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5 surprising things you might not know about Vogue’s legendary editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour

Fashion icon has carefully presided over the Met Gala for nearly 30 years

Meredith Clark
New York
Monday 01 May 2023 10:30 BST
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The 2023 Met Gala is fast approaching and perhaps no one is more ready for the annual fashion event than Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour.

This year, the biggest night in fashion will once again take place on the first Monday in May at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The theme of the 2023 Met Gala, titled “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”, will honour the legacy of the legendary German designer and Wintour’s longtime friend.

Since 1995, Anna Wintour has carefully presided over the Met Gala and its exclusive guest list. With her signature black sunglasses and perfectly coiffed bob, the British journalist has been a mainstay at the Met Gala, and in the fashion world, for decades.

It comes as no surprise that the Vogue editor-in-chief is one of the most prominent figures in fashion, considering she comes from a journalism background and has been working in fashion since she was 15 years old.

Her father was a famous newspaper editor

Anna Wintour was born on 3 November 1949 to British journalist Charles Wintour and American Eleanor Trego Baker, whose father was a Harvard Law School professor. Her father, Charles, worked as editor-in-chief of the London Evening Standard. One of her four siblings, Patrick, is also a journalist and the diplomatic editor of The Guardian.

Wintour studied at the North London Collegiate School, where she rebelled against the school’s dress code by taking up the hemlines of her skirts. In the 2009 documentary The September Issue, Wintour said that growing up in London in the 1960s framed her view on fashion and made her fall in love with it at a young age.

She got her start in fashion at 15 years old

When she was 15, her father helped her land her first job in fashion at the London boutique, Biba – the same year that she began to wear her hair in what’s now her iconic bob with bangs, according to biographer Jerry Oppenheimer. She left school to begin a teenage training program at Harrods, before becoming an editorial assistant at Harper’s Bazaar UK and Harper’s & Queen. In 1975, she relocated to New York City where she worked as junior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar.

Wintour’s big break at Vogue came in 1983 when she landed the role as creative director of the American magazine. In 1985, Wintour replaced Beatrix Miller as editor-in-chief of British Vogue, but leapt back to New York City in 1988 to take over as Vogue editor-in-chief.

Her annual clothing budget is reportedly as high as $200,000

The fashion icon is rumoured to be given an exuberant clothing allowance of $200,000 (about £120,000) from Vogue’s publisher, Condé Nast. The shocking figure was revealed in New York Times’ T Magazine by an undisclosed source. In addition to her annual allowance, the British editor is reportedly gifted many high-fashion clothes and pieces from designers.

Despite having a rumoured clothing budget, Wintour’s net worth is estimated to be $50m, and her yearly salary is reportedly between $2m and $4m.

She has two children

In 1984, Wintour married child psychiatrist David Shaffer. The former couple were together for 15 years before they divorced in 1999. Together, they have two children. Her son, Charlie Shaffer, is a doctor and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell. Her daughter, Bee Carrozzini (née Shaffer), worked as a producer at Late Night With Seth Meyers from 2014 to 2017.

She wears her dark Chanel sunglasses so no one can tell if she’s bored

While Wintour is known for her signature sunglasses, the dark shades actually serve a purpose. In a 2009 interview with 60 Minutes, the Vogue editor revealed that she often dons her large sunglasses because they allow her to keep her reactions to fashion shows private.

“Well, they’re seriously useful. I mean, I can sit in a show, and if I’m bored out of my mind, nobody will notice. And if I’m enjoying it, nobody will notice,” Wintour said. “So, I think at this point they’ve become, you know, really armour.”

The 2023 Met Gala will take place on Monday 1 May at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The theme of this year’s Met Gala, titled “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”, will “examine the life” of the late designer.

The dress code for the annual fundraising event, which raises money for the museum’s Costume Institute, requires guests to wear clothing “in honour of Karl” – namely looks inspired by his work as creative director at Chanel or Fendi. The Costume Institute’s accompanying exhibition will bring around 150 creations from the iconic German designer together to “explore [his] stylistic language”.

Along with Vogue’s editor-in-chief, there will be four co-chairs of the event: Dua Lipa, Michaela Coel, Penélope Cruz, and Roger Federer. Fans can tune in to the Met Gala 2023 red carpet livestream on Monday 1 May at 6.30pm ET on the Vogue website or its social media platforms.

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