Creativity vs Commercial
Vogue was created in 1892 as a weekly newspaper, it wasn’t until the 1930’s that it became a fashion oriented print that celebrated talented artists and up and coming designers.
The company completely restructured and starting rebranding itself as soon as former editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland came to power. Vreeland made the magazine more open to sexuality and talked about fashion in a more open, less strict way. In return Vreeland helped form fashion into a more open form of self expression. Since then it has found itself as the number one fashion magazine in the world consecutively. When Diana was fired in 1971 for spending too much on numerous projects a new predecessor came in but only stayed a few short years and had little impact. In 1988 a new visionary, took the throne as editor-in-chief, the lucky woman was none other than Anna Wintour.
Most notable from her signature bob, sunglasses and of course, stern look, she’s the persona that is depicted in the famous Devil wears Prada. Anna aimed to make Vogue a more affordable, relatable magazine that would sell more copies. Anna used cheaper, less extravagant products and people in aims of appealing to a broader demographic to increase sales and profits. By doing so Anna lessened the effect that Vogue had on people and made the magazine less credible in the art world. She made Vogue into a brand new magazine, one that only discussed trendy topics and clothes.
Anna Wintour was born on November 3rd 1949 in London, England. Her father was an editor at a local newspaper which inspired her interest in writing. Her father would often come to her for writing advice in hopes to keep his articles young and relevant. She fell in love with fashion at an early age, wanting to write about it as much as possible. Considering she was born into a wealthy family, it made shopping and experiencing extravagant things easily accessible.
She was able to get into the fashion world somewhat easily.She dropped out of school to experience London and the famous fashion life she wanted. As she grew up, she worked in various publication houses, bouncing around from city to city. She wasn’t editor-in-chief until 1988 after years of flip flopping around various Conde Nast publications trying to salvage failing magazines. She got offered the role and was expected to raise sales as the competing magazine Elle was increasing sales while Vogue stayed stagnant.
While she did raise sales, she changed the dynamic, style and demographic of the entire magazine. Diana Vreeland had an extremely colorful upbringing. She was born in Paris, France in 1903, her mother was an American socialite and her father was a businessman. Her family was well off, but had periodic struggles with money throughout her adolescence forcing her and her family to move around a great deal. She was forced to move to New York City in mid 1914, due to the outbreak of World War 1, she was unable to speak any English. She had to adapt quickly to her new surroundings and tried to make the best of her situation.
Diana loved growing up in New York, living in the city exposed her to the all the glamour New York had to offer. She was immensely intrigued by fashion throughout living in Paris and was even more interested with it when she moved. Living in two of the fashion capitals in the world exposed her to so much, she learned a good amount about style and herself just by seeing such a large amount of people a day. When money started getting tight they moved back to Paris and spent the next few years flip flopping between the two and even moved out west for a short period of time. She loved to study people, she always wanted to understand people as a whole more.
Throughout her childhood and even into her adulthood, she never was accepted by her mother, she didn’t believe Diana was pretty or even fashionable enough. She was always self aware, but instead of trying to conceal her flaws (which was what her mother wanted) she embraced them and frequently would try to emphasize them. She didn’t want to be like everyone else so they would like her, she wanted to be herself so that she would be able to love herself. Naturally people gravitated towards her, they respected her ideas and opinions and she did the same. This attitude helped her land her job at Harper’s Bazaar where she worked her way up the editorial ladder.
She eventually landed the editor-in-chief job at Vogue, she added artistic value to the magazine and used her and her collegue’s creativity to create a better end product. Anna Wintour is infamous for her constant stern expression, she never seems to be having fun or enjoying herself. Her personality in public comes across as not very lively. Anna was even the person that was depicted in the famous movie The Devil Wears Prada. She runs Vogue with the same attitude, keep things professional and strict. She leaves very little room for creativity and makes professional decisions based solely on what will sell the most copies.
She often says she doesn’t like surprises, she doesn’t like uncertainty which leads to very little risk taking in Vogue. Her personality is very heavily reflected onto the magazine and makes a huge impact, she delegates pretty much every single thing that happens in the magazine and makes sure it’s done her way. She does not allow any kind of outside creativity in, this makes Vogue lack the artistic aesthetic it once had. “Style, all who have it share one thing- Originality” (83). Diana Vreeland always put heavy emphasis on not conforming to society’s standards, she wanted Vogue to be extravagant and bursting with creativity.
She didn’t want to make a magazine based solely off of what was trending or what would sell, she wanted to make a magazine that showcased talent from designers and artists and wanted to display people with different ideas. Although this is what ended up getting her fired, this is what made Vogue into the credible fashion magazine that it is today. She was an innovator, she was filled with creativity and spontaneity. She was always eager to hear people’s ideas and feelings about the magazine. She loved her job and being able to do the things she did, she wore a smile all the time and never took herself too seriously. Her personality was highly reflected onto Vogue, Vogue was more fun and original back then.
Diana Vreeland was an absolutely remarkable woman, she was a perfectly cultured, mannered, spontaneous, strict, fun woman. She was truly one of a kind. Anna Wintour may not be the best person to be in charge of Vogue, but she does favorable in sales, unfortunately she does so well only because she turned Vogue into a commercialized stereotypical fashion magazine that lacks creativity and puts less emphasis on designers to be talented and more emphasis on being like everyone else. This is one of the main reasons there’s a negative connotation towards fashion. Anna seeks approval and wants to be feared by her inferiors, she demands respect. Diana received an immense amount of respect because people saw her passion and how hard she worked for what she loved and gave her the respect she deserved, she didn’t demand it and try to make people fear her, she was just herself and people respect that.