Of all the positions appointed by the United States president, it’s hard to imagine one more steeped in romance and glamor than the ambassador to a far-off intercontinental capital. So perhaps it makes sense that Anna Wintour, someone synonymous with the fashion world — and the power that industry holds — could be in the running to move into a career change as an attaché.
The Guardian has a story today that floats the idea of Wintour as the next U.S. Ambassador to London, a seat that will probably become vacant after this year (President Barack Obama sent former Citigroup executive Louis Susman to London in 2008, but the position customarily switches up every term).
The Vogue editor hasn’t exactly cut her teeth in the world of diplomacy, but she’s proven herself very adept at raising money for Obama’s reelection campaign. The $40,000-a-plate dinner that she’s organized at the home of Sarah Jessica Parker later this week is just one example of her efforts to make sure Obama stays in the White House.
Fundraising alone may not be enough to catapult someone into the highly coveted position, but the Guardian ticks off a few other points that illustrate Wintour’s deep ties to the president. She’s been credited with Michelle Obama’s embrace of high fashion, she has hosted the couple at dinners at her home on numerous occasions, and for tomorrow night’s campaign event — a Runway to Win fundraiser in Chicago — Wintour is traveling with Jim Messina, the White House deputy chief of staff and general fixer-about-town in Washington.
A state department spokesperson who spoke to the Guardian stressed the importance of the role of ambassador, but doesn’t comment directly on Wintour.
“An ambassador serves at the pleasure of the president,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a designation of the most qualified person. But it would be erroneous to think of London as a nice, cushy, westernized post. This is a key strategic ally, so you’re going to want a very seasoned person, be it on the economic or diplomatic side of things.”
Politicians on the right wouldn’t be too pleased with Wintour as the envoy to London, and the rumors of her promotion come a week after an anti-Obama ad accused the campaign of overlooking the unemployment crisis by focusing on fashion industry heavyweights like Wintour.
Will Wintour really leave Vogue to take the job in England, where she was born? These are all just rumors, and no matter how much money she can raise for the campaign, it’s hard to see Obama placing someone so visible in another industry into a high-profile ambassadorship. Plus, the London seat has been a source of false gossip before. The Financial Times heard that Oprah was being considered for the position in 2008, and that didn’t exactly pan out.