Diplomatic editor: Is Anna Wintour really going to swap her Louis Vuitton for an attaché case?

Barack Obama is thinking of offering his biggest backer a new career as an ambassador

Speculation is picking up over reports that President Barack Obama will seek to nominate Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of US Vogue and one of his most effective re-election fundraisers, for an overseas ambassadorship in his second term, possibly even in her native land, Britain.

A legendary figure in the fashion universe with her steely bob hair-do and imperious mien, Ms Wintour has long evoked emotions ranging from reverence to ridicule. It was the latter that informed a Republican video last summer mocking her efforts to raise campaign cash with a line of Obama-themed fashion goods.

On that, as is often the case, Ms Wintour had the last laugh. It turns out that her ‘Runway to Win’ line, which offered fashion flotsam like bags and scarves variously featuring his face or his campaign logo designed by the likes of Marc Jacobs, Thakoon, Diane von Furstenberg, Derek Lam and Prabal Gurung, harvested an impressive $40 million for the re-election campaign.

The money was raised partly by sales of the goods but also through related social events to which Ms Wintour invited like-minded friends with deep pockets. There were even ‘Runway to Win’ functions in London and Paris this autumn. Additionally, Ms Wintour served as a celebrity co-host to dinners that featured Mr Obama himself at the homes both of Sarah Jessica Parker and Harvey Weinstein.

Thus Ms Wintour, 63, has emerged as one of Mr Obama’s most important re-election ‘bundlers’, someone who corrals cash for a candidate from as many friends and associates as possible. Rumours of her likely reward have been reignited by Bloomberg News, which cites two unnamed sources close to the president confirming that he is considering her as US ambassador either to London or Paris.

The White House is saying nought - Mr Obama has more urgent staffing business to attend to, like replacing Hillary Clinton at the Department of State. Equally mum has been Ms Wintour, though a spokesperson at Conde Nast headquarters in Manhattan, home to Vogue and its sister magazines, says she is not interested in trading her SoHo abode for Winthrop House, the mansion off Regents Park that has sheltered every US envoy to the Court of St James since World War II, or the equally impressive ambassadorial pad in Paris.

Choosing Ms Wintour for the UK post would raise many a disapproving eyebrow in Washington and in London. Certainly it would seem odd to serve a country you have adopted in the country you were born in. The eldest daughter of Charles Wintour, a former editor of the Evening Standard, she has dual citizenship.

That she has no experience of diplomacy might not be an issue, however. There is a rich tradition of American presidents rewarding their most important supporters with ambassadorships. Nor would it be the first time that a British-born woman would be thus anointed – Bill Clinton sent the late Pamela Harriman, a Washington socialite and Winston Churchill daughter-in-law, to be ambassador to France.

Mr Obama has done nothing to break the mould. Louis Susman was a Chicago-based investment banker and a bundler par excellence for Mr Obama in 2008 before being dispatched to London as ambassador nearly four years ago. In fact, of the 59 ambassadorial picks made by Mr Obama in his first term, 40 turned out to be people who had been election bundlers who had no prior diplomatic experience.

Ms Wintour, therefore, may indeed have first dibs on the diplomatic plumb jobs that are shortly to be distributed. But with a social status in New York that is already stratospherically high and a salary to match (Conde Nast is rumoured to pay her $2 million annually to keep American Vogue relevant) she may remove the sunglasses, look President Obama sweetly in the eye and say no thank you.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

    Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy