With her frosty demeanour, aloof inscrutability and famous lack of small talk, Anna Wintour will make an unusual diplomat. But have her advisers brought her up to speed about her new place of work?
It won’t be the old American Embassy building in Grosvenor Square, the one with the tank traps, reinforced-concrete blocks and scary black railings everywhere – that was sold to a Qatari real-estate investment company in 2009. Her new place of work will be in the less, shall we say, fashion-forward environs of Nine Elms, Wandsworth, London SW18.
Are you sure you want to do this, Anna? It’s a far cry from Madison Avenue, where Vogue HQ is located in New York. The most famous neighbouring buildings are Battersea Power Station and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. It’s the place whither Covent Garden’s fruit, veg and flower markets relocated in 1974 – great if you’re keen to meet costermongers, retail florists, Eliza Doolittles and Gregg Wallaces; less so if you’re looking to hang out with power-brokers, fashion mavens and media titans.
But, Anna, you’ll be pleased to hear that the area around your new home is being rebuilt. It will, to be honest, be a bit of a building site until 2017. Under the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework, announced earlier this year, 16,000 new homes are scheduled for construction, to service 20,000 new jobs nearby.
Also, Transport for London are planning to extend the Underground network. So your journey to work in the morning, from the US Ambassador’s private residence in Regent’s Park, will be a simple whizz down the Northern Line to Kennington, then a brisk walk through the Opportunity Area, chatting to local people, hearing about their dreams and woes and advising them where they can find a Chanel handbag like yours.
You might try taking a black taxi, but they tend not to travel south of the river if they can help it. The drivers may look at you and ask if you’re “having a laugh”. Good luck!