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Front Row: Anna Wintour: The Cool Life and Hot Times of Vogue's Editor in Chief Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Already skewered in the 2003 novel The Devil Wears Prada, Wintour now gets a marginally more factual treatment in this latest unauthorized bio from celebrity trasher Oppenheimer (who's profiled Martha Stewart, the Clintons, Jerry Seinfeld, Barbara Walters and others). As in his previous works, Oppenheimer combs his subject's past, interviewing old school pals, ex-boyfriends, distant relatives, professional enemies, former colleagues and anyone else in possession of an ounce of dirt. Wintour has a reputation for being one of the nastiest women in both the fashion world and the realm of magazine publishing, a standing Oppenheimer bends over backward to bolster, dotting his pages with catty stories about her "calculated," "offensive" maliciousness (she'd buy clothes that were too small for her high school girlfriend, just so the girl would feel fat; later, at New York magazine in the early 1980s, she stole story ideas from colleagues). Although Oppenheimer clearly feels Wintour's notoriety is deserved, he does recognize her achievements: putting a model in jeans on the cover of Vogue, for example, when no one had dreamed of mixing denim with couture. If readers can ignore Oppenheimer's often over-the-top style ("The Wintour of British Vogue's discontent was about to begin"), they'll find some fun dish here. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book is, expectedly, filled with gossip and scandals and peppered with celebrity names and tales. And, should even three-quarters of this bio seem scurrilous and unfounded, the rest of the details serve to underscore the incredible bitchiness of the world of women's magazines. The scenes painted by popular biographer Oppenheimer (who chronicled the life of Martha Stewart in Just Desserts, 1998) seem 150 percent in alignment with his subject, Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue magazine. The "poor" little rich girl, daughter of a well-known British journalist and social worker cum heiress, used wits, guile, charm, and connections to move from high-school dropout to the pages of world-famous publications. No stranger to scheming and dreaming, Anna at an early age set her sights on the top job at the American Vogue and, with rudeness, heartlessness, and unmasked ambition, shattered a few lives on her way up. This is not a pretty tale; after all, Lauren Weisberger's best-selling The Devil Wears Prada [BKL Ap 1 03] is a not-so-fictionalized portrait of Wintour, among others. Yet this remains a fascinating read about one of the great queen-bee bosses and her mission to determine and define fashion. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Also you "quoted" Grace Mirabella saying "we give our readers what they don't know they want". Um that was one of Diana Vreeland's quotes extracted from one of her famous memos. Tsk tsk tsk
It read a little too snarky for my tastes. I was more interested in learning about Anna Wintour and instead got a whole lot of disgruntled gossip. There were some interesting tidbits but the meanness which the author wrote makes me wonder if they had a grudge. If you want to read a wannabe Liz Smithish tabloid fodderish revenge piece then spend your money.
Personally I find educated people profiting from someone like Anna Wintour (who didn't need an education because she is that good) to be the real evil in journalism.
I must say what I found most staggering from my reading of the book was the fact that Ms Wintour has been allowed to get away with treating staff and colleagues like garbage for the better part of four decades now. Not once has a senior executive stepped in to admonish her for her unreasonable, alienating, diva like behaviour. I find this absolutely extraordinary. I understand she is a very valuable asset to Conde Nast, but this sort of indulgence is pathetic. I live in Australia and we have very strict workplace laws here regarding age discrimination (it's illegal, end of story) and bullying and humiliation of employees (again, an illegal practice that an employer can be sued for). If she was editing Vogue here, Ms Wintour would have had her scrawny butt dragged before the Employment Tribunal umpteen times by now. Perhaps workplace laws are less strict in the US? Whatever, I find her management style and attitude towards staff and colleagues to be highly distasteful and a huge black mark against her. I don't care how influential she is in the shallow orbit of world fashion, you do not ever treat those who work for you with such open contempt.
Overall, Mr Oppenheimer has written a terrific biography about a fascinating, though polarising personality. It is well-researched, almost exhaustive in the number of people quoted and paints a very compelling portrait of the Vogue supremo. Highly recommended, I give this book five stars.
We read her background, the path she followed in her rise ( which makes it obvious that she reached the top using sharp teeth and sheer guts) and we learn a bit of what to do when one finds oneself in her sights.
She is a woman to admire, as this book shows.
Not necessarily a woman to like or emulate.
The book undoubtedly makes Anna angry, there are some ugly moments in her life.
Take this book to the beach, read it on a plane - it will definitely make time fly.