Tuesday, May 13, 2008

That "Anna Wintour" Blog

Happy Tuesday to you...

Things are eerily calm in my office right now. Eerily calm. My boss is currently the star witness in this case against Garth Drabinsky or something in the hibbidy hoobady that I don't quite understand and think it's in my best interests not to. Apparently he's being cross-examined by the Greenspan brothers today, who are apparently the biggest shit deal in terms of lawyers in this country (excluding, of course, one Michael Johnston - easily the best darned real-estate, divorce and private adoption lawyer in the known world/my dad)... but yeah, these dudes repped Conrad Black. So my boss is being pistol-whipped by them today. Yikes.

Anyballs - everyone's been asking me if the phone's been ringing off the hook with press enquiries, which of course it isn't... I kind of wish it was though... so I could act really cold and elusive...

SPEAKING OF COLD AND ELUSIVE - what a segue! - I recently finished reading a book that's changed my life infinitely for the better... "Front Row: Anna Wintour: The Cool Life and Hot Times of Vogue's Editor in Chief" by Jerry Oppenheimer... it's basically a really trashy, pieced-together bio but it's written by a stuffy British guy who uses words like "grandiloquent" so at times it sounded like something I could picture myself reading whilst sitting in a drawing room sipping a snifter of Grand Marnier...

Anna Wintour, of course, is the legendary style maven and editrix-in-chief of Vogue Magazine renowned for her never-changing bob hairstyle and icy-if not-cruel demeanour. And I am currently OBSESSED with her.

Here's a precis of her life 'n times...

Her family, for the most part, are a bunch of dowdy do-gooders - except, of course, her father - Charles Wintour... the former editor of London's Evening Standard. He was known as "Chilly Charlie" to those in his employ because of his icy demeanour - one that Anna obviously inherited. It's speculated that this is due to the accidental death of his first-born song, Gerald. Anyballs... Anna was always her father's favourite, but he never saw too much in the stars for her... just a married socialite basically.

As a child Anna could be characterized as being A.) very shy and B.) very independent. In her mid-teens she moved into the basement apartment in her family's impossibly British townhouse and started dating - some men nearly twice her age. This never bothered her parents, apparently. It's also believed that she was sexually active with these men. It's around this age that she also adopted her signature bob and - save for a photo shoot she did with a photographer beau of hers later in her 20's - never altered it.

She was very active in the swinging 60's London scene, but very reserved and never drank. One thing that a lot of people don't know is that Anna - much like Amy Poehler's character Angie in the number-1 box office smash Baby Mama, "discontinued high school". That's right. The amount of formal education - or rather, lack thereof - that Anna has is staggering considering that she's the editor of one of the world's foremost publications. The only sort of post-secondary education she has was a sort of work-study program in fashion management that she also "discontinued".

Her start in fashion was modest: a summer job as a shopgirl at Biba. Y'all know Biba, right? A chain of affordable fashions popular in small town strip malls (there's one in Brockville, that's all I'm sayin'). Yeah, well back in the 60's the original Biba boutique was the shit, yo. Her father Charles got it for her, quite surprised that she wanted to work at all. Anyballs, because of a well-connected dude she was dating at the time (the prominent theme in the life of Anna Wintour), she got a job as an editorial assistant at a magazine named Harper's & Queen.

In the mid-70's, she met the man who many consider the love of her life: Jon Bradshaw - Anna's Mr. Big for all intents and purposes. Fed up with London - and always, always, always having her eyes on the prize that was American Vogue - she fled to New York with him determined to make a name for herself in the American magazine market. Using Bradshaw's connections, she got a job at Harper's Bazaar which lasted less than a year until she was given the heave-ho after disputes with the editor (did I just write "heave-ho"? Really? Wow.)

According to many sources and to Anna herself, following her disastrous stint as associate editor at Bazaar, she freelanced for a couple of years before getting back on the train - this is all phenomenal bullshit, apparently. For 2 very distinct years, she was a fashion editor at a magazine named Viva. VIVA! What was Viva, y'ask? Viva was the female companion magazine to Penthouse... yep... it was a Bob Guccione production run by his main ho, former stripper-turned-entrepeneuse Kathy Keeton. There's the first couple of classiness pictured to the right...

Anna always felt the job was beneath her - which is why she has never even remotely acknowledged it since - but was given complete creative control and an unlimited budget whilst there (all those bare, eager pussy shots that Penthouse spearheaded - although not exactly artful - amply paid 'da bills, apparently)... It's around this time that Anna also acquired her first personal assistant, who she promptly proceeded to put through hell... one particular assistant recounted that she'd catch Anna standing in her office "throwing out pennies" from her wallet into her garbage (I find that fucking hysterical for some reason) and that every day Anna would make her trek across town to get her this very specific soup that she'd throw an enormous gob of butter into, let it melt a bit, then eat the butter... "It struck me as just a way to eat the butter"... again... I find this hysterical...

By 1979, the party was over. Viva folded, and Anna was out of a job. According to Mr. Oppenheimer the next few years of Anna's life had her gadding about on Concords all over the world with this French disco producer named Esteban something. The details are scant.

Her return to publishing came in the early 80's courtesy of Jon Bradshaw, once again. He hooked her up with a job as fashion director of a magazine called Savvy - geared towards the professional working woman, a-la Melanie "Tess McGill" Griffith in Working Girl. Her work was turning heads, landing her the primo gig as fashion director at New York magazine.

Sometime within her stint at New York, she was granted an audience with then-editrix-in-chief of Vogue, Grace Mirabella - a woman who would go on to become one of Anna's most sworn enemies. Legend has it that in the 10-minute meeting betwixt the two fashionistas, when asked by Mirabella what job Anna would like at Vogue, Anna replied "Well, yours". SNAP! She was quickly hustled the hell out of there and back to her job at New York.

As it turns out, Grace Mirabella Schmrace Schmerabella, Anna had successfully wooed editorial director of Conde Nast, Alex Liberman who quickly found her a home within the Conde Nast family. She was brought in as 'creative director' of American Vogue which was basically code for 'pain in Grace Mirabella's vag' - she butted in on everything, changing things for no reason whatsoever and just generally being a shit-disturbing menace for the sake of being a shit-disturbing menace.

T'was also at this time that she met her first husband, renowned child psychiatrist (and renowned fug... holy balls the man is grotesque... them kids of theirs is lucky they got Anna's looks... let me tell ya) David Shaffer (pictured). He's been noted as being her constant support system and Svengali, single-handedly maneuvering all of Anna's brilliant career moves. In return, she bore him two children - Charlie (after her father) and Bee (birthname Katherine... apparently she always referred to herself as "bah-bee" when she was little, so the nickname Bee was born and stuck).

Anyballs... no sooner than she popped Charlie out of her cooch was she sent packing back to London where she assumed job as editrix-in-chief of British Vogue. It's here that she met another candidate for the arch-nemesis of her life: Liz Tilberis - a fashion editor who was vying for the job before Anna came and eventually inherited after she left. Under Anna's rule, British Vogue changed completely - Anna basically used it as a template for what she'd do with American Vogue. This didn't sit well with the old guard, whose lives she made a living hell.

Under the guise of 'needing to be with her family' and certainly NOT because she 'was being groomed by Conde Nast super-powers Alex Liberman and Si Newhouse - two men who were absolutely smitten with Anna and her knowingly put on school-girl-esque charms - to take over for Grace Mirabella at American Vogue because she just wasn't measuring up', Anna was relocated back to the US to take over as editor-in-chief of House & Garden magazine. Yeah, she absolutely destroyed it. Completely. Reinvented it as HG... made it celeb & garmet-centric as opposed to the interior digest it used to be... completely ran it into the ground...

Around this time, a little magazine called Elle was coming to prominence - featuring a younger, fresher, hipper take on fashion. Liberman and Newhouse told Grace Mirabella: BE MORE LIKE ELLE! Mirabella was all: LICK MY BALLS, BITCH! So, they canned her ass. Enter Anna Wintour into the top job at American Vogue. T'was her life's ambition and she's been there ever since. *pats hands together as if to say "case closed"*

Since then, of course, her marriage dissolved upon meeting hunky Texan telecommunications mogul J. Shelby Bryan... a torrid affair that played out in the tabloids and caused multiple cracks in her famously steely facade... at one particularly low point, she was seen at one of her Costume Institue Gala's with "mascara running down her face" after Bryan shunned her... the book notes that one of the guests in attendance this particular evening - the ever-irascible Whitney Houston - was noted as saying that Anna was "going to fuck that boyfriend of hers up!"

I just really had to throw that in there...

Also of note - as everyone knows, a tasty little roman a clef entitled "The Devil Wears Prada" was penned about an assistant's experience working under Anna at Vogue by an author named Lauren Weisberger. According to sources at Vogue who worked with Weisberger at the time, she was apparently quite content to be there. The 'memoir' came entirely out of left field...

Also of note - arguably her fiercest rival is Vanity Fair-turned-New Yorker editrix Tina Brown. The two go way back: Back in the day, Brown's father was a B-movie producer in England who's movies were constantly sneered at by Anna's father's paper - something that Tina Brown never forgot. Once the shit hit the fan re: Anna's affair with Shelby Bryan, Tina made it her business to smear it around as much as she could. Additionally - following the death of Princess Diana, Brown aired the details of a hyper-exclusive lunch date that Anna, Tina and Di had thereby scooping Anna and making her see fluorescent red.

Finally - Anna Wintour and PETA are not friends. Anna's a big wearer of fur. Apparently them crazy folks at PETA aren't so into that. They've dumped a dead raccoon on her plate when she was out dining (which, apparently, she just casually pushed to the side and continued with her meal). They've pied her with a tofu pie during Paris Fashion Week (pictured), she pronounces that "tofu is good for the skin". The use an image of her furled jaw looking like an angered opossum in one of their anti-fur adds. May the good times continue to roll. Upon visiting their website, they give Anna's contact info:

Anna Wintour, Editor
Condé Nast
4 Times Square
New York, NY

Tel.: 212-880-8800
Fax: 212-880-8169

I'm totally going to send a junk fax right now. Saying what, I'm unsure. Whatever.

In other news:



Anyballs... phew... that's it for me today...

--- Aj