Tag Archives: Conde Nast

The day I had coffee with Anna Wintour

15 Nov

Every girl’s dream – or at least for the fashionista ones – is to discover the magical “behind the scenes” world of Vogue Magazine.

As a journalism student and fashion lover, my dream wasn’t any different, yet it sounded pretty impossible to achieve. So I finished my degree, applied for a MA in Paris and left Brazil confident and happy about my new journey and the many croissants and pains au chocolat I would devour every morning for breakfast.

One year later, I was ringing the bell of the Condé Nast International Office in Paris for an internship interview at Vanity Fair USA. Even though it wasn’t Vogue, I was excited and thrilled to just be there and have this opportunity! I got the internship, started right away and one month later was moving downstairs to Vogue USA.

Accessories at the VOGUE closet

I clearly remember my first day as fashion assistant at Vogue USA in Paris. Anyone in my shoes would – not only did it coincide with the first day of the Haute Couture Fashion Week, it was also the day Anna Wintour  and Co. were arriving in town. As I made my way up to the second floor, at 9am on the dot, I could already see a frantic bunch of people cleaning everything up – opening the windows, turning on the airco, receiving flowers, re-stocking the mini-bar with Perrier and Coca Cola Light. My first mission: receive a luggage full of Anna’s clothes that had to go back to New York. I had to open the Louis Vuitton bag and make a list of all the contents: four D&G tops, one Lanvin dress, a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes, a toiletry bag with Chanel creams and a N°5, toothbrush and toothpaste, a Kiehl’s shower gel rolled up in a face towel from the Ritz Paris… Second mission of the day: get lunch for everyone at the office, myself included. And off I went with five post-its with everyone’s wish carefully noted down: “poulet vert” salad, mini thai salad, sandwich jambon cru parmesan, pasta pesto mozza, jus d’orange gingembre (that last one’s an orange juice with ginger)…

The whole morning I sat there in great expectation, waiting to finally meet the devil they say wears Prada. The great Grace Coddington arrives but still no Anna. After lunch I start thinking she won’t come by anymore so I relaxed – stopped worrying about my posture, whether my dress was crinkly, etc… All of a sudden, while I’m looking at my inbox on the computer screen, someone storms into the office, practically with her back to me (still recognizable though, with that signature bob cut) – and instead of saying ‘Hi’ she orders a Starbucks coffee. While I’m still in shock because just a meter away from me was THE Anna Wintour wearing a gorgeous dress, probably Dior (the Devil also wears Dior, namely!), the others were busy calling a taxi to take me to Starbucks.

Usually, when someone tells you to get coffee, you think to yourself ‘who the hell do they think I am?’ – but when someone tells you to get coffee for Madame Wintour, you almost jump with joy and imagine yourself in that scene in the movie where the girl desperately runs through the streets in search of the nearest Starbucks.

@ my last day at VOGUE! The Paris Editor, Fiona Da Rin, me and Camila.

While I was waiting for the taxi, Anna comes back into the room and starts saying something. My two colleagues are on the phone and she doesn’t stop talking, looks sternly at me and continues “…to see the Dior show online for the black dresses, I think they would be good for Spiderman”. “OK” – my reply, deep down really worried with the first part of the sentence I missed. I didn’t hear who she wanted the email sent to! Shit! You don’t ask Mrs. Wintour “Sorry, who do you want me to send the email to?” Luckily, one of my colleagues that was on the phone heard who the email was for and saved me from my first big goof.

The taxi arrived and I jump in realising it’s been at least ten minutes since she asked for coffee. My God, she’s gonna have a fit! Once at Starbucks, there was a massive queue and I felt like screaming: “I need to buy coffee for Anna Wintour, let me through!”. And when you finally get the order, you feel like saying

“Guys, it’s for Anna, OK?”

Anyway, two coffees later (one for Grace, just in case) and I’m back in the cab. When I arrive at the office, I run up the stairs and almost bump into Anna who’s already on her way out. I hand over the coffee and ask “Sugar?” and she quite simply says “NO”. And that was my first day at Vogue USA. Later I found out that the temperature of Madame’s coffee cannot be too hot nor too cold, nor in between… by the way, since nobody wanted Grace’s coffee, I had it. At least now I can say I had a coffee with Anna Wintour.

All in all, I’ve learned five “fashion essentials” from Anna (only by observing her, we didn’t really get the chance to sit on a bistrô to chat and gossip):

1- Accessories are powerful! Use and abuse of maxi necklaces and bracelets, not necessarily together, prefer choosing one or the other.


2- Wear dresses for all occasions! Not too short, no cleavage please, keep it simple and stay elegant!


3- Give high heels a chance! If you don’t feel comfortable in high heels, try kitten heels!

4- In fashion business, you can’t be too nice, otherwise you won’t be taken seriously.

5- Sunglasses are not only to be worn on sunny days. You’re allowed to use them indoors, on rainy days, during fashion shows…