Anna Wintour is an icon in many ways. She is a global ambassador for the fashion industry, and a high profile face (and power player) in the publishing landscape. She’s also been deemed a literal dame! And in a recent podcast interview, she displayed the finesse that no doubt helped her get to the top.
In a clip that’s caught traction online, Wintour is being interviewed by Anne McElvoy for The Economist. The clip is about Donald and Melania Trump and their style. After suggesting that President Trump seems to dress to purposefully to be out of fashion, McElvoy turns her attention Melania.
“Melania is...much more put together in a way,” she says. “She did come to the UK and I think very consciously wanted to see herself as an ambassador for British fashion in this case, or a transatlantic ambassador. Do you value that?”
“Well,” Wintour begins. “I think First Lady Michelle Obama was really so incredible in every decision she made about fashion. She supported young American designers. She supported designers, indeed, from all over the world. She was the best ambassador this country could possibly have, in many ways, obviously way beyond fashion —”
“But she’s not the first lady now,” McElvoy says, attempting to redirect the answer and press her point. “What about the one you have now?”
“And for me, she is the example I admire,” Wintour says, continuing her thought, unfazed and unmoved by the redirection. It was clear from the clip that Miss Wintour had no intention of discussing Melania and she only has one First Lady in her heart. But when you listen to the full podcast, you realize this was the second time the legendary editor had maneuvered around a Melania-specific inquiry
“You do seem to keep your distance from the Trumps, and Melania Trump,” McElvoy asks earlier on in the recording. “I think she was featured a long time ago but before she was in the White House as First Lady. She makes it to Vogue.com sometimes but not to the magazine; is that a conscious decision?”
“There’s so many women in politics that deserve celebration, whether it’s Kirsten [Gillibrand] or Senator Harris, or Senator Warren,” Wintour responds. You see where this is going right? “We just recently ran a piece in our current issue about five of the six political female candidates, all of which I felt deserved a place in Vogue. And how wonderful that after a lot of naysayers saying that after [Hillary Clinton] not succeeding that it would be very difficult to find a voice in the current presidential campaigns. How wonderful that that is not the case. I think that both Senator Warren and Senator Harris are among the top candidates right now.” McElvoy only realizes what has happened a few questions later, and rounds back to it.
“We just glided — or perhaps it’s clear, I don’t know — past the question of Melania and where she features in Vogue world.” she says. “Do you feel that she’s not the right person to feature in the magazine?”
“I think it’s important for Vogue to support women who are leading change in this country,” Wintour responds. And that’s that on that.