Clinton was to appear in Vogue as the presidential race reached high gear, but backed out late last fall before a photo shoot was scheduled for fear of appearing too alluring. New York Post columnist Liz Smith reported Nov. 1 that "the astute [Vogue contributing editor] Julia Reed hung ten waiting to write about her and the giant fotog Annie Leibovitz had her cameras at the ready for nothing."
A Vogue spokesman confirmed: "We were told by Ms. Clinton's camp that they were concerned if Clinton appeared in Vogue that she would appear too feminine." (Clearly, though, the presidential candidate didn't worry about that when she cried in New Hampshire.)
But Wintour didn't take Clinton's dis lightly. In her February editor's letter, Wintour takes Clinton to task for being behind the times. "Imagine my amazement, then, when I learned that Hillary Clinton, our only female president hopeful, had decided to steer clear of our pages at this point in her campaign for fear of looking too feminine. The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying."
Wintour continues: "This is America, not Saudi Arabia. It's also 2008: Margaret Thatcher may have looked terrific in a blue power suit, but that was 20 years ago. I do think Americans have moved on from the power-suit mentality, which served as a bridge for a generation of women to reach boardrooms filled with men. Political campaigns that do not recognize this are making a serious misjudgment."
Calls and e-mails to the Clinton camp went unreturned as of press time.
Vogue has featured Sen. Clinton with her family and by herself in sizeable features six times since 1992, and she was the first first lady to appear on the magazine's cover, in December 1998.
Despite Wintour's lashing, bridges have not been permanently burned: Vogue's spokesman said the magazine and the Clintons are "working on something together for Vogue in the near future."
A presidential cover in January 2009, perhaps?