Grace Under Pressure


Anna Wintour is the British born editor-in-chief of American Vogue and arguably one of the most influential women in fashion. She has held the position for over two decades and Grace Coddington has served as the publication�s creative director for just as long.

The other night a good friend and I decided we were in need of a movie night after tolerating one of those rare Southern California weekends where the haze never seemed to burn off. We wanted to be inspired and watch something that spoke to us as young and modern women, so we popped in The September Issue. Based on the trailers and buzz from when it first aired a couple of years ago, we were expecting an insightful biopic on Anna’s life. What we found was a story of passion, tension and brilliance.

Anna is infamous for her stoic presence and brilliant ability to lead a magazine through multiple generations while keeping it current. One of the early scenes in the film depicts an annual meeting between the lead editors at Vogue and the top management, including the CEO of Neiman Marcus. It�s clear that Anna is more than a magazine editor. She influences a significant portion of the retail economy by driving trends, highlighting designers, and then telling major brands as well as department stores what will drive their bottom line. She has the answers, and the industry eagerly awaits her insight.

Another scene flashes to the media frenzy surrounding Thakoon's stint as a guest designer at the Gap. At the launch party, Anna whispers congratulatory remarks about his success and states that all of the online supply sold out on the first day. That equals millions and millions of dollars of sales for a publicly-traded company. Guess who placed Thakoon in that consulting role? Anna.

By now you are hopefully realizing the influence and power this fashion icon has on not only the pages that are displayed in her magazine, but on the greater world economy. And while I found Anna delightfully brilliant in how she runs her business, I was most taken by Grace’s role. She has an incredible ability to bring together the most stunning photographs. It was more than her glaring talent that stood out in the film; it was the fact that she was the only one who ever talked back to Anna. At one point she is conversing with a editor wallowing in defeat as he had just come out of a meeting with Anna in which all of his “looks” were frowned upon, and she says "You have to be strong, otherwise you could get blamed." Utter brilliance.

So often I take to heart the feedback and opinions of others on my work and then second guess my own abilities. My intentions are not to overlook or brush aside the constructive criticism that helps us learn and grow. Grace's quote made me realize that we have to be strong and stand up for what we believe to be right. If we fade into the background or worse, sulk, then if things don’t go as planned we could find ourselves in the role of victim.

It’s a new week, and a fresh start. I’m looking forward to marching ahead with conviction and passion for what I know myself to be capable of if I just put my mind to it. I encourage you to do the same. Just keep in mind that, "You have to be strong, otherwise you could get blamed."

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