the a-z of anna wintour

On her 66th birthday, we celebrate fashion’s first lady -- from her avocado obsession to her 93 Yeezy style.

by Emily Manning and i-D Staff
03 November 2015, 8:55pm

A is for Avocado: She's been known to order her favorite salad staple at restaurants where it doesn't appear on the menu at all.

B is for Bob: Thought her hairstyle was the only bob in her life? Possibly the best rumor that exists about Wintour is her storied affair with reggae legend Bob Marley. According to her highly unauthorized biography, Front Row: Anna Wintour: What Lies Beneath the Chic Exterior of Vogue's Editor-in-Chief, Wintour scored backstage passes to a Wailers show in 75 before disappearing with the frontman for a week.

C is for Chanel suits: Wintour's history of sparkle is well documented, but once she ascended to the helm of Vogue, she ditched gold lame tops for Chanel mini skirt suit sets. Wintour continued to rock the house staple throughout both her pregnancies, opening the skirts a bit in the back and keeping the jacket on for coverage.

D is for Denim: Although she's rumored to have a 200k clothing allowance, her Condé Nast roots were a bit more humble. Wintour's first ever Vogue cover -- a November 1988 shot of then 19-year-old Michaela Bercu photographed by Peter Lindbergh -- was the first time a model had ever worn jeans on the magazine's cover (the printers even called her to make sure it wasn't a mistake). Wintour paired the $50 denim with a Christian Lacroix jacket, and the look remains her favorite cover to date.

Time & Life Pictures via Getty Images

E is for Emotions: Not only the name of Mariah Carey's 91 single, but descriptive of what I experience when viewing this photo of a fresh-faced Carey posing with a positively beaming Wintour in 96.

F is for Federer: Wintour is a massive tennis fan, reportedly rising at 5am each day to play prior to terrorizing her assistants when they speak ill of turquoise belts. Her dream doubles partner: Roger Federer. Though the Swiss star had "no idea who she was" when he first met her, they've since formed quite a friendship.

G is for Goth: Although she went punk for 2013's Met Ball, Wintour maintains that one style she'd never be seen rocking is all black everything.

H is for Hoodies: Another one of Wintour's no-gos is also a mall goth staple: hoodies. On more than one occasion, the editor has been given a promotional hoodie and politely declined to don it. Here is a photo of Wintour holding a hoodie with the same reluctance typically reserved for forced infant interactions.

I is for Ice Bucket Challenge: The internet trotted out its best winter/Wintour jokes when Anna's daughter Bee tasked the editor with completing the Ice Bucket Challenge last summer. Though Wintour accepted with dignity, even she couldn't keep an icy facade when being hit with buckets of freezing water.

J is for "Journey": You might have snagged a #frow spot at Chanel's upcoming Cuban collection, just don't go blabbing to Wintour about your "journey" -- it's the word she wishes she could ban fashion people from using.

K is for Knicks: Like many other famous people (Spike Lee, yes, but also my favorite courtside couple: Chloë Sevigny and Pauly D), Anna Wintour loves the New York Knicks. Her appearances frequently feature orange looks, and more often than not, her signature shades. Wintour has been such a supporter, she even made it into a poem penned by Knicks all-star forward Amar'e Stoudemire as he departed the Big Apple for the Miami Heat earlier this year.

L is for Lols: Earlier this year, Wintour stayed up past her 10:15 bedtime and made an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Prior to this nocturnal sit down, Wintour starred in a sketch that revealed she's actually the mastermind "behind every major comedy decision of the last 40 years." Perhaps the funniest part of this sketch is its ridiculous photoshop jobs of 90s era Wintour (still in Chanel suits) on the set of Saturday Night Live, Animal House, and Seinfeld.

M is for Moves: Apparently, Wintour is a pretty bitchin dancer. "She is stick-thin but manages - or so my husband tells me - to be persuasively sexual without obvious flash when she dances, which she does with a vengeance and irritatingly well," her friend Barbara Amiel confessed in a Telegraph column. Amiel's words proved true when photos of Wintour getting down alongside Diddy and Pharrell at the pair's Met Gala after party surfaced.

N is for Nuclear Wintour: Wintour's icy demeanor has earned a few clever nicknames, among them, "Nuclear Wintour." But according to her aforementioned biography, she dislikes the moniker so much, she's asked the New York Times not to use it.

O is for Obamas: Anna has supported the Democratic Party since her homegirl Hillary's Senate run back in 2000. Since then, she's made key contributions to John Kerry's unsuccessful 2004 bid, and both Obama campaigns (actually, she's his fourth highest donor). If you look closely enough, you'll catch a framed photo of a young Barry O in her office. Here's Michelle making a noble attempt at a hug.

P is for (bi)Partisanship: Though she's a card carrying Democrat, Wintour doesn't completely snub Republicans. Once, she convinced Donald Trump to let Marc Jacobs use a ballroom at the Plaza Hotel for a runway show when the young designer was short on funds.

Q is for Quips: Miranda Priestly (the fictional dragon lady based on Wintour who reigns with terror Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada) is perhaps best known for her damning sign off "that's all." But Wintour has had a few quips of her own, including "You either know fashion or you don't," and, of her ill-fated early stint at Harper's Bazaar: "I recommend that you all get fired; it's a great learning experience."

R is for Rap Game: In addition to her appearance in Stoudemire's parting poem, the editor has inspired lyricism elsewhere. There are over 3,000 mentions of her name in Rap Genius' database, and while all of these aren't verified lyrics, she does have a few notable name checks. Kanye West boasted to having dinner with her on "Cold," and Nicki Minaj has mentioned her name multiple times. On 2010's "Muny," Minaj asked Wintour for the cover (a request that has yet to be granted by the American publication). Two years later, her track "Come on a Cone" boasted about "really sittin with Anna" -- which was a pom-pom clad encounter.

S is for Selfies: Perhaps the only person in fashion who has never taken a selfie, Wintour has proven a crusader against front facing cameras of any variety. She famously banned selfies at this year's Met Gala, a warning a few rogue celebrities chose to ignore.

T is for Trim: Wintour has rocked her signature angular bob since she was 15 (that's 51 years, y'all).

Image via @champagnepapi

U is for U used to call me on my flip phone: Up until last year, Wintour was having a retro moment and using a flip phone (Daily Mail sleuths determined Anna's model was "an AT&T Z222 GoPhone, has a small two-inch display screen and offers texting and calling but no apps"). She's since upgraded to an iPhone, which was at one point used to converse with Drake.

V is for Valentino: A few years back, one unnamed British editor told the Guardian that Wintour doesn't merely request first row, "she has her people request a seat from which she will not have to see or be seen by specific rival editors." Apparently, she's been a little lax on this policy lately. When one Valentino front row ran out of space, Wintour graciously took a seat in the second row so Sarah Mower and Grace Coddington could more comfortably observe an unobstructed runway.

W is for Wonka: While promoting Tim Burton's surrealist remake, Depp revealed that he based his Wonka's demeanour and appearance on Wintour's. He nailed the sunglasses, but we're sure she'd leave all tophats to Stevie Nicks.

X is for XXX: Before landing top spot at Vogue, Wintour worked for a few other publications: Harper's Bazaar, Home & Garden, and Viva, a women's erotic magazine published by Penthouse editor Bob Guccione and his wife, Kathy Keeton. During her Viva tenure, Wintour worked with photographers Helmut Newton and Denis Piel before they all split for Vogue.

Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Y is for Yeezy: At Yeezy Season 1, a sobbing North West was the recipient of one of Wintour's most stoic stares to date. But perhaps her designer father was the recipient of some collection inspiration. In 93, Wintour arrived at Kids for Kids, a pediatric AIDS foundation benefit, in a very Yeezy looking ensemble: nude leggings, layered oversized sweatshirts, and plain white flat sans socks.

Z is for suZy: Last year, Suzy Menkes departed her longtime post at the International Herald Tribune to join Wintour on team Condé Nast. But the pair have a far longer history. A young Menkes was headhunted by Wintour's father -- the equally notorious editor of the London Evening Standard -- to write about fashion for the publication. Suzy even attended Anna's 21st birthday, which is a sort of adorable image to conjure of two of the industry's most formidable hairstyles.


Text Emily Manning
Photo by Timur Emek/Getty Images

Anna Wintour