This morning in addition to clearing the air over her purported retirement, Anna Wintour spoke in one of those intellectual panel discussions alongside New Yorker editor David Remnick and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. The discussion centered on the lousy economy and Internet (oh, Condé Nast — still trying to "get it"). Jezebel attended and reports Wintour is — contrary to what her "large fur collar that did her lapel mic an injury" in the middle of the panel might indicate — coping with the economy herself. Herewith, some highlights from the talk.
Anna sees an upside to These Economic Times.
"Right now we're in difficult times, but I think it makes you a little edgier," she said. "Out of bad times can come great magazines."
She would also like everyone to stop freaking out.
In response to a question from Auletta about whether the economic downturn poses temporary or fundamental problems for magazine publishing, Wintour cautioned first against "over-reacting."
"I see a lot of people in my industry who are over-reacting. Stores that are over-discounting, designers who are creating collections for the price and what sells rather than to reflect who they are."
Even Anna bends to the economic climate, but subtly (in keeping with not freaking out, we suppose).
Recently, a sequined mini-dress "not much bigger than your shirt, Graydon" came through the Vogue offices, on request for a photo shoot. When she found out the garment retailed at $50,000, Wintour said she told everyone, "I'm sorry, but we're not putting that in the magazine, no matter how magical Steven Meisel thinks it is." (Of course, just this September, Vogue featured an entire article about a $64,300 gold-dipped mink coat. I guess it's lucky the issue closed before Lehman did.)
She's known for being an Ice Queen but felt bad about Alessandra Facchinetti's dismissal from Valentino, which the designer learned of from the Internet before she got the news herself.
She recalled how this past season when Alessandra Facchinetti was fired from Valentino after only six months as head designer, she learned the news backstage, before the show began, and got the scoop online. (The announcement was to have been made at the show's conclusion.) "It was a horrific, horrific situation," Wintour continued. "I mean, [Facchinetti] was weeping backstage, telling the whole awful story."