cover image Anna: The Biography

Anna: The Biography

Amy Odell. Gallery, $29.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-982122-63-8

The life and influence of fashion mogul Anna Wintour (b. 1949) gets an engrossing examination in this account from journalist Odell (Tales from the Back Row). The daughter of venerated reporter Charles Wintour, who was deputy editor for the London Evening Standard in the 1950s, Anna was exposed early to the “glamorous and intellectual milieu” of the writing world. This proved advantageous when she began her climb up the magazine ranks in her early 20s, beginning in 1970 at London’s Harpers & Queen, where, as a fashion assistant, she honed her signature “high-low taste.” Following Wintour’s move to New York City in 1975 and her stint of freelance writing gigs that eventually opened the doors to Vogue, Odell’s snappy narrative charts her relentless mission to make the magazine “the biggest, most valuable... in its category” (which she did) by taking the reins as its editor-in-chief in 1988. As Odell relates, “not emotion, not corporate bullshit, and not losing” would stand in Wintour’s way. What scintillates, however, are the intimate details about a famously inscrutable subject—who attributes her signature shades to her “acute light sensitivity” and is a “fiercely devoted” grandmother—as well as the blunt treatment of Wintour’s more problematic sides, including her history of body shaming. This fascinating look at an enigmatic figure will captivate sartorialists and Vogue acolytes. (May)