or a creation by Prada acts as a solution to Anna’s working, with a nifty $200,000 clothing allowance from Vogue’s publishers. Her sunglasses have become more famous than her glare with Wintour professing that they are extremely useful at hiding her emotions which only adds to Wintour’s overall alienation of people outside the fashion realm.
Whilst she manages the fashion bible of the world and sets ever lasting trends, it must be pointed out that Anna exudes self-confidence. By wearing whatever she likes, whenever she likes, she proves to young girls and older women that fashion is all about self-expression and no one does ‘individuality’ better than Ms. Wintour herself. An enigma in the public eye but as person perched on top of the Vogue Masthead, she holds a title and place where many would kill to be. Yet, she regains her post with over 20 years at Vogue, and as fashion’s Pied Piper, she shows no sign of slowing.