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Design & Style

Editorial Decision-Making

Anna Wintour

Lesson time 14:53 min

With her forward-thinking and sometimes surprising editorial choices, Anna has kept Vogue relevant for more than 30 years. She explores the process behind several of her controversial covers and features, and explains why making mistakes is vital.

Anna Wintour
Teaches Creativity and Leadership
Anna Wintour gives unprecedented access to her world, teaching you how to lead with vision and creativity—and without apology.


[MUSIC PLAYING] ANNA WINTOUR: It's very important to understand how your work fits into a much larger, cultural narrative. What is it that you are trying to say? What are you standing for? Your choices need to be a balance between how you stay true to the values and when it's important to become disruptive and confound expectations. In this chapter, I will be showing you how I've made some decisions and the mistakes and the lessons that I have learned over time. We have research, and facts, and data that supports who looks, who watches, who sees us. And they are educated, single, usually living in a city. But I don't have-- I don't think any of us have one image when we're talking to the "Vogue" reader, to the "Vogue" audience. We are just talking to them about what we care about, what we're passionate about, what we believe in, what we understand. And we believe that if we speak with that passion, and that voice, and that sense of authority, and all the amazing resources that we have, and the credible people that we're able to talk to that inform all the decisions that we make, that our passion, that our belief will reach that audience. I do not believe, I don't think any of us who work at Condé Nast, who work at "Vogue," is that you can find an audience or develop an audience through data, or research, or analytics. They can help you. They can inform you. They can make you focus on something. And they can tell you something you probably already guessed or thought. But at the end, the vision, the heart, the soul comes from the creative talent that's putting it out there every single day. And your audiences-- your audiences, your readers, your customers, whoever it may be, they will find you because of that passion. [MUSIC PLAYING] If we're thinking about how "Vogue" works and how we think today, I think a perfect example of the huge opportunity that we have to give something that we believe in a platform that is so remarkable, that the range is so remarkable, is our March 2019 issue. It was a moment when I think we were all thinking about what shows we were-- what designers, what talent we were truly responding to, what-- who had truth, who had meaning, who was actually really saying something. And I think it was the designers that gave us a sense of community and a sense of experience that stayed with us. And as we plotted out or started to first discuss the March issue, I think we wanted to do something that had weight, and that had meaning, and that could talk about the world in a very broad landscape. And we kept going back to the idea of California, and the changes that we saw happening in California, that it had become this center for so many different forces, whether it's technology, or whether it was the arts, whether it was fashion, whether it was design, whether it was a force for education, politically inspiring. I think it seemed to all of us that all worlds were colliding in Californ...

About the Instructor

A fashion and media icon, Anna Wintour has been driving our cultural conversation for more than 30 years. The Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Artistic Director of Condé Nast takes off her signature sunglasses and gives you unprecedented access to her world. See how Anna nurtures talent, makes bold decisions, and evolves a brand. Learn how to lead with impact from a visionary creative leader.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I loved seeing the real side of Anna. Many of her comments are fitting for those both in the fashion biz and otherwise! I really enjoyed it. Beautifully done.

I have nothing to do with fashion, I took the course to hear her views on leadership and I enjoyed it.

Fabulous, love her tenacity and emphasis on living with your decisions.

Be fearless and focused in this COVID-19 time of fear and ambiguity.


Jennifer R.

Liked this lesson - balance your risks. Very important in any position or role one has.

Mellery G.

I love that she combines good leadership with creativity. she is conscious of her place as woman leader and can combine her vision with other visions without losing or lowering hers. What a great example to lersn from!


She and her team feel they must be very passionate. Your audience will eventually be influenced by it. But sometimes one's platform may not work. It's human to make mistakes. Accept it. Own it. Learn from it. Move on.

Morgan M.

I feel that staying open is a really powerful message, especially for someone in a leadership role. It is way too common to see a boss or leader of some kind solely stick to what they know just because it "works" for them. This shows that the world is always changing/evolving and that there is always something new to be learned no matter how high up your role maybe.

Erika Von Finck

I think it´s perfect to make "mistakes", otherwise life would be boring. Making mistakes are part of our life, part of every experience, part of our personal and professional growth. To label the mistakes only limits you vision and creates drama. Just give yourself permission to trust yourself, your inner being, your soul, your heart, without expectations, that's where the balance is. The best reward is, when you look back, you´ll see the experience with a different perspective, then you will tell yourself: How well I did it! You will feel so proud of yourself, because you trusted in yourself. If you want to be a leader or whatever you choose to be, every experience is your training, it only depends on the perspective in which you choose to see it, not only for your career but also for your personal life. You must first, be the master of yourself in the experience, so then, you can be the leader and the standard for humanity. The key is self-confidence, that creates inner balance, so...welcome are the mistakes! And as Anna said: "You are Leading not Following” and I will like to add: “You are the Creator, You are the Master”.

Sheryl B.

I am passionate about bringing people together through conferences and events and creating something meaningful for their experience. You learn from your mistakes. That is the only way you can grow.

Amber A.

I appreciated how Anna said put down your screens and look up at the world around you. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that what we are trying to reflect is not a reflection of what is on our screens, but what surrounds us. A simple truth is that in order to reflect our culture we need to be able to immerse ourselves with our surroundings and live in the moment. I will definitely take this advice with me into my next project. Thank you!


When Anna talks about being immersed in different fields, arts, culture, theatre, movies, museums, she makes a strong point about how Vogue draws points of views from different fields and showcases them through fashion.


I love Anna's masterclass because it shows you actual behind the scenes of the process of the work. This is absent to the previous 2 masterclasses that i just gone through. because those seem to be theories talk, but cannot see the actual process like what Anna's has given us access in her class.

Graham C.

I work in experiential marketing for some of the worlds largest brands, and what resonated with me here was "Always try to create something meaningful". This can seem daunting, expecially with so much clutter out there (Especially in the marketing world). But by remaining open and not always choosing the most obvious path to start to find those intricate ways to break through the noise in order to stand out. What truly makes something meaningful is insight, and that doesn't always have to come from data, it can be an observation, a trend or a conversation that's happening now.