Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief, American VogueNot too long ago, I saw the documentary film The September Issue, which goes behind the scenes of Vogue Magazine's iconic fashion issue released every fall. The film itself was OK. I was more interested in Vogue's editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour's, friendship with Roger Federer than I was with the inner workings of the magazine. I've always found Vogue to be pretentious and not really based in reality.
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However, I was struck by two things. One, Wintour has an amazing ability to scan a page and know immediately what works and what doesn't, within seconds. And if something doesn't work, she knows exactly what will fix it. And second, Wintour doesn't seem to care too much about social issues when it comes to running a successful magazine. That's what I thought, anyway.
While she is among the top editors to use a diverse group of models to cover her magazine, she also doesn't make any apologies for continuing to use fur with its pages. And the models she does employ -- garbed in fur or not -- have always been the stick-thin lot synonymous with the fashion world. Until now.
The editors of Vogue, heading up 19 publications around the world, have banded together to make a pact regarding models. No one under 16 will be hired, and no one that seemingly has an eating disorder will be featured. The New York Times is reporting that the reason for this pact is to promote the "health of the models...as well as the well-being of their readers."
I say BRAVO! While I still think 16 is too young to advertise clothes that older women will be wearing, we have to start somewhere. And seeing that the average size of the American woman is in the double digits, the stick-thin figure is in no way a reflection of this country or the women who inhabit it.
The statement released by Vogue made six different points about the type of models they will be using beginning with the June issues. All of them are pretty straightforward and simple to understand. Offering healthy food at runway shows and photo shoots, checking IDs at casting calls, and not keeping young models working too late. But one did stick out to me: The magazines will be putting together a mentoring program between older models and the rookies to help them succeed in the business.
This sounds great in theory, but these older models have had a career steeped in unhealthy conditions, so I fear they may not be the best role models out there. Maybe I'm not being fair. I know there are a number of models who have been extremely successful in a seemingly healthy way and continue to be (Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks), but there are so many more out there that have fallen to the eating disorders and drug addictions. I hope the editors keep this in mind when putting together their mentors.
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