‘Ice queen’ and the person whom Miranda in the movie Devil Wears Prada was based upon – Vogue editor Anna Wintour – has sat for a portrait by octogenarian US painter Alex Katz. The picture is currently showing at the National Portrait Gallery in London in a larger exhibition of his work.
Anna Wintour, OBE (born November 3, 1949) is a British fashion editor and the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, a position she has held since 1988. She became interested in fashion as a teenager. Her father, Charles, editor of the Evening Standard, often consulted with her on how to make the newspaper’s coverage relevant to the youth of mid-1960s London. After dropping out of school at 16, she began a career in fashion journalism. Her career took her across the Atlantic, with stints at New York and House & Garden. She returned home for a year to turn around British Vogue, and later assumed control of the franchise’s magazine in New York. She revived a stagnant publication, earning her wide acclaim in the industry.
Like one of her predecessors, Diana Vreeland, she has become a fashion icon. Her pageboy bob haircut and frequently-worn sunglasses have become a common sight in the front row of many fashion shows. Away from the cameras, she has become as much an institution in the fashion world as her magazine. Widely praised for her eye for fashion trends and support for younger designers, her aloof and demanding persona has earned her the nickname “Nuclear Wintour” and alienated some associates. She has also drawn both praise and criticism for her willingness to use the magazine and its cachet to shape the industry as a whole. Animal rights activists have also singled her out for her continued promotion of fur, and other critics have charged her with using the magazine to promote elitist views of femininity and beauty, focusing on rich and thin women.
A former personal assistant, Lauren Weisberger, wrote the 2003 bestselling roman à clef The Devil Wears Prada, later made into a successful film starring Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly, a fashion editor widely believed to be based on Wintour. In 2009 she was herself the focus of a film, R.J. Cutler’s documentary The September Issue, a documentary about the making of the magazine’s landmark issue in September 2007. The film chronicles her work on the five-pound (2 kg) 840-page issue, the largest issue Vogue ever sent to press.