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Want to Work for Anna Wintour? Disagree With Her

In a rare interview, Anna Wintour talks about why should never ever expect her to write a book, what she looks for in a new hire, and how Michelle Obama has "changed the way American women see fashion."
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Last summer, there was a rumor that Anna Wintour was shopping around a memoir.

We didn't believe it for a second. Not only because Vogue denied it, but because that's just not something she'd do. Just about everything Wintour puts out into the world--whether it's a book, a documentary, or an interview--is done with Vogue in mind (or, sometimes, during an election season, with Barack Obama in mind), but never herself.

So we're not surprised that in today's Telegraph, she confirms that a Wintour-penned memoir is not something we can expect--ever. While discussing Grace Coddington's new memoir, she tells Luke Leitch that she doesn't keep a diary and adds, "Nor will I ever write a book."

The interview is pegged to an award she and her siblings endowed--the Charles Wintour Award For Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards--named for their father, a former Evening Standard editor. She talks about how he influenced her hiring practices, London Fashion Week, the Obamas and more.

The highlights:

She hires people who will argue with her:

I look for strong people. I don't like people who'll say yes to everything I might bring up. I want people who can argue, and disagree, and have a point of view that's reflected in the magazine. My dad believed in the cult of personality. He brought great writers and columnists to the Standard. I try to do that here, too.

She wishes more British designers would show in London instead of Paris:

Mentioning Burton again, she wishes aloud that more expat, big-ticket British designers would follow Burberry's lead and move their catwalks back to London - "although I know there's pressure from the big companies to show in Paris".

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On design houses finding original talent:

It is important always to have really original talent. There are lots of good designers that make attractive clothes and make women look beautiful. But at the same time one doesn't want to lose the idea that there is someone out there who can change the way you look at fashion. The way, going back, that Armani did, that Galliano did, that Alexander [McQueen] did.

On Michelle Obama:

Look back at the history of First Ladies and you'll see they wore a good suit or a ball gown. Now we have someone who wears J.Crew or Thakoon or Azzedine Alaïa: a gamut of different designers. She has changed the way American women see fashion.

On Obama winning the election:

It's no secret that I worked very hard for the president this campaign… And it's very rewarding to see that money can't buy the White House, which is what the Republicans were trying to do with all those hundreds of millions of dollars that the Super PACs were raising. I'm so grateful that the president will have a second term.

She's skipping the British Fashion Awards for Grace Coddington's book party:

Grace [Coddington] is having her book party in New York on Monday. And I have to be here for that. It's a big thing. She's given so much to this magazine - she's one of the great unsung heroines of our business.

Is it just us or is Anna Wintour getting more and more likable?