Anna Wintour – Influential Magazine Editor

Through her 30+career in magazine publishing, Wintour has developed a reputation for being distant and cold. It has been said that she a demanding boss and is difficult to work for, an opinion Wintour doesn’t exactly deny. In 2003, Lauren Weisberger, one of Anna Wintour’s former assistants published the book The Devil Wears Prada, based on her experience working at Vogue magazine. The book was made into a movie in 2006 and Anna Wintour made celebrity magazine and fashion magazine headlines when she showed up to the premiere wearing Prada.

In August 2009, Anna Wintour along with the creation of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine were the subjects of the documentary, “The September Issue.” The documentary shows, for the first time, the demanding work required to produce an issue of Vogue magazine.

Forbes magazine recently reported that though the documentary is touted as “the real Devil Wears Prada,” that “Wintour mostly is portrayed as a professional and a perfectionist with a well-defined vision and an inferiority complex that becomes apparent when she admiringly talks about her three siblings who consider her profession “amusing”; Wintour’s sister, for example, lobbies for farmers’ rights in Latin America.”

Anna Wintour was born in 1949, in London, England, to newspaper editor Charles Wintour and his wife, philanthropist Elinor Wintour. As a teenager, Wintour dropped out of school and instead pursued a life that revolved around the chic London life of the 1960s, frequenting the same London clubs of pop culture’s biggest celebrities and musicians like The Beatles and Rolling Stones.

Before Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour started out in the fashion department of Harper’s & Queen in London. Over the years, she climbed the editorial ladder and bounced from magazine to magazine between New York and London. In 1976, she moved to New York and took over as fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar magazine. With a stop at Viva magazine after Harper’s Bazaar in between, Anna Wintour took a job with New York magazine in 1981. From the start, Wintour was driven and had her own sense of style and direction. In 1986, she returned to London as top editor of publisher Condé Nast’s British Vogue magazine.

It’s at British Vogue that Wintour’s cold demeanor earned her a few memorable nicknames: “Nuclear Wintour” and “Wintour of Our Discontent.” In 1987 she went onto another Condé Nast magazine, Home and Garden, where she abruptly changed the magazine’s title to HG.

Though subordinates grumbled about Wintour’s management style, Condé Nast’s top executives clearly supported her decisions; she earned a reported salary of more than $200,000 plus a $25,000 annual allowance for clothes and other perks.

In 1988 Anna Wintour left HG magazine and became editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine with one goal: reinstate Vogue magazine as the fashion authority. At the time of her arrival, Vogue magazine was losing ground to a three-year-old upstart, Elle magazine, which had already reached a paid circulation of 850,000. Vogue’s subscriber base meanwhile, was a motionless 1.2 million.

In her more than two decades at Vogue magazine, Wintour has more than accomplished her goal. She successfully restored Vogue’s supremacy and today the magazine enjoys the nickname of the “fashion bible.”

For all her critics, Anna Wintour has made many influential decisions that affect the magazine industry at large. She popularized putting celebrities instead of supermodels on magazine covers; she mixed low-end fashion pieces with expensive pieces in her photo shoots; she championed unknown fashion designers, making the careers of Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.

While Anna Wintour has garnered much attention for her distant demeanor and contributions to the fashion world, many are unaware of her commitment to philanthropy. Some of her generosity includes raising money for the Twin Towers fund after the September 11th terror attacks and with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, she helped create a new fund to encourage and support up-and-coming designers. Each year, she also organizes a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s costume department, which over the years has brought in some $50 million. This event attracts many celebrities and is covered relentlessly in fashion, society and celebrity magazines.

As for her personal life, she and husband David Shaffer divorced in 1999. The couple has two children together, Charles and Katherine. Currently, Anna Wintour maintains a relationship with investor Shelby Bryan.

Fashion Photography

Do you want to be a fashion photographer? Fashion photography is an extremely tough market to break into, but if you are willing to work hard, have a good imagination and hold the ability to take perfect images you are off to a good start.

A fashion photographer must be good in two photography disciplines. First, you need to be a great portrait photographer – second, you need to be able to create images for the advertisement market. You must be able to combine the two if you are going to succeed.

To be a successful fashion photographer you must also have a love of fine design clothes – without it you will never achieve the heights that bring success. A fashion photographer must stay up to date with all the latest fashion and have the ability to use his/her imagination to sell new designs.

Selling is the key – the fashion photographer must be able to sell his images to the fashion editor. Fashion photography is advertising and selling clothes.

To establish a reputation in fashion photography, the first thing you must do is set up a portfolio. Your portfolio should display your best work and be your first selling point. The second, and equally as important as the first, is to set up an online portfolio – your own personal Website.

To set up a portfolio you first must hire a model. Contacting your local modelling agencies can do this. You don’t need to hire a well-known model for your fashion portfolio – you need someone who will act well in front of the camera.

To be very successful you need to build a good relationship with models. Some models can be tough to work with so people psychology will play an important part. If you intend to shoot from your home studio supply a changing room for them.

If a model becomes unhappy for any reason the photo session will be a waste of time. Allow your model to make their own suggestions – regardless of how trivial it may be, it will help to keep them relaxed and you may get results that may be useful.

Once your portfolio is created you need to get exposure for it. If you have previously published work – use them as a statement with the picture editors. You need to establish a good working relationship with all fashion editors that you’ll be working with. So be professional.

Fashion photo editors are looking for concise images that clearly communicate an idea. You must, as a fashion photographer, have the ability to create unique settings.

When you do gather a large amount of fashion images, submit them to a fashion agency: Women’s magazines all over the world buy hundreds of stock shots every month. Photo agencies exist to sell photographers images – some of the larger fashion agencies have buyers all over the world. Some agencies can also re-sell your work in several different markets, and others will give you great career advice.

Keep up to date with fashion magazines, study the market and always be on the lookout for changing trends.

Don’t be afraid to take the first step. If a fashion editor has no interest in your work – don’t worry – try contacting different magazines or agencies – most great photographers have their work rejected some time during their career.

Breaking Into Fashion Public Relations

Publicists are masters of communication. They not only help to create an image for products and companies, they also spearhead efforts to get the word out and create buzz. If you love fashion and have stellar communication skills, you could enjoy great success in fashion public relations.

Retailers hire fashion publicists to develop and promote a certain image to the buying public. To the fashion publicist, it’s all about who you know. Those in fashion PR have important fashion editors and top designers on speed dial and collect contacts on a daily basis. The more people you know, the easier it is to promote something.

Not only do fashion publicists have to know important fashion players, they must also know the politics, economy and sociology of their target demographic. While you can learn about the ins and outs of PR by majoring in it, it is also wise to enroll in fashion courses to gain industry and technical knowledge. Not to mention, fashion school will also serve as a networking opportunity as you connect with classmates who are also entering the fashion world.

People skills are essential to those interested in fashion PR. Since the job is basically communicating constantly, it is important to know how to get a point across and how to be likable and graceful under pressure. Another important quality to have is ambition. Since fashion PR is a highly competitive field, only the most driven will make it through and get the job of their dreams in fashion PR.

Learn more about Careers in Fashion.

The Influence of Australian Celebrities on Australian Fashion

Australian celebrities play a big part in the psyche of the Australian public; in fact they could almost be considered part of an Australian’s daily life. Our favourite celebrities are in our sub-conscious everyday – they are on our televisions, we hear their voices on the radio, and see them almost everywhere in print ads such as billboards, newspapers, and magazines. It’s no surprise really that celebrities have an influence on our lives and shape our ideas on things. One area that celebrities are particularly influential in is the latest fashion trends.

Designers prefer to have celebrity endorsers for their clothing lines, particularly as celebrities raise the profile and appeal to celebrity hungry Australian consumers. Having celebrities such as Nicole Kidman (who recently endorsed Chanel No. 5) and Ian Thorpe has been advantageous for fashion labels. The popularity of these celebrities assures that fashion designers and fashion labels get the desired attention from the target market. We all love to wear the latest styles, so when we see the likes of Naomi Watts with a hot handbag, then the rest of us are rushing out to get it! When fashion items such as clothing, shoes and accessories are seen on famous celebrities then the desire for the rest of us to replicate their look has an incredible power on the rest of us. Wearing the latest styles that we see on our favourite celebrity gives us a stronger connection to the stars we admire. Celebrities have special something that makes people want to follow their lead; this in turn makes them powerful trend drivers.

Celebrities are trendsetters, so expect to see them making the headlines when they are out in public with a new style (think Kylie after any of her many changes). Australian fashion critiques judge these styles and we see reviews, feedback and comments across many media forums. Celebrity styles that receive good reviews and get the thumbs up are often quickly picked up and become a trend with the wider public. Think how often we will see an image of Cate Blanchett or Miranda Kerr with a ‘How To Create The Look’ caption and article. Magazines regularly feature such articles to help stylish readers achieve their favourite Australian celebrity’s look, or re-create an outfit similar to one worn by a celebrity for a special occasion or event.

We can even get clothing and other items that famous celebrities have launched. It is possible now to purchase clothing, shoes, accessories, bags, lingerie, and even perfume and toiletries. Stylish consumers can buy lingerie from Elle Macpherson and Kylie Minogue, as well as the Kylie perfume. Just by carrying a celebrity’s name products get a significant level of support from consumers. Fashion editors and trend watchers are always on the lookout for the new styles and trends, eagerly awaiting the next thing that these celebrities will introduce to the fashion world especially those celebrities who have consistently made it on the list of the Australia’s Best Dressed Celebrities.

The glamour of award nights and the red carpet inspire a great deal of public attention and this influences fashion lovers. There are often reviews and commentary for the biggest award nights and there are television shows and even channels that focus on celebrity and fashion. These shows can be a great place for designers to get their brands in the public eye – with fashion lovers tuning in to watch the fashion at events such as the Brownlow’s or the ARIA’s to see what their favourite celebrities are wearing.

There is little doubt that Australian celebrities get to wear some amazing designer fashion. With local shows such as ‘Make Me A Supermodel’ and Australia’s ‘Project Runway’ captivating a whole new audience and expanding their understanding of fashion, the influence of celebrities is sure to continue and grow in the future.