Wintour of discontent: even Anna’s spooked by fashion’s collapse

Lifestyle

Wintour of discontent: even Anna’s spooked by fashion’s collapse

Because of the smoke-and-mirrors modus operandi of the business, the speed of its demise has shocked

Lisa Armstrong

Online searches for what to wear for a Zoom party, which fashion nostalgia books to read and lists of the most glamorous fantasy dresses may be way up, but that’s not the same as buying. While people look to fashion for escapism and practical tips about dying your own hair, they’re retreating from the transactional side – understandably, given that people have been in lockdown and many are facing unemployment. In the US, 22 million are currently unemployed.

In New York, Anna Wintour and Tom Ford have launched A Common Thread to raise money for the many US fashion businesses facing extinction. How many? “Look at the New York Fashion Week schedule, “ said one senior figure there, “basically, most of them.”

That’s the shocking truth: this isn’t effectively only dinosaur names (of which there are many; think of America’s dwindling, unloved shopping malls and stodgy, complacent department stores) but businesses that were previously doing all the “right” things. Wintour’s personal e-mails to her impressive address book of uber-wealthy contacts haven’t gone down well in all quarters. I saw the scathing response of one mogul she’d contacted, the gist of which was: who cares about pampered fashionistas?..

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