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Her reportedly aloof and demanding personality has earned her the nickname "Nuclear Wintour".The eldest daughter of Charles Wintour, editor of the London Evening Standard (1959–76), her father consulted her on how to make the newspaper relevant to the youth of the era. Her career in fashion journalism began at two British magazines.Under her editorship, the magazine renewed its focus on fashion and returned to the prominence it had held under Vreeland.Vogue held its position as market leader against three contenders: Elle; Harper's Bazaar, which had lured away Liz Tilberis, Wintour's most prominent deputy, and Mirabella, a magazine Rupert Murdoch created for Wintour's fired predecessor. With her trademark pageboy bob haircut and dark sunglasses, Wintour has become an important figure in much of the fashion world, widely praised for her eye for fashion trends and her support for younger designers. In 2013, she became artistic director for Condé Nast, Vogue's publisher.
Her changes moved the magazine from its traditional eccentricity to a direction more in line with the American magazine.
Betts felt Vogue's fashion coverage was getting too limited.
Wintour in turn thought that the stories with popular culture angles Betts was assigning were beneath readers, and began pairing Betts with Plum Sykes, whom Betts reportedly detested as a "pretentious airhead." Eventually, she left, complaining to The New York Times that Wintour had not even sent her a baby gift.
Animal rights activists have attacked her for promoting fur, while other critics have charged her with using the magazine to promote elitist views of femininity and beauty. The late-18th-century novelist Lady Elizabeth Foster, Duchess of Devonshire, was Wintour's great-great-great-grandmother, and Sir Augustus Vere Foster, the last Baronet of that name, was a granduncle.
A former personal assistant, Lauren Weisberger, wrote the 2003 best selling roman à clef The Devil Wears Prada, later made into a successful film starring Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly, a fashion editor, believed to be based on Wintour. The next year, she left North London Collegiate and began a training program at Harrods.
There, the fashion spreads and photo shoots she had been putting together for years finally began attracting attention.