Book review by Deane Barker tags: fashion, biography

This is a biography of Anna Wintour, who has been the leader of Vogue for 25 years. She’s more than that now, actually – she’s “Artistic Director” for all of Conde Naste. She’s likely the most famous person in the fashion business.

Anna simply decided, at a young age, that she wanted to be the editor-in-chief of Vogue. And she set out to do just that.

She did come from a life of privilege, certainly. Her father was a successful publisher, so she had some background in the business. And she was well-raised, and seemingly prepped for this life.

But there’s no denying that she had a singular mission, and kept pushing until she achieved it. She started as a lowly production assistant and worked her way up. She bounced from magazine to magazine, and slowly rose through the ranks of fashion and lifestyle publishing for years. In that sense, it’s a remarkable success story.

But as for the book – there are no surprises here. Anna Wintour is pretty much what you expect. Pretentious, demanding, aloof, etc. She’s basically Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada (who was based on her; the book was written by a former employee).

I can’t think of one thing in the book that made me think differently of the image I had of her, except perhaps that she has a tendency to get emotional. (I did find out that she was married for a decade-and-a-half to a child psychologist and she has two children (and grandchildren). I suppose I was a little surprised at that.)

I can’t not recommend the book, because it’s absolutely what it claims to be – a comprehensive, competent biography of its subject. But I was oddly detached from it. I was waiting for something amazing to be revealed; something that would really make me re-think Anna as a person.

I was still waiting at the end of the book. In the end, maybe Anna is too consistent and obvious to be interesting?

Book Info

Amy Odell