Anna Wintour, the grand dame of the fashion industry, gave a rare intimate interview with Amy Larocca from the Cut. Right at the heels of her big night, the MET gala, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ms. Wintour discussed several topics rarely heard coming from her lips, including about the future of print, mental health issue, politics, and Hillary Clinton.
On the future of print:
One of the things that I’ve started is that I ask various CEOs from different companies to come in and talk to the editors-in-chief and the digital directors about where they see media going and for any advice they can give us. About three or four months ago, Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) came in and he asked me whether the company still believed in doing Annie Leibovitz–type portfolios, and I said, “Well, I think that it’s very important to make the print publications even more luxurious and even more special just to differentiate us from everything else that’s out there.” Print publications have to be as luxurious an experience as possible. You have to feel it coming off the page. You have to see photographs and pieces that you couldn’t possibly see anywhere else.
On her current favourite television shows:
Oh, Homeland, Game of Thrones, which has just set the bar so high for everybody. I wonder how much one of those episodes costs! The costumes are so good. But I don’t watch Mad Men. I can see that it’s wonderful, but it’s so depressing. Or House of Cards. Everyone is so evil! There’s no one to root for, and you always want to root for somebody.
On subjects she would like to be discussed in the upcoming US election:
Obviously gay rights, although I feel that’s a case that’s well on the way. It’s incredible how it’s changed in, what, five years? It’s unbelievable how the mood of the country has changed, and I feel like politicians have been playing catch-up. It will be interesting to see how the more right-wing Republicans deal with it. Did you see Ted Cruz? It’s beginning! I guess he wants their money! And I’d like to see more conversations about gun control. We ran a piece in the magazine about Mark [Kelly] and Gabby [Giffords] but I think after Newtown, the country’s interest was so heightened that we all felt there would be a sea change in the whole issue and somehow that hasn’t really happened. Politically it’s very tricky territory, and obviously the NRA is a very powerful lobby, but I remember a 3- or 4-year-old getting their hands on a gun and shooting their mother and I don’t understand how guns could even be anywhere near a child. It’s just insane.
On mental health issue:
They don’t want to talk about it because somehow they feel they’re a failure as a parent or, you know, they’re embarrassed for their child or they want to protect their child, lots of very good reasons, but mental health I feel is something that you have to talk about. That time from 15 to 16 to your mid- to late 20s — you look grown up, people think you’re grown up, but you’re still a kid.
On why she took over the role as the Creative Director of Conde Nast:
Chuck Townsend was at a conference and Karl Lagerfeld was being interviewed and he was talking about what he did at Chanel. And Chuck realized that since Si [Newhouse] had retired, we didn’t have anyone filling that role at Condé Nast. Obviously, at that date you quoted, I didn’t feel equipped, but now I felt that I had learned so much and that I could be a support. We’re moving rapidly into the world of digital, and we’ve had huge successes recently. I think it’s impossible to say what’s going to happen because it’s the Wild West. Things change. You walk on the street and get a Starbucks and things have changed by the time you come back to the office.