Fashion Editors and Their Style Secrets

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The Spring/Summer 2014 international collections start this week in New York, and buyers, editors, writers, photographers and bloggers will begin the trek that will also take them to London, Milan and Paris to see what designers are proposing for next year.

All eyes will duly be on the runways for this circus that is Fashion Week, but lots of attention will also be given to off-the-runway looks. What guests wear to attend the shows are now breathlessly covered on street-style blogs.

But standing out from the pack of preening posers gather outside the show venues, are a few of the most influential women in fashion – the editors.

You would think, working in an industry that is fuelled by constant change, these women would be tempted to frequently change or experiment with their looks or adopt the latest trends. But surprisingly, these fashion power-brokers – whether it has to do with their seasoned age or experience – have found what works best for them and have carved out signatures they can call their own.

We take a look at some of these Zoomer-aged fashion pros and dissect their style secrets.

ANNA WINTOUR, 63, editor-in-chief of American Vogue

Her most recognizable feature is her sharp blond bob. While it is always sleek like a helmet, it also signifies no-nonsense and cool professionalism. While decades ago, it was a dark brown bob, as she ages, it has gotten lighter and blonder.

With a clothing expense account reportedly provided by her employers, Wintour can buy just about anything her heart desires each season. But the famously icy cool editor, surprisingly, almost never wears black – a favourite of most fashion folk. She sticks to simple lady-like dresses infused with print and colour.  And shoe styles can come and go, but she sticks to sling-back Manolo Blaniks.

CARINE ROITFELD, 58, creative director, stylist and editor-in-chief of CR Fashion Book

Recently a grandmother, this French style maven refuses to take a matronly approach to style. Effortlessly sexy seems to be her calling card with sleek pencil skirts, breezy blouses and sharp jackets. Her raven hair is always tousled like a rock star, and her face appears bare of makeup except for smudged black eyeliner.

GRACE CODDINGTON, 72, creative director, American Vogue

She keeps her hair a fiery orange, made even more luminous set against her dark wardrobe, which rarely diverges from a colour palette of black and midnight blue. While the epic photo shoots she may style at Vogue are fraught with romance and compelling narratives, her own look is simply cool and whisper quiet. She also takes a practical approach, almost always wearing comfortable-looking flats.

EMMANUELLE ALT, 46, editor-in-chief of French Vogue

She is the epitome of the rock-star style that French Vogue extols – hip, sexy and effortlessly casual. Her uniform at the shows would be skinny jeans, a well-tailored jacket and pointed toe pumps. And unlike most of the fashion pack during the shows, she is not afraid of wearing the same outfit again the next day.

ANNA DELLO RUSSO, 51, editor-at-large, Vogue Japan

If her colleagues adopt a minimalist, less-is-more-mantra, Dello Russo is an unapologetic full-throttle fashion maximalist. But while Dello Russo might wear a designer’s runway vision out on the street in its original form, beneath the layers of finery, she too has identifiable signatures. Her hair is probably her simplest feature – bone straight or wavy. Her figure is taunt and lean from yoga, her skin is tanned and her long legs are always on display. Her mantra seems to be evening wear for daytime. It’s not unusual to see her at a 10 a.m. show in a seductive cocktail dress, wrapped in feathers or topped off in a statement hat, and while the get-ups are extreme glitz and flash, there is no denying that she is celebrating the one thing her peers often forget during fashion week – fashion should be fun.

FRANCA SOZZANI, 63, editor-in-chief, Italian Vogue

With her long wavy centre-parted blond hair cascading past her shoulders, Sozzani looks like a painting. Her approach to style is also one that seems romantic – demure full-skirted dresses, soft cardigans, kittenish heels and simple jewelry. You’ll never find her in a power suit, and her clothes look timeless, devoid of seasonal trends and is often difficult to pinpoint which designer’s collection it came from.