Is Anna Wintour Ready to Retire?

Before Devil Wears Prada was filmed, before Project Runway made its reality television debut, before fashion grew beyond even the prominent role she had envisioned for it, Anna Wintour was compared in the Times to George W. Bush. It was one of Maureen Dowd's absurdly tortured analogies, but one of the rare ones that today sounds less ridiculous: If Page Six's source is to be believed, the Vogue editor is, like Bush, about to step away from the monster she's created, leaving to a more glamorous successor the job of revival. There is plenty to be done:

  • Wintour famously passed on the chance to cooperate with the launch of Project Runway four years ago; by September Runway partner Elle was well on its way to passing Vogue in total ad pages, growing while Wintour's magazine was shrinking.
  • Vogue's belated (but semi-successful!) reality show response, Model.Live, was masterminded by worried Vogue publisher Tom Florio, not Wintour.
  • Those hussies at Elle launched their own cable show imitating an imitation of an imitation of Wintour. And she's not even getting royalties and whatnot!
  • Vogue this year was beset by a series of ill-advised covers.
  • Wintour was publicly snubbed in Europe for being an arrogant cultural imperialist.
  • Men's Vogue fell in the Great Magazine Die-Off and, according to Page Six, Wintour didn't even have the energy to mount a vicious internal turf war. Sad!

Worst of all, the Times not two months ago profiled one of the bevy of smart young Euroskanks angling to push Wintour out the door (an elegant Russian with a Ph.D.), so when Wintour goes to recommend a replacement to Conde Nast boss Si Newhouse, as Page Six said she plans to do, he might just ignore her and go off in his own direction. (Maybe the editor of sexy Vogue India?)

Vogue's people deny everything, but leaving the magazine makes so much sense for Wintour: She gets to exit while the magazine is still on top; she doesn't have to learn how to effectively publish on this cesspool they call the internet; and Wintour will finally have time to close the deal on one of her many crushes. If the editor hasn't considered these positive aspects of retirement, she ought to, because someone at Conde Nast thinks she should!