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.
It's the day of the annual Met Gala (aka "Anna Wintour's party") and to promote the festivities, Anna Wintour sat down with The Cut's Amy LaRocca for a rare, lengthy interview on everything from her favorite TV shows to how she's driving Condé Nast into the digital future. We rounded up the best bits below:
1. How Karl Lagerfeld paved the way for her job as Condé Nast's editorial director:
"Chuck Townsend was at a conference and Karl Lagerfeld was being interviewed and he was talking about what he did at Chanel. And Chuck realized that since Si Newhouse had retired, we didn't have anyone filling that role at Condé Nast."
2. How she preps Condé Nast editors to think about digital:
"One of the things that I've started is that I ask various CEOs from different companies to come in and talk to the editors-in-chief and the digital directors about where they see media going and for any advice they can give us. About three or four months ago, Eric Schmidt came in and he asked me whether the company still believed in doing Annie Leibovitz-type portfolios, and I said, 'Well, I think that it's very important to make the print publications even more luxurious and even more special just to differentiate us from everything else that's out there.'"
3. Her favorite Vogue cover:
"If I had to pick one, I'd pick my first because it was a leap of faith and it was certainly a big change for Vogue, where, month after month, you had beautiful images but very familiar. I honestly don't remember who the girl was, but the [Peter] Lindbergh shoot came in and it was just so vibrant and alive and it was just very joyous but it wasn't perfect. The covers previously had been super-perfect and, you know, I remember people asking me if she was pregnant. And her eyes were a little bit closed. But it just felt very inviting..."
4. Her favorite TV shows:
"Oh, Homeland, Game of Thrones, which has just set the bar so high for everybody. I wonder how much one of those episodes costs! The costumes are so good. But I don't watch Mad Men. I can see that it's wonderful, but it's so depressing. Or House of Cards. Everyone is so evil! There's no one to root for, and you always want to root for somebody."
5. How Michelle Obama has helped the fashion industry:
"It's been wonderful, from the fashion industry's point of view, to have a First Lady who's so supportive of our industry. I think previously, with the exception of Mrs. Kennedy, Washington has been a little wary of fashion and what it means. I think there was a mind-set down there that being interested in clothes and fashion and how you look might equate you with not being a serious person. But she's been a real force for fashion without in any way not being interested in so many other things."
6. Issues she'd like to see discussed in the upcoming election:
"Obviously gay rights, although I feel that's a case that's well on the way. It's incredible how it's changed in, what, five years? It's unbelievable how the mood of the country has changed, and I feel like politicians have been playing catch-up. It will be interesting to see how the more right-wing Republicans deal with it. Did you see Ted Cruz? It's beginning! I guess he wants their money! And I'd like to see more conversations about gun control. We ran a piece in the magazine about Mark [Kelly] and Gabby [Giffords] but I think after Newtown, the country's interest was so heightened that we all felt there would be a sea change in the whole issue and somehow that hasn't really happened."
7. Philanthropic causes she's involved with:
"There are so many causes, Amy, that you care about, but one can't change or take on the world, so one has to really focus on where you feel you can, to use a very overworked phrase, truly try to do something to make a difference. The Youth Anxiety Center [at NewYork-Presbyterian-Columbia] focuses on young people who suffer from severe anxiety or depression, like from their late teens to their mid-20s, which is a very dangerous age for that."
8. On gender inequality in the workplace:
"I think that maybe the way things operate out in Silicon Valley is a little different from the way... Maybe we're very spoiled, Amy, living and working in our industry in New York, because from my personal experience I've never felt held back or differentiated against. Maybe I've been very lucky... but I really can't think of a serious incident that I've had to deal with on a professional level."
9. On raising a family while working:
"You make the time! You go to the games and you go to the birthday parties and you're there for the times that count, but I also think from your daughters' perspectives and I hope from my kids' perspectives, they saw how rewarding and fulfilling working was. I think it's important for kids to understand that. I'm sure that it's equally rewarding and fulfilling for women who chose to stay at home and take care of their kids, but it just wasn't a choice that I made."
10. Her view on social media:
"Look, social media has changed the way we look at everything, and I think it's amazing and incredible and fascinating. Obviously, there's a voyeuristic quality to it, but I also think it's quite human and it's a way of sharing and talking and, you know, maybe it's a little bit less about talking on the phone and more about sharing your life through social media, and I don't criticize it at all, Amy. I think it's fascinating and fantastic and wonderful, and I think it's another way of keeping in touch, and it would be ridiculous to not embrace it. It's just not personally something that I choose to do."
11. How she deals with being labeled an icon:
"I don't think of myself in that way. I get up every morning, Amy, and I, you know, work out, I go to work, I try to do the best job I possibly can, whether it's for Condé Nast or for the museum or anything else that I might be involved in, but you know, I'm not thinking, I'm an icon. I hope that I set as good an example as I can, but it's not — I don't wake up in the morning thinking, I'm going to set a really good example today!"