People come and people go—especially in the fashion industry where names are born and then, later on, left to wilt and die. The glossies have proven to be significant factors in sculpting the landscape of fashion. Their pages are where ideas, criticisms, and discussions find themselves being read by millions of people all over the world. Therefore, it is not surprising that the peeople behind these magazines are also instrumental to leading major changes, such as popularizing or even killing a trend. Get to know six of the most powerful editors that have always been adamant in changing the landscape of fashion.
1. "The Vicious Critic"
The blur between journalism and blogging baffles many people. Suzy Menkes, the longtime fashion critic of then-International Herald Tribune (now the International New York Times), isn’t one to fall into the pit. She understands what true criticism is and believes that “a girl should never accept anything but flowers and chocolates.” The gifts that she receives would always either be donated or given back to the sender. What intrigues her the most is always why rather than what. Her nickname, Samurai Suzy, is apt for what she does. She says things exactly as she sees, and people respect her for that. She is known as “one of fashion’s most informed, balanced, and respected voices.” Each morning during fashion week, it's never a surprise to hear “did you read Suzy?”
2. "The Empress of Fashion"
Who doesn’t love Diana Vreeland? Often referred to as The Empress of Fashion, she worked as the editor-in-chief at Harper’s Bazaar for 26 years. She was known for her Why Don’t You? column that offered eccentric fashion and lifestyle tips. Her ability to identify the next big thing was what made her a powerful force in the industry. She has also coined the term “faction,” which mixes fact and fiction because “why not make a story more interesting?”
3. "The Controversial Editor"
Holding Vogue Italia’s editor-in-chief position for 25 years, Franca Sozzani has become one of the most powerful people in the industry. Controversy just doesn’t seem to faze her. She has addressed issues regarding fashion’s weight debate and has battled critics for fashion spreads that were easily misinterpreted. Sozzani has been influential in supporting the representation of diversity with regards to race and culture. She even devoted an entire issue to all-black models, which sold out within three days and was reprinted 60,000 times over.
4. "The Outstanding One"
It’s one thing to have the highest position in a publication. It’s an entirely different thing to have had the highest position in multiple magazines. Stefano Tonchi has worked for titles such as Esquire, L’Uomo Vogue, Sunday Times, and T: The New York Times Style. Today, he sits as the editor-in-chief of W magazine. He is known for his avant-garde style and thinking, and is one of the propellers of translating a publication into the digital space.
5. "The Dragon Lady"
This list wouldn’t be complete without the remarkable Anna Wintour. Aside from her signature pageboy haircut and large sunglasses, she is a prominent figure in the industry for her position as editor-in-chief of Vogue. (Her competitiveness and perfectionism even inspired one of her former assistants, Lauren Weisberger, to write the book The Devil Wears Prada.) Vogue was facing an existential crisis and was being confronted by Elle’s growing popularity, which made them decide to get Wintour to transform the magazine into "a cultural phenomenon." One of her trademarks is mixing high and low fashion, which inspires many young women until today. She has always been focused on fashion being a lifestyle rather than a luxury.
6. "The Anti-Anna"
And with Anna comes “The Anti-Anna.” Considered as one of fashion’s royalty, Carine Roitfeld is the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. Her aesthetic? Fitted, ultra chic tailoring, smudged eyeliner, and lots of attitude—a complete contrast to Anna Wintour’s chill and icy demeanor. She often produced controversial magazine pages by using lots of cigarettes, naked girls, and, of course, high fashion. She then moved on to Harper’s Bazaar in 2012 as its Global Fashion Director, and launched CR Fashion Book–her very own publication.
Sources: Business of Fashion, Harper’s Bazaar