What I Wore When I Met Anna Wintour (and Why it Really Didn’t Matter)

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Not your average dilemma.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Lisa Messenger

It was June 2, 2015, when I received an email with the following subject line: “From the office of Anna Wintour”. It was from her EA, Grace, explaining that Anna would like to meet with me in her office in NYC, in the newly constructed World Trade Center. This was exactly 2 years and 3 months after we launched Collective Hub.

Remember little old me, who had never worked for a magazine? Here was the doyenne of magazine publishing, AKA editor-in-chief of Vogue since ’88 (of The Devil Wears Prada and The September Issue), asking to meet with me!

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In my excitement, I posted the news on Facebook. Everyone bar none asked, “What are you going to wear?” Now this both fascinated and perplexed me a little – yes, it’s true, Anna Wintour is the sartorial savant of our time, and it’s well-documented that she does care greatly about what people wear when they meet her. However, it’s important to remember that she had requested to meet with me. To talk business. As an equal.

You see, I believe, and have said previously, that we should always be prepared to “meet” people, not just in the physical sense, but energetically as well; two people having a mutually beneficial exchange, as equals. I’m really, really big on this. As soon as you put someone on a pedestal or glorify them, you lose all power and all chance of being taken seriously.

You see, I believe, and have said previously, that we should always be prepared to “meet” people, not just in the physical sense, but energetically as well.

Thus, I would like to believe that regardless of what I had worn to our meeting, what was most important was my message. For the sake of transparency, I did quickly consult our fashion editor in Paris for a few tips. Though I just didn’t want to lose sight of the fact that I had been called upon to discuss business.

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The meeting went very well. We talked all things Collective and of launching print in a tough climate, how we were rapidly building extensions, how she had built Vogue and other Condé Nast brands – it was a meeting of minds, of two very passionate business individuals.

I’ve stayed in touch with Chuck Townsend who was, at the time of our meeting, the Global CEO of Condé Nast and has since become Chairman and is retired.

Both he and Anna were two of the kindest, most knowledgeable, generous people I have come across. Like I always say, never take these relationships for granted; nurture them and who knows what magic can happen? Watch this space. There might just be a little announcement to come… another two years’ down the track.

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