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The devil does wear Prada

Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, or Posh, has apparently undergone a breast reduction surgery to be on the cover of Vogue, after its editor Anna Wintour told her to do so. Wintour is said to have told Posh to get rid of the “footballer’s wife” image — Posh is married to her surname — and lose those ridiculous implants before the cover happened.

I felt sorry for poor Posh. To be called all these names and asked to just change after her long career as a superceleb. But what choice did Posh have with someone like Anna Wintour? Vogue is almost like God — The New York Times once said: “Vogue is to our era what the idea of God was, in Voltaire’s famous parlance, to his: if it didn’t exist, we would have to invent it.” If the magazine is like God, its editor is no less than an oracle.

For those who are ok with her, working with her is “like belonging to a church”. Only human beings who are very big institutions, I think, can be compared to buildings.

Wintour is also called “Nuclear Wintour”. She meets the head designer at Yves Saint Laurent and raises her eyebrows at his collection; the man becomes jelly and heads for a rethink. She makes Prada “re-interpret” some of their designs. Without once having to take off her trademark giant dark sunglasses, or that immobile expression framed by the bobbed hair that descends like a steel curtain. They have been like that for years.

Wintour does not influence fashion, they say. Nor is she above fashion. She is fashion. And yes, she likes fur.

There are also rumours that she sacks underlings in the elevator — what happens to their remains is not so well-documented. That if she takes off those glasses, they will reveal two red spinning fireballs in the place of eyes. That she is Antichrist, only surrounded by her cronies disguised as fashionistas who feed on smoke, decaf and salad without dressing.

There are rumours that she is truly evil. That she is The Devil. She was the inspiration behind the boss from hell, Miranda Priestly, in The Devil Wears Prada. (Some who know her say that Priestly, played by Meryl Streep, was positively cuddly compared to the original.)

So either Anna Wintour is a church, or she belongs to the Other Side. But whatever she is, she is The Boss. And if such a person asks you to drop your silicone — to do anything — what can you do? You obey.

Yet the episode left me disturbed. That night, when I went to bed, some questions troubled my weary head.

What did Wintour exactly tell Posh? “Posh, get rid of the footballer’s wife image — and lose those ridiculous implants before the cover happens” — but did not add “please”?

If Wintour could say this to Posh, what would she say to Pamela Anderson, and Rakhi Sawant? (And what would she say to Rakhi Sawant in bridal finery?)

So I dreamt of Anna Wintour.

I dreamt that I was meeting her with a request to be on a Vogue cover.

She was standing in her office, against her desk. I had a vague feeling that I wanted to be wearing a Chanel suit, Jimmy Choo shoes, Cartier sunglasses and YSL perfume and clutching a Louis Vuitton purse in her presence, because she wanted me to be wearing a Chanel suit, Jimmy Choo shoes, Cartier sunglasses and YSL perfume and clutching a Louis Vuitton purse in her presence. But I was not wearing anything of that sort. I was, I think, wearing my school uniform.

I wanted to make amends. “I can slice off my jaws. I can knock off my nose and get a new one installed.” She kept looking at me.

“I can trim all my chins,” I said. “I can stop smiling. I can dye my eyelashes.”

I wanted her to speak.

“I can sell my soul,” I cried.

“Scrape it off the floor,” Anna Wintour told one of her assistants as she walked over me, squashing me with her stilettos. “But you can keep the fur.”

I think I know how Posh felt. Or what happens to the remains of underlings, maybe in other offices too. But in my dream I turned into a bit of fluffy pink chiffon and flew away.

chandrima@abpmail.com

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