Anna Wintour hosted her second Runway to Win fund-raising event last night in Chicago (she co-hosted the first one with Scarlett Johansson at the Theory store in New York back in February). Unfortunately, her supermodel co-host Iman hurt her foot last week and wasn’t able to make it. So Anna got the most convenient replacement possible: model Chanel Iman. Their names are sort of the same, and they’re both tall, skinny, and beautiful, so who’d know the different, right? As Anna pointed out in her stump speech, Chanel isn’t even old enough to have voted for Obama in the last election, but she helped with his campaign anyway (true dedication!).
At the beginning of her speech, Anna told a cute story about how she’d gotten a call from Matthew Barzun, the national finance chair for Obama’s campaign, and she assumed he wanted to talk to her about Serious Things like European politics or something. “I did all my homework, and I went to our lunch with a big file,” she explained. But then it turned out he wanted to talk about pets — namely, Bark for Obama dog accessories that they could sell to raise money for the campaign. Which, of course, she got Marc Jacobs and Thakoon to design, and soon they’ll be selling like hotcakes and presumably helping Obama much more than Wintour’s thoughts on Europe. (Or will they?)
You can read and see video of Anna’s full speech here. Sadly, there’s no video of Chanel Iman.
I’m Anna Wintour, and I’m thrilled to be here. Before I make my remarks, I just want to tell you a little story, something that happened to me earlier this year. I was down in Washington for a meeting, and then I got a call … asking if I would meet with Ambassador Matthew Barzun, who is the national finance chair for the [Obama] campaign. And I had never met the ambassador before, so I thought, Oh, I’m sure he wants to talk to me about what folks say up in New York about the campaign or hear what I’m doing in terms of fund-raising or my views on Europe. And I did all my homework, and I went to our lunch with a big file, and he sat down and he said, “I want to talk to you about pets. Pets for Obama.” He said, “I’ve been so impressed with everything that the design community has done for the campaign, that I really think that they should now design a collection for pets.” So I then went back to New York and persuaded Marc Jacobs to do Bark for Obama [she held up a plush toy dog wearing an Obama sweater as the crowd cheered] and Thakoon to do a fantastic leash and collar. So, if you haven’t purchased one tonight, please do. That was my first meeting with the ambassador.
But seriously, I’m thrilled to be here to support President Barack Obama. I have to send my co-chair Iman’s regrets. She unfortunately hurt her foot last week and was unable to be here. But I’m so fortunate to be here with Chanel Iman, and I’m delighted that we have Mellody Hobson, a long-term friend and supporter of the president, with us this evening. Mellody, thanks so much for tonight, and for all that you do.
We started this journey back in 2008 with Runway for Change, and four years on, change is exactly what we’ve seen. Thanks to our president, America is a fairer, healthier, and more tolerant place to live. But there’s still so much more to be done. In the spirit of the world we are now lucky enough to live in, every one of us, including the fashion industry, has to do their bit, play their part, in helping protect the advances we’ve made so far. And what better industry to do that than fashion, given that we like change so much.
Not long after we launched Runway to Win in New York, we opened the Runway to Win design challenge. Since then, hundreds of Americans have submitted many superbly inventive and spirited designs. In a few weeks, we will announce the winners, and their designs will join the collection on Runway to Win alongside the already best-selling designs of some of America’s best designers. Eight of those designers are here tonight. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to the president. I’d also like to thank Lauren Silvano of Tory Burch, who designed the fabulous Runway to Win pop-up shop and tied my scarf tonight. Thank you!
And perhaps I should mention that the enormous interest from the public in this challenge is indicative to me of just how much fashion means to so many people from all walks of life. It’s also a global business worth $20 billion to the economy, and one that employs 4 million people. We are enormously lucky to have a president and a first lady who are so supportive of our industry.
And now I’m very happy to introduce Chanel Iman. And I have to say, I take enormous pride in Chanel’s achievements ever since we put her on the cover of Vogue back in May 2007. At 17 years old, before she could even vote, Chanel was already supporting our fund-raising efforts for President Obama back in 2008. In the space of one term, she has grown into a confident, informed, and well-rounded young woman. Chanel has aligned herself to USAID and the Ad Council’s FWD campaign, which raises awareness about the devastating famine, war, and drought in the horn of Africa. She’s an inspiration to so many young Americans who are dedicated to helping the president move this country forward.