A new biography about the Vogue chief, which was written without her participation, claims Wintour told former managing editor Laurie Jones that she didn’t know which of her assistants could have written the 2003 novel.
The Devil Wears Prada, which was later adapted into a film featuring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, tells the story of a young woman who is hired as a personal assistant to a powerful fashion magazine editor.
The story is inspired by Lauren Weisberger’s personal experience of working as an assistant to Wintour for 10 months.
“On May 21, 2002, Women’s Wear Daily reported that The Devil Wears Prada had sold to Doubleday for a reported $250,000. When Anna learned about the book, she said to [Laurie] Jones, ‘I cannot remember who that girl is” author Amy Odell writes in Anna: The Biography, according to an excerpt seen by Entertainment Weekly.
Wintour has served as editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988 and global chief content officer for Condé Nast since 2020.
While Wintour refused to participate in the writing of the biography, Odell says her representatives provided a list of close friends and colleagues to speak with. She told The Cut she interviewed more than 250 people.
Odell claims that a friend of Wintour’s, William Norwich, said that the editor “didn’t really didn’t care” about The Devil Wears Prada, even after it spent six months on the New York Times best-seller list.
“‘I don’t think Anna is as interested in the cultural phenomenon that she is as the rest of us are,’ he said. Anna has said to friends, ‘I’m so bored by me’. This is one reason she doesn’t plan to ever write a memoir. Norwich explained, ‘She doesn’t want to stop working to reflect’,” Odell writes.
Odell notes that Wintour later attended the premiere of the film adaptation dressed in Prada, alongside her daughter, Bee Shaffer.
“[Director David] Frankel sat behind Anna and [Wintour’s daughter] Bee. Anna had a seat at the end of the row and, though she had a habit of dashing out of plays that bored her, watched the whole movie. At one point, Bee turned to her and said, ‘Mom, they really got you’.”
The biography also details Wintour’s influence over the fashion industry and beyond. Odell told The Cut it was “extremely difficult” to secure interviews with those who knew Wintour as “many people felt a loyalty to her”.
“When all these people told me, ‘I won’t talk to you unless Anna says it’s okay’, I saw that she does have a lot of loyalty from a lot of people who worked for her, and who knew her,” Odell said.
“Even for someone like Serena Williams to say to me: ‘There was a time that I was struggling with tennis, and I talked to Anna, and then I went on to win Wimbledon’.
“I think that points to the strength of her business relationships and the power of her connections. I have to imagine there is so much going on that she’s not telling anybody about.”
The Independent has contacted American Vogue for comment.
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