End of an era: Is Anna Wintour out at Vogue?
IT IS almost beyond the fashion world's wildest imagination, but the chatter coming out of Condé Nast and the publishing industry has reached a deafening crescendo - Anna Wintour could be on her way out of Condé and Vogue as artistic director.
A host of stunned sources have told Page Sixthat Wintour - the grand high priestess of both the fashion and publishing industries since she became editor-in-chief of Vogue in 1988 - is to exit her all-powerful role at the publishing house this summer after the July wedding of her daughter, Bee Shaffer, to Francesco Carrozzini, the son of former Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani.
The move would also allow Wintour, 68 - who has for three decades been fashion's ultimate powerbroker and has long been cited as the inspiration for Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada - to step aside on a high after closing Vogue's all-important September issue.
But Condé Nast strongly denies Wintour is going. A Condé corporate spokesman told Page Six: "We emphatically deny these rumours." However he declined to comment more specifically on Wintour's plans.
However, we're told Vogue UK editor-in-chief Edward Enninful is the likely replacement for the US Vogue top job. It's unclear who - if anyone - might replace Wintour as the artistic director of Condé Nast, the title she ascended to in 2013, giving her oversight over all Condé magazine titles.
Longtime Condé chairman Si Newhouse, who died in October 2017, was Wintour's biggest cheerleader. But there are rumours that his presumed successor Jonathan Newhouse - who is chairman of Condé Nast International and has been in London running the company's international arm - is coming back to New York. Jonathan, "doesn't like [the amount of power] Anna has" and favours Enninful, one source told Page Six.
Reps for Condé Nast declined to comment on Jonathan Newhouse, and pointed us to reps for their international arm, which didn't immediately comment.
Other insiders tell Page Six that consultants are currently in the Condé offices reviewing the firm's financials to identify how the company moves forward in the current media climate, identifying cuts and changes. But they insist this is a regular, yearly process.
The news comes as Condé struggles amid a shift in the publishing industry. Under Wintour's watch as artistic director, Condé has closed the print editions of Teen Vogue, Self and Details and it has fought to compete online after closing down Style.com. Sources told The Post that the company is about $US100 million ($A130 million) a year in red ink.
And while many fashion insiders say that Vogue without Wintour is unimaginable, other Condé Nast grandees have been toppling left and right. Within the last year, Graydon Carter (who presided over Vanity Fair for 25 years) was replaced by Radhika Jones and Cindi Leive (who oversaw Glamour for 16 years) was traded for digital guru Samantha Barry. Meanwhile, Linda Wells was ousted from Allure in 2015 after 14 years and replaced by 42-year-old Michelle Lee.
Other international sources whisper that Wintour may be eyeing a big fashion position back in her native England, such as leading the British Fashion Council, which in reflection makes her front row seat next to Queen Elizabeth II at London Fashion Week in February an incredibly effective personal PR move. It was previously reported Wintour had hoped to land an ambassadorial position in London had her friend Hillary Clinton won the presidency.
There's even buzz that Wintour's exit interview has already been arranged and granted to The New York Times - the newspaper that also smoothed over the edges of Carter and Leive's departures, insisting that both had left entirely of their own volition. The Gray Lady's headline for Leive was "How to Quit a Magazine, by Cindi Leive".