Anna Wintour: Fashion Magazines “Overreacting” To Recession


Anna Wintour does not talk to the press often. We already told you what happened when some poor reporter from New York magazine dared to ask her if she was retiring. But yesterday, Anna and fellow Condé Nast editors Graydon Carter and David Remnick discussed the recession and the magazine industry at a media panel.

Anna, tireless defender of luxury, made one thing clear: You won’t get advice on looking good for less in Vogue.

Jezebel: In response to a question from [moderator Ken] 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.” Straitened times, she said, should not mean the end of luxury. It takes a special understanding of the world — wasn’t the Dow just below 8,000? And aren’t advertising pages in this month’s Vogue down 22% compared with last December’s issue? — to frame the fashion industry’s biggest problem right now as charging too little for its wares.

Still, Wintour did offer what might pass for a glimmer of understanding. 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 ran an entire article about a $64,300 gold-dipped mink coat. I guess it’s lucky the issue closed before Lehman did.)