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Anna Wintour's hair tells all

Why an editor’s locks are more revealing than her covers
By SHARON STEEL  |  September 6, 2007

By the time you read this, it's possible that the frenzied seven days that are New York Fashion Week will be drawing to a close. The savviest of fashionistas will undoubtedly still be glued to for the news and their favorite insider blogs for the dirt: the models who walk first, the models who trip first, the editor who keeps a designer waiting the longest, and the Hollywood It Girl who causes the biggest stir outside the Bryant Park tents. But second-hand scandal can grow tiresome, and not everyone can afford that $500 skybox ticket to the Zac Posen show that one anonymous invitee was hawking on Craig’s List at press time. The rest of us will have no choice but to seek renewed solace at the newsstands. Every year, the fall-preview fashion glossies look more and more like back-breaking contract-law texts than books about cool clothes, and this September is no different. The summer diet of skimpy resort wear and overpriced gladiator sandals have culminated in a complete fashion binge-fest, with the latest Vogue weighing in at an unmistakably chunky 4.88 lbs. The scales never lie.

While reading the fall rags, it helps to have some sort of navigational tool to aid in the analysis of the crocodile-leather trend, the thousands of advertisements that become indistinguishable from editorial spreads, and the various cover girls frantically promoting their latest film project/tour/television show. What do these elements say about a magazine’s guiding philosophy, its long-term vision, the profound, intense reflections it seeks to impart upon its readers? In the New York City media-hub, an Editrix-in-Chief is required to put in just as much thought into her coiffeurs as a Hollywood celebrity. For one, Anna Wintour’s sleek page-boy has become as synonymous with the Vogue brand as Kate Moss (13 appearances this month alone). So in the interest of all that is fashionably sacred, the Phoenix surveyed the hairstyles sported by the mag-hags who run the show at five magazines to guide us through their September books.

We hope we’ve determined what each editrix’s personal fondness for beachy waves, natural highlights, teased fringes, and sophisticated blow-outs says about their editorial content. But after thumbing through 3044 pages of other-worldly, gazelle-like creatures in fantastically expensive ensembles, perhaps we’re just blinded by our own insecurities. This, clearly, is the ideal state-of-mind in which to make superficial snap-judgments.


EDITRIX Anna Wintour
REP “The Fashion Bible”
WEIGHT 4.88 lbs.
FLIP TO Plum Sykes’s brooch-accessory challenge, “Only the Brave,” the Pat McGrath feature, the Caroline Terentini editorial

Vogue’s Anna Wintour can switch from a prim smile to a sour frown in a nanosecond, and one gets the sense that she’d be perfectly happy to skin newborn kittens for a “chic, domesticated wrap” if Oliver Theyskens told her it was the hottest thing yet for spring. For now, forget the ever-present notion that Wintour is a psycho-bitch, and focus your attention on her personal style. In between micromanaging the Vogue mega brand and torturing her assistants into writing thinly veiled roman à clefs about her management technique, Wintour, similar to her magazine, is precisely, meticulously, painstakingly groomed at all times (there’s a good chance she showers in diamonds and fur). Every blown-out piece of blond hair is perpetually in its place, and somehow, her blunt bangs are never, ever frizzed. There isn’t much that’s ground-breaking this month by way of new designers or faces. Neither, for that matter, is the placement of Wintour’s part. Of course, that does nothing to change the fact that Vogue — like Wintour in her signature polished, chin-length bob — forever remain the Spartan classics of the industry.


EDITRIX Bridget Foley
REP “The Provocateur”
WEIGHT 3.6 lbs.
FLIP TO The indie design, “Just Like Mom,” Christian Louboutin features, Gwyneth Paltrow feeding baby rats, the Ali Michael editorial

Remember what a fuss the tabloids made over that 60-page W spread featuring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, which portrayed them as a suburban 1960s couple before they were even officially an item? The extra-large, 10” wide, 30” tall W is known for shoots that push boundaries. And the mag’s head honchess Bridget Foley, a respected fashion journalist who often composes lengthy features for the well (see this month’s “Couture’s Big Moment” piece on page 322), isn’t afraid of standing out as the quirky girl. We found documentation of her wearing cat-eye glasses (the prescription kind) at a fashion show, and actually rocking some hardcore bed-head. W enjoys promoting an edgy mash-up between high-end spreads and expensive faces (Ali Michael, Snejana Onopka, Sasha Pivovarova) versus cheap chic (Laura Dern’s bizarrely awesome, Blanche DuBois-esque “Lady of the Manor” shoot), and Foley is broken from a similar mold. The Sartorialist (street-style-blogger-cum-beloved-fashion-photographer Scott Schuman) caught her in a divinely glam moment at the Calvin Klein show last February: her hair blown-out, gleaming, and curled at the ends. It was as if she’d never seen a split end or fallen for a rip-off Anna Sui Forever 21 dress in her life.

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Anna Wintour , hair , Bryant Park ,  More more >
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