Lynn Barber in The Spectator:
Apparently Anna Wintour wants to be seen as human, and Amy Odell’s biography goes some way to helping her achieve that aim. Nearly all the photographs show her smiling, looking friendly, even girlish. And the text quite often mentions her crying. On 9 November 2016 she cried in front of her entire staff because Hillary Clinton lost the election. But then she immediately set about trying to persuade Melania Trump to do a Vogue shoot. Melania, another tough cookie, refused unless she was guaranteed the cover.
Dame Anna has been the editor of American Vogue since 1988 and holds a position of extraordinary power in the fashion world. Designers, photographers, models and celebs tremble to obey her whim. At 72, she now seems impregnable, in that she is the creative director of all Condé Nast magazines, from Vogue down to Golf Digest and Wired. But of course this is a print empire, which means she could be the last empress.
We know Wintour best from The Devil Wears Prada, the 2006 film based on a novel by her former assistant Lauren Weisberger. Everything in Odell’s biography confirms its accuracy – the relentless perfectionism, the exhausting work routine, up at 5 a.m., tennis or workout, followed by half an hour of hair and makeup before entering the office, where assistants wait to hand her coffee, then a day of back-to-back meetings. Everything is work. She doesn’t believe in wasting time, so no small talk, no pleasantries, no explanations. And she will get up from lunch after 45 minutes, whether or not her guests are still eating.