Anna Wintour: The Devil is in the Retail
All dedicated followers of fashion know the golden rule that there is only one queen bee in the fashion industry and that is Anna Wintour. No one wields more clout, no one can make or break a designer’s career as she can. And no one so much in the glare of public attention reveals less and less of herself each time she appears. Yes, she is a Scorpio. As the editor of American Vogue to which all other Vogues are satellites, she has ruled the roost for almost 30 years. She has been at the pinnacle of the business and still forging ahead. Her progressed Sun is right on the Pluto/Saturn conjunction, so it seems likely that she may even strengthen her hold on the business in 2020.
She was born November 3rd in 1949. We are lucky to have the birthday as she might have kept it secret. Scorpios tend to avoid scrutiny by scrutinizing others first. So there is no known birth time. She hides any hint of feeling in her eyes by always wearing dark glasses but also answers interviewers with terse monosyllables or hitting back with her own questions. She even wore sun glasses when talking face to face with the Queen at a fashion week event in 2018. This broke protocol, but Wintour was unmoved by the gossip. They were both born to rule; and Wintour’s head will not roll. All this references the Scorpio sun sign. Scorpio is about power, and she definitely radiates that.
There is an extraordinary diamond shape in her chart where two Trines from the Moon to Pluto and the Moon to Chiron coincide with the pinnacle of a Yod that is sharply pointed finger on the trigger point. That is the Moon, North Node and the asteroid Lillith triple conjunction all in Aries. This Yod with Trines defines a pioneering role in the world as a woman, and she has risen to that but not without some sacrifices, bungling and sheer hard work on the way up.
Her power is real as it extends way beyond Vogue. She gets to decide whether a designer is successful or not and influences all of Conde Nast’s ventures including The New Yorker, GQ, Wired and Vanity Fair. Scorpios have access to other people’s money, so she has a free limousine, an enviable clothes allowance, and is given the perk of staying at the Coco Chanel suite at the Ritz whenever she’s in Paris. Her net worth is 35 million, said to be much more if you add all the perks. But she is also philanthropic and raises money for the Metropolitan Museum and for young designers and supports the Democratic party putting Hilary Clinton on the cover of Vogue and achieving a first ever first lady on the cover. So the sun in Scorpio alludes to the eighth house of Scorpio and she is no stranger to money: her own and other people’s.
In the 1990s she single-handedly stopped the new trend of Grunge fashion out of Seattle as she opts for luxury items and couture brands, and she is much cagier than before, as she has made enemies in PETA who flung a dead racoon on her plate at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York. But Wintour is an alpha female, and does not do small talk. She simply and coolly asked the waiter to remove it. She can be haughty, superior, and holds grudges against anyone who criticizes her. She admits to having anger issues – her Mars is square to Chiron. She even earned her the very Scorpionic nick-name of ‘Nuclear Wintour’ which she loathes and tries to have removed from any metion in the media. She often wears textured Chanel dresses as though they are a suit of armour – her friend and fellow editor from the UK, Tina Brown (another Scorpio), calls it her ‘uniform’. She manages to court publicity, yet to be never fully exposed, always guarded, inscrutable somewhat icy which is trait of Scorpio as it is fixed water. But this steely approach is not always effective at fire fighting when the scandals flare up in the media. A glance at her locational astrology shows Mars running through New York, with Pluto further west over Washington, and Chiron but it strikes me that her career would have been easier in London where the Sun, Jupiter and Mercury all coalesce nearby, but she left London to get out of the shadow of her father.
The bobbed hairstyle acts as protective wings, enclosing her face. For that reason she is enigmatic, but she is also feared and copied. With Mars and Saturn both in Virgo she is without doubt hardworking on an industrial scale, meticulous and painstaking, understanding the craft needed to keep Vogue fresh and the favourite of advertisers. She pushes herself almost to the point of absolute perfectionism- which for some can tip over into a mental health issue but appears to be just more grist to her mill.
One of her Ten Rules for Success includes the adage ‘Be True to Yourself’, so she has read Shakespeare, but she might have added a stronger rule even truer to her style: ‘Never Ever change’ as there is an strong showing of cardinality, earth and fixity in her chart. Fixed water creates ice, and she is known as a ‘ice’ queen, so intimidating that people fear to get in the lift with her, nor are they allowed to talk to her or allow food to be seen in the office. Her Mars in Virgo points to disagreements with co-workers.
Asteroid Juno conjunct Saturn in Virgo implies very stern views on marriage – she probably doesn’t usually have any dalliances with anyone outside of her husband. But in 1999 she herself started an affair with a married man, Shelby Bryan while remaining ultra tight-lipped about it but seeming to have a transformation to her closer confidantes. There was a fortune paid out in divorce settlements and no doubt to the lawyers. This Juno likes to rule the roost and even could be domineering in the domestic arena. To have Juno conjunct Saturn is apt as Juno was associated with fashion and the emblem of the peacock, so it very expressive of her role as boss in that sphere and in promoting powerful women on the front covers of Vogue. For the recent Met Ball themed on ‘Camp’ she said she was inspired by millions of feathers.
I find it fascinating that her Venus is conjunct the Galactic Centre at 27 degrees of Sagittarius. This Venus in Sagittarius is a risk-taker but also angling for more political clout. What’s more, Jupiter will transit this point in mid-November 2019 inflating the story by transiting her natal Venus. Looking further ahead, Jupiter will eventually transit own natal Jupiter in Capricorn later in 2020. This is female power in going stellar in a very adventurous way, pioneering and forging ahead, and if she planned to become the undisputed queen of fashion media she is well on her way. She wasn’t that good with House and Garden. But Jupiter in Capricorn is also very conventional and conservative. She brings that steely glamour to fashion that women seem to want, while still maintaining the firmest of grips. You simply do not mess with Anna Wintour, whose brother Patrick Wintour is also in Journalism and whose father was called ‘Chilly Charlie’ the editor of the London Evening Standard. Growing up in London as a privileged young girl, the people who came to dinner were playwrights like Tom Stoppard. She is part of this dynasty of journalists.
A classic protagonist in fiction is the bullied underling who sucks all the sympathy as the boss is demonised. Lauren Weisberger (Aries) realized this when she became assistant of Wintour’s at Vogue and then wrote the novel ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ (2003). So also Wintour’s reputation as stickler for detail precedes her and she was the well-known model for the boss from hell. Weisberger said it was based on ‘real’ events. Anne Hathaway plays the hapless assistant in the film that followed (2006). It was hugely successful and enjoyable – even Wintour found it “amusing”and wore Prada to the premiere. But the performance of Meryl Streep softened the much harsher edge of the real Miranda Priestley. A man in Wintour’s position might be accused of bullying and intimidation -but Streep gave it a comical edge and we laughed it off. Those who worked with Wintour however have said ‘She throws you in the deep end and it is sink or swim’. It is that pesky Mars and Saturn in Virgo again so people knew it was true. But her apologists claim it is her shyness that causes her haughtiness.
In the book, the main character Andrea spits and curses Miranda Priestly, whereas in the film they end in a frenemies’ truce of mutual respect. The natal chart points to all this intensity, with her Mercury at 29 degrees of Libra, conjunct Ceres and that same Venus on the Galactic opposing Uranus in early Cancer. That’s a whole lot of hot water and difficulty for Venus to convey its emotions with any kind of ease. ‘Brusque’ is a word often used to describe her manners at catwalk shows where she likes to sit apart from all the other editors.
September Issue (2009) is a documentary film made by R. J. Cutler. This film struck me as very revealing of Wintour’s dependence on her creative director Grace Coddington who was herself once a top model. They way they interact is comical, yet intriguing – what is behind that relationship? Wintour uses a slash and burn style of editing chopping 50% of Coddington’s stylish and opulent photographs. Coddington whispers complaints to the camera as soon as Wintour is out of earshot, so in a way she steals the show and Wintour’s attempt to reclaim her hyped up image merely reconfirms it. Two temperamental souls at the top in Vogue makes for a difficult marriage.
Coddington is also British; she was born in Wales. She is an Aries, and her signature style is great mane of flaming red hair. There is clearly a working synergy between the two women. This sparring allows them to balance their individual skills to best effect for Vogue. It is the Aries- Scorpio axis which has an inconjunct relationship, so not all plain sailing. The Aries Mars comes face to face with the Plutonic Mars here, so no doubt there are bust ups galore. But Coddington graciously accepts that without Wintour’s business acumen and leadership she wouldn’t be able to indulge her creative fantasies.So what is clear is that they ‘need’ each other. Wintour plays her usual inscrutable ‘no comment’ armour. On an archetypal level this is birth (Aries) and death ( Scorpio) Creation (Aries) and Destruction (Scorpio). So their interactions are breathtaking to watch if you can see this archetypal power play.
That troublesome Moon is at 14 degrees of Aries – very militant, precision-decisions rise from instinct- which she says is how she manages people- exactly conjuncts Coddington’s Mercury. Coddington’s Sun is at 29 degrees of Aries, so the fieriness of the fire might consume. So my guess is these riffs and tiffs are frequent and what we see in the film is just the tip of the iceberg.
In order to understand the enigma that is Wintour, you must take note of the crucial Yod formation with its pinnacle in the Moon in Aries. But also the opposition of Neputne to the moon that hides a depth of nebulousness and sensitivity. Perhaps the overcompensation on decisiveness throughout life stems from this – the turmoil that she conceals behind those glasses. When she decides she doesn’t always know what she wants but pretends to know even if she does not. But Yod formations can bring trouble for the native unless they manage to balance those conflicting energies internally which ought to be in harmony. but keep triggering the same round of issues The Sun at 10 degrees of Scorpio sextiles Saturn at 16 Virgo both quincunx the Moon/North Node at 15 Aries which opposes Neptune, so this is really the internal machinery of what makes her tick, all hidden behind those glasses.
Wintour has her Solar Return today November 3rd, 2019. She will be 70 years old. Yet there’s no sign her of her wavering, no sign of any step down from power, or a change in the uniform. The solar return chart also shows high fixity and low flexibility. No surprises then for the duration of 2020. Most of the activity in the first house where she has Mercury and Venus, and in the third house where the Saturn-Pluto conjunction will influence communications. If the intensity increases, Wintour can handle it as she certainly has staying power, admires fearlessness in others as she has that in herself which helps define her style.
© Proteus Astrology, November 3rd, 2019
Kieron is a London-based and trained astrologer at Proteus Astrology on Facebook:
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