Alexandra Kotur is the style director of Vogue. Her many job duties include “leading the advance team” for the Met ball on Monday. Under her guard, no floral arrangement shall be set up in a way that might obstruct a shot of Gisele bounding up the steps in her Dior couture dress, or a view of Diane Von Furstenberg shaking Justin Timberlake’s hand. You know, any of the many disasters that could occur should the setup be minorly flawed. Judging from the Observer’s profile of her, Kotur is calm, cool, and collected in every sense of the word. She eschews trends and wears the same thing to work every day — an “impeccably ironed” white blouse, no makeup, hair neatly parted and pulled back. Indeed, that she hasn’t cracked yet is probably the reason she’s been on staff at Vogue for thirteen years. Anna Wintour (seemingly) raves about her, hailing her “calm,” “meticulous,” and “precise” manner. Her ex-boss Hamish Bowles describes her as “unflappable … an extremely serene, calming presence in an environment that is sometimes prone to more extreme emotional manifestations.” Praise — at Vogue, when it rains, it pours.
Aside from making sure the flowers are just so at the ball, Kotur oversees photo shoots for Vogue, mostly portraits, including the shoot of Michelle Obama. She also edits the front-of-book section of the magazine, including André Leon Talley’s column. And she is aware of the harsh criticism that Vogue is out of touch, provides no compelling reasons for us to care about socialites, especially in these times, and is therefore boring.
“I just fundamentally disagree,” Ms. Kotur said fiercely. “I think Anna is an amazing editor. Only if you work at Vogue can you understand what it’s like — how talented these women are that make up the team of Anna’s staff.”
She continued: “Look at André, Hamish, Grace, Phyllis [Posnick, executive fashion editor] — we’ve been here a long time, and I don’t think we all think about it. Then when the movie and all these articles come out, we’re like, ‘What’s all this analysis?’ We just carry on and do what we do. If someone wants to report on it, fine, but just let me do what I do.”
What’s all this analysis? (And she says they’re not out of touch!) Well, it might have something to do with Vogue, as one of the most widely read fashion magazines, having an undeniable impact on what’s perceived as beautiful in this world. Or perhaps that its editor-in-chief is arguably the most powerful and feared person in the multi-billion-dollar fashion industry. Or that one assistant’s experience working for that editor-in-chief was so miserable and ridiculous she parlayed it into a best-selling novel and major movie. Or perhaps comments like Hamish’s above (“an environment that is sometimes prone to more extreme emotional manifestations”), which lead us to believe that what that assistant wrote was not inaccurate. Or that the editors seem like they don’t want us to know how they run this magazine, seeing as it took Kotur a year to agree to an interview. Maybe she was worried that if she sat down to talk about what really goes on up there, in those elusive offices, she would finally crack. But alas, that wouldn’t be “correct.”
All this only brings us closer to confirming that the editors at Vogue are not actual people, but alien beings.
The Viscountess of Vogue [NYO]