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This past Saturday morning, a gaggle of high-heeled and sequined-tunic clad teen girls began their education at Teen Vogue's Fashion University, a weekend-long immersion into the fashion world with seminars led by an impressive lineup of bloggers, designers and supermodels. Anna Wintour, looking particularly monochromatic and chic in head-to-toe camel, opened the ceremonies with a slideshow review of her career.
The editor-in-chief's overall message to the young audience was to focus on learning and getting a coveted internship to get your foot in the door, although first she praised Fashion's Night Out and gave little teasers about upcoming Vogue issues. Overall Anna maintained her famous aloofness, although there were a few more personal moments, as when she confided that when she began work at Vogue she "didn't really know what [she] was meant to do."
The attentive audience scribbled notes and snapped photos as Wintour described fashion as "an expression of culture...[Vogue] will tell you just as much as any headline you might read in the New York Times." She showed a series of covers that had particular significance to her career, such as the first cover she did which was "revolutionary at the time" for its outright rejection of Richard Avedon studio photos in favor of a more personal street style. She also talked about a Madonna cover that Andre Leon Talley styled, Kate Moss's long lifespan, and the "phenomenon" of Gisele. Models today, she explained, don't understand that to be successful you have to have a personality, intelligence, and issues that you support, but Gisele embodies these qualities.
Wintour pulled up the supermodel's much-talked about 2008 cover with LeBron Jameshow astonished she was by the accusations of racism. But rather than dwelling, she moved on quickly, talking about the power of celebrities in fashion today and showing previews of the upcoming covergirl Blake Lively, a spread featuring costumes from Julie Taymor and Bono's musical Spiderman, and a gorgeous Grace Coddington–styled shoot heralding the Asian American presence in the fashion industry.
During the Q and A, Wintour let Teen Vogue editor Amy Astley to answer the audience question, "Can you succeed in today's publishing world without being educated?" (a reference to Anna leaving school at 17), which Amy answered with "Educate yourself to the best of your ability." Despite Wintour admitting that interns "won't change the world", pens around us were flying as she ultimately advised listeners to seize opportunities and work their way up.—Rachel Traub
· Teen Vogue [Official Site]