Speculation on both sides of the Atlantic suggests that Anna Wintour, the British-born editor of trend-setting American fashion magazine Vogue, is about to retire.
According to reports, which have been denied by publisher Conde Nast, Wintour is to be replaced by the editor of the French edition of Vogue, Carine Roitfeld.
A Conde Nast spokesman in New York described the report as “the silliest rumour I have ever heard”, adding: “There is absolutely no truth to it.”
Anna Wintour, the daughter of former Evening Standard editor Charles Wintour, has not herself commented on the reports.
She told a reporter who questioned her at the National Book Awards: “Please leave me alone. I think that’s an extremely rude question.”
When pressed for an answer, she is reported to have replied tersely: “No, just go away.”
It is 20 years since Wintour took over the editorship of Vogue. After starting as a fashion journalist in London on Harper’s & Queen, she moved to New York in her mid-twenties.
Her first job in the US was on a woman’s magazine called Viva. She then moved to Conde Nast in her mid-thirties.
Wintour is credited with transforming Vogue, known as a serious but untrendy fashion magazine, into a must-buy with a circulation of more than a million.
It was said in the fashion trade that she turned Vogue into the most influential of all the American fashion titles.
Wintour’s own fashions – plus her hairdos and sunglasses – made her a stand-out at most fashion shows.
Her refusal to ban fur coats and accessories from Vogue made her a target of animal rights demonstrators, who poured fake blood on her doorstep and even dumped the carcass of a racoon on her table at a fashionable Manhattan restaurant.
But she became best-known to the American public as the tyrannical fashion editor in a book called The Devil Wears Prada, written by one of her former assistants Lauren Weisberg, later made in to a movie starring Meryl Streep.
Just last week, Wintour flew to London to collect an OBE from the Queen.