clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Anna Wintour Used to Work for Penthouse Founder Bob Guccione

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

In the 1970s, when Penthouse founder Bob Guccione started his now-infamous skin magazine, he shared office space with his wife, Kathy Keeton,, who was editing Viva, a Guccione-bankrolled women's magazine. The head of the fashion department at Viva? None other than a 26-year old Anna Wintour, who'd recently been fired from her junior editor job at Harper's Bazaar.

In the wake of Guccione's death last week, Wintour's unauthorized biographer Jeffrey Oppenheimer penned a story for the NY Post, rehashing the now-Vogue editrix's time at Penthouse publications:

“She told me she was working for that awful Bob Guccione. I said, ‘I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.’ But Anna said, ‘Well, one needs a job. Work is work.’ I know she felt awkward there.”

“Anna thought the whole company was tainted. If it had been Condé Nast, and we had fashion editors who went to Paris, she would have thought it wonderful.”

“Anna was no prude, but she felt like she was working in a sewer. The whole place was pornographic, and here was this very proper, very pretty young Brit with aspirations of running Vogue virtually surrounded by glossy photos of big boobs.”

She was always careful to hide the fact, even years later:
Having spent two years running Viva’s fashion pages, she was as surreptitious as she could be about her former employer—ignoring, downplaying and even fibbing a bit about the time she once worked there. In a London newspaper profile years later when she was at Vogue, which she joined in 1983, she stated, “Once I got over being fired [at Harper’s Bazaar] I did a little freelance again before getting a job at New York magazine.”
· Wintour: Penthouse vet [NY Post]