Anna Wintour Dispels Rumors Of A Memoir In A Rare Interview

So much has been said about Anna “Nuclear” Wintour, but she doesn’t seem to say much herself. The longtime Vogue editor-in-chief conducts herself just about as privately as it gets, so when rumors flew last summer that she was in the process of writing a memoir, we had our doubts. After all, the woman only gives an interview once in a blue moon (and even then, it’s only in the interest of her magazine), let alone a tell-all book. In a rare move, Wintour took to Telegraph this week to talk everything from her father (the editor of the London Evening Standard newspaper) to her creative director and contemporary Grace Coddington’s new read. But here’s what you really want to know: what does she really look for in a potential hire? The answer might surprise you.

“I look for strong people,” she says of her staff. “I don’t like people who’ll say yes to everything I might bring up. I want people who can argue, and disagree, and have a point of view that’s reflected in the magazine. My dad believed in the cult of personality. He brought great writers and columnists to the Standard. I try to do that here, too.”

More highlights from the interview, after the jump…

On her father’s attitude towards balancing work and family:

“The family all knew that he cared very deeply about us, but we also knew that he cared very deeply about the paper. There wasn’t any sense that he was an absent father ― on the other side, he taught all of us what a work ethic is, and how important it is to love what you do in life.”

On the game of fashion designer musical chairs being played by top designers like Dior and Yves Saint Laurent:

“It is important always to have really original talent. There are lots of good designers that make attractive clothes and make women look beautiful. But at the same time one doesn’t want to lose the idea that there is someone out there who can change the way you look at fashion. The way, going back, that Armani did, that Galliano did, that Alexander [McQueen] did … One doesn’t want fashion to look ridiculous, silly, or out of step with the times – but you do want designers that make you think, that make you look at fashion differently. That’s how fashion changes. If it doesn’t change, it’s not looking forward. And that’s important to me.”

Of her own celebrity, and rumors that young editors swoon in her wake:

“I’m sure that’s not the case. I’m just there to do my job, and the celebrity factor is not something I think about. What does celebrity do? Maybe it gets you a good table at a restaurant, or a ticket to a play. [My focus is on] the people one meets, the talent one can help, and trying to show a world to my readers that they will be as excited about as we are.”

On fast fashion and Michelle Obama’s influence on the industry:

“Fashion today is available to everybody in a way that it’s never been before: you’ve got every designer you’ve ever heard of working for H&M or Target. That’s fantastic. … Look back at the history of First Ladies and you’ll see they wore a good suit or a ball gown. Now we have someone who wears J.Crew or Thakoon or Azzedine Alaïa: a gamut of different designers. [Michelle Obama] has changed the way American women see fashion.”

And there you have it! Miranda Priestly herself, dashing the entire premise of that beloved fashion film in one fell swoop ― and at the forgiving hand of an interviewer who found her disarmingly warm. What next, Karl Lagerfeld offering hugs? John Galliano proclaiming his love for Jews? (One of these things is more likely than the other.) [Telegraph]