So about those nagging rumors that Anna Wintour is up for an ambassadorship in the Obama administration–or even those rumors that she’ll retire soon: This latest bit of news should put them to rest once and for all.
Condé Nast has promoted Anna Wintour to the newly created role of artistic director. She will stay on in her role as the editor in chief of Vogue and editorial director of Teen Vogue.
“The establishment of an Artistic Director is a reflection of our commitment to preserve and champion all that exists ‘Only at Condé Nast,’” Charles H. Townsend, the chief executive of Condé Nast, said in a release. “This is the ideal time to leverage Anna’s extraordinary vision and leadership to amplify and elevate the profile of Condé Nast U.S. both domestically and abroad. Anna is an icon in the worlds of fashion, business and the arts, she has the foresight and wisdom to influence the major trends of our society and is respected globally as an accomplished businesswoman.”
Finally speaking out on those ambassadorship rumors, Wintour told the New York Times, “It was an honor to work for President Obama… but there was never a long-term discussion about anything.”
Townsend admitted to the Times that he would “go to great distances to avoid losing Anna, particularly in the prime of her career.” This promotion is meant to ensure that Wintour, who is now 63 and coming up on 25 years at Vogue, stays with Condé Nast.
So what does Wintour’s new role entail?
According to a release, she will “curate and cultivate the creative vision for the Company, working with the extraordinary editorial talent at Condé Nast to shape its artistic inspiration and innovation across all platforms.” What that really means is that Wintour will function as a “one-person consulting firm” (her words to the Times) for the publishing giant, meeting with the editors of Condé’s various titles to weigh in and offer advice. That doesn’t mean she’ll be involved in nitty gritty editorial decisions at other titles–as The New Yorker editor David Remnick so succinctly put it, “I don’t expect Anna to be picking the cartoons or directing our war coverage.” Think more big picture. Additionally, Wintour will reportedly be involved in Condé Nast’s “expanding portfolio of platforms,” like those recently announced branded web TV series.
If you’ve ever watched The September Issue (and we’re betting you have) you’ll know that consulting is part of what Wintour does already. In her role as editor of Vogue she essentially serves as consultant to designers, retailers, and even the Mayor on matters concerning the fashion industry (see: Fashion’s Night Out).
Taking on these new responsibilities, it’s likely that Wintour will not be able to devote as much time to Vogue (she is, we’re pretty sure, only human). Our money’s on Sally Singer taking on a bigger role. But don’t expect any reshuffling of the masthead. A Vogue spokesperson confirmed to us that there will be no major masthead changes as Wintour’s role at the magazine “isn’t any different.”