They said/We said: Anna Wintour speaks out about Vogue’s glamourized profile of Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad
At long last, Anna Wintour has finally spoken out about the controversy surrounding Vogue’s glamourized portrayal of Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad last year, as well as addressed the atrocities that are ongoing in Syria today.
“Like many at that time, we were hopeful that the Assad regime would be open to a more progressive society. Subsequent to our interview, as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue,” Wintour said in a statement Sunday.
The “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert” feature, which was penned by former Paris Vogue editor-in-chief Joan Juliet Buck, described the beautiful, British-born al-Assad as “glamorous, young, and very chic—the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies.”
Almost immediately after the feature went live, news of the conflict and violence happening under her husband Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship became public, and the situation in Syria has only worsened over the past year and a half. In fact, yesterday the UN’s annual shame list on children and armed conflict was released, naming Syria as one of its worst offenders.
Buck herself spoke out about the feature in the wake of all its uproar.
“I think that Vogue is always on the lookout for good-looking first ladies because they’re a combination of power and beauty and elegance…that’s what Vogue is about. And here was this woman who had never given an interview, who was extremely thin and very well-dressed and therefore, qualified to be in Vogue. And they had — Vogue had been trying to get her for quite a long time,” she told NPR. Should have stopped at “lookout.”
Leah Chernikoff, Fashionista.com executive editor: “Got ties to an oppressive regime committing crimes against humanity? Not a problem for Vogue as long as you’re ‘extremely thin and very well-dressed.’” [Fashionista]
Tim Rich, freelance writer: “The headline the government in Syria feared most: ‘Vogue’s Anna Wintour disowns Asma al-Assad’ […]” [Twitter]
Caitlan Moneta, fashion market editor: “I think this is a a misstep on the magazine’s part. However, how could they have predicted the atrocities that were about to befall the Syrian population? Pointing an accusatory finger only attempts to simplify a complicated situation.”
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