Op-Ed

Anna Wintour and Fashion Darwinism

Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief

Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief

DALLAS, Jan 3, 2009 / FW/ — In her recent article ‘What’s Wrong with Vogue?’, Cathy Horyn of The New York Times defended Vogue ediatrix Anna Wintour while agreeing with a letter from a Vogue reader that the magazine is in a rut.

What Cathy Horyn did not mention is that most fashion magazines are in a rut or worse, have become just a glossy tabloid talking about overused topics like the long running Jennifer Aniston – Brad Pitt – Angelina Jolie triangle, that has gotten old even to avid fans but still sells a lot of copies.

And, while fashion magazines are supposed to set the standard for fashion coverage with its bigger budget and glossy pages that are perfect for great photo shoots, it is the daily newspapers like The New York Times and International Herald Tribune that truly comes up with the in-depth analysis.

Yet, as serious fashionistas know, it is not just about writing reviews, making recommendations, spotting trends or big budget photo shoots. In fashion, it is also about personality and among the current fashion editors and critics, there is no one who has a bigger than life image than Anna Wintour, even compared to the other editors in the Vogue family.

As the records show, Ms. Wintour had brought Vogue into great heights since she took over. But, things are changing. The world is turning more digital everyday; news travel at internet speed and scoops are published within minutes. Fashion had become a sport. With celebrity magazines like People predicting fashion trends and the tabloid press like OK Magazine covering fashion week, it is time for the likes of Anna Wintour to re-invent the fashion press.

Yes, Vogue reader Kathryn Williams of San Diego is right when she said, “I could make a calendar of your cover girls, and it would probably repeat year after year.” More than that, the venerable fashion magazines from Vogue to Marie Claire to Elle might have varied the menu for the past 20 years but not one of them had truly introduced an innovative approach to fashion coverage that will catch the attention of the digital generation.

The current change in demographics and global economic crisis might be just the right elements to force a change in how the industry’s power elite view reporting and coverage of fashion.

[MARI DAVIS]

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