ANNA WINTOUR FOR AMBASSADOR AND THE REST OF THE WEEK IN FASHION

Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Yesterday, I was asked to go on Sky News to talk about the speculation that Anna Wintour is to be appointed US ambassador to the UK by Barack Obama. This rumour has been kicking around for some time now but only seems to have properly caught on in the past week. I was told that I would be debating whether this would be a good move with The Telegraph's Washington-based blogger Niles Gardiner who had written in great protestation that Wintour would be a "ludicrous pick" for the Obama administration.

Anna Wintour arrives at the White House
I shan't bore you with the details but one wrong turn and mega traffic jam later, I didn't make it to Sky News in time to have my say, so I'm going to do it now. The more I've thought about this, the more it's turned into something far bigger than a question of who will be appointed to succeed Louis Susman, the current ambassador. It's about a world where men, mostly, who are otherwise intelligent and well-educated make the mistake of dismissing fashion as a pithy little thing which must only occupy the airiest of airheads, even if it is a global $200 billion industry and huge provider of employment. Gardiner claims that "it is impossible to see the editor of Vogue successfully handling highly complex issues pertaining to US-British relations". I wonder if he realises that it is Wintour's responsibility to manage the big brand advertisers whose revenues her publication so relies on, ensuring that the finest of balances is struck between maintaining editiorial integrity and keeping the pennies rolling in? With every fashion label in the world vying for space in her magazine, Wintour has one of the most diplomatically challenging jobs there is, and she's done it brilliantly for 24 years.

Just because she has a signature hairdo and some nice clothes, doesn't mean that Wintour cannot be good at politics, diplomacy and business. She has engineered partnerships between big companies and young designers, like Thakoon's collaboration with GAP which was shown in The September Issue, masterfully selling the benefits of such hop-ups with each party . What's more she has driven schemes like the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund which gives serious financial support and business mentorship to the big designers of tomorrow; Alexander Wang, now at Balenciaga and hugely successful with his own label employing 156 people, won the prize in 2008. Wintour is also a formidable fundraiser, raking in over $40 million for Obama's re-election campaign, $50 million for the Metropolitan Museum in New York and $10 million for AIDS charities. She has also transformed London's Theatre Awards. That's before we even get started on what she's  done for Vogue, commissioning features about everything from world affairs to politics to philanthropy because she understands, unlike some others, that women are interested in those things as well as clothes. She messed up big time on the Asma Al-Assad profile, yes but if I remember correctly the Americans were cosy with Saddam Hussein for sometime before they decided he was enemy no.1. It's wrong and horrible but Wintour is no different to many before her. Ultimately, she is a woman who gets things done

Gardiner also thinks "the fact that Wintour is even on the short list for the Ambassador post is a testament to the Obama presidency’s obsession with celebrities". Wintour isn't a celebrity. She's high profile, yes, but she is a professional woman whose role courts interest in exactly the same way that being a senior politician or businessman does. I seriously doubt that whoever gets the job will be a complete unknown who hasn't previously appeared in the press, it's just that Anna might be better known among, shock horror, women than men. Dare I say it, but the very qualities which seem to be so offputting to the likes of Gardiner could be the ones which make Wintour an excellent and truly original ambassador, attracting increased engagement in political affairs from those who might not have seen the relevance before. That's exactly what Anna did with her support for Obama. 

The likes of Gardiner need to get out their stuffy men-in-suits mindset and open their eyes to the fact that there's a whole lot more to Anna Wintour than her ability to throw a good party with SJP and wear Celine. Donald Trump tweeted his support for Wintour's appointment yesterday too, whether that strengthens or weakens my argument, I'll let you decide. 

THE REST OF THE WEEK'S FASHION NEWS...

PPR has confirmed that Alexander Wang will now design for Balenciaga. There is also talk of a couture line. read Hamish Bowles' piece on the move here.

 Kate Upton is the star of British Vogue's fabulously fresh January cover shot by Alasdair McLellan. It's like 2013 fashion Wedgewood on paper. The shoot inside is stunning too.

 The first print run of Carine Roitfeld's CR Fashion Book has sold out, but never fear more are due before Christmas. 

Kate Upton again, this time with chicks (Image via fashioncopious.typepad.com)
Topshop has been valued at £2 billion following Sir Phillip Green's decision to sell a 25% stake in the business to LGP, a move which will strengthen the brand as it moves further into the US market. LGP also has big investments in J Crew and Neiman Marcus. 

Chanel's shindig at Linlithgow Palace looks like it was spectacular, even the snow fell for the celebration of the 2013 MĂ©tiers d'art collection. Sam McKnight's inspired plait hairdos have had me craving cornrows all week. I think Jess Cartner-Morley and Sarah Mower summed up the evening's significance and fabulousness brilliantly, do read their pieces.  Meanwhile, here are some plaits, tartans and Elizabeth I lookalikes...


Chanel at Linlithgow (images via vogue.com)

Hair by Sam McKinight, complete with plastic covers to shield from the rain (image via Sam McKnight's Twitter)
JW Anderson says he's still trying to come up with the perfect dress. He wants "to create a new form of architecture, a dress that is tri-functional” I think he did rather well on the design which Elle's Anne-Marie Curtis was kitted out in for the BFAs. 
Elle's Anne- Marie Curtis in JW Anderson (from elleuk.com)
London design duo Antoni and Alison are celebrating 25 years in the business this year, hurrah! They've given their Roseberry Avenue store in EC1 a makeover which includes a gorgeous new tearoom called "Ye Olde Worlde Super Modern". There's no wifi, but pencil and paper are provided and all those tea choosing stresses are taken off your hands because there is quite simply only tea on the menu. A delightful weekend treat! Read more on Style Bubble
Tea with Antoni and Alison (image via stylebubble.co.uk)

Finally, a date for diary...

0 comments:

Post a Comment