Earlier this week Anna Wintour gave a “free and open to the public” — insofar as press invitations were summarily reneged the Friday before — lecture at New York’s Pratt Institute on the history of fashion.
During her lecture, Wintour shared her thoughts on bloggers which were surprisingly kind.
“We love as much coverage of fashion as possible. We don’t care at all where it comes from, and we embrace bloggers and video and social networking, and anyone that’s talking about fashion is a good thing. And we now have our own website that incorporates all of that. But I think what’s interesting to us with this new phenomenon that ‘everyone’s a fashion editor, everyone’s a fashion writer’ is that all of that actually helps Vogue, because we have access and the understanding of fashion that, forgive me, but maybe some bloggers and some of the newcomers to this world have a little bit less experience of, but as I said, the more the merrier. We embrace it.”
Naturally, Gawker didn’t buy the “We love the world!” attitude and hoped to get the truth out of Ms. Wintour at Thursday night’s National Magazine Awards. But, also naturally, Wintour gave them an approximately 30 second window in which to speak to her, so instead they got some PG thoughts on running a magazine. (“It’s about a team.”)
Gawker did, however, get in a lengthy chat with the The September Issue’s breakout star, Grace Coddington, who shared some refreshingly candid and perfectly bitchy thoughts on bloggers.
“Well, my first reaction was I absolutely hate them. Ha! I have to say now, you’ve got to love them, I’m just a little old-fashioned and old. It takes me a little while to come around to it. I mean—I don’t like it if they sit in my seat. But I’m getting used to it. They’ve grown on me. Some of them hang out at Vogue and stuff, so when you get to know them, at the end of the day, they are people, and then it’s OK. It’s when they’re not people that you don’t like them so much, when they’re strangers with cameras.”
I’d love to be all up in arms that Coddington would so derisively dismiss the internet, but she’s got a point. The woman has spent over 50 years working in the fashion industry, forty of which have been at some incarnation of Vogue and twenty of which have involved putting up with Wintour as her colleague and then boss. So, yeah, if I were Grace Coddington and some 14-year-old upstart with a laptop stole my seat, I’d be pissed too.
And finally, it’s refreshing to hear someone admit that sentiment. It wasn’t a catty rejection of what People Who Write About Fashion On The Internet bring to the table, it was an honest opinion with a self-aware follow up. She doesn’t hate bloggers, she just doesn’t like people who have far less experience than her acting like they own the place. Which, honestly: fair enough, Ms. Coddington. Fair enough.