Has Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s sway over the fashion world made her overestimate her power in Hollywood? We hear the bob-haired Brunhilde has been bragging to pals that she’s partly responsible for the shuttering of V Life, the glossy spin-off of showbiz bible Variety.
Sources say the fledgling monthly became the target of Wintour’s wrath when it put Gwyneth Paltrow on its October cover, even though the editor had made an arrangement with the actress’s rep, Stephen Huvane, that she believed gave Vogue an exclusive Paltrow cover for that month. In an attempt to calm Wintour down, we hear Huvane explained to the couture capo that V Life didn’t figure into their agreement because, despite looking like your average celebrity obsessed lifestyle rag, it considers itself a trade publication.
Wintour wasn’t satisfied, we’re told, and called a number of her influential Tinsletown pals to gripe that the mag had used its ambiguous status to steal her Paltrow thunder. Later, when Variety editor Peter Bart announced that the mag would shut down after its February issue, sources say Wintour—whose tele-tantrums are legendary--told friends that even she had underestimated her awesome pull on the West Coast.
But while no one at V Life or Variety would comment, we hear the mag’s demise stemmed from more pedestrian concerns—namely that it wasn’t meeting its circulation projections.
Asked for comment, Wintour’s rep at Vogue, Patrick O’Connell, confirmed that the editor had called Huvane to “voice her frustration about the number of Paltrow covers at the time,” but denied Wintour had flexed her muscles to kill the mag or had bragged about it afterwards. “As a matter of fact, we only heard of V Life closing from you,” he said.
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Huvane, surprisingly, had a different account. “Anna Wintour never called me to complain about this at all,” he said in an e-mail from Berlin.
“Vogue had an exclusive with Gwyneth for October. They have a list of magazines they consider to be conflicts and we agreed not to do those covers. V life was not on that list,” Huvane said. “I would not and have not given them complete exclusives that include all magazines. Vogue, as successful as it is, isn’t enough to open a film.”
Previously: The Devil You Know, On Line One