What Religion Is Anna Wintour? An In-depth Religious Belief Of Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour is one of the most influential figures in the fashion industry. As the editor-in-chief of American Vogue since 1988, she has shaped trends, launched careers, and built an iconic personal brand. But behind the fame and glamour, many wonder – what religion does Anna Wintour actually practice?

Anna Wintour’s Early Life and Family Background

Anna Wintour was born in 1949 in London, England to an upper-class family. Her father, Charles Wintour, was the editor of the London Evening Standard newspaper. Her mother, Eleanor “Nonie” Trego Baker, was an American heiress.

Wintour’s parents met when her father was working as a journalist in the United States. Her mother came from a prestigious Catholic family in Pennsylvania. So while Wintour was raised primarily in London, she has American roots on her mother’s side.

Anna’s Father’s Side

On her father’s side, the Wintour family had a long history in England. Her paternal grandmother was a philanthropist involved in intellectual and artistic circles. Her great-grandfather founded the Wintour & Co. merchant firm in London in the 19th century.

So Anna Wintour comes from an established English family on her father’s side. The Wintours were members of the Church of England, or Anglicans. This was the traditional religion of English elites for centuries.

Anna’s Mother’s Side

Wintour’s mother came from a wealthy Catholic family in Pennsylvania. Eleanor Baker’s father founded a meat packing company that became one of the largest in the United States. Her mother was a homemaker who cared for their estate.

The Baker family was devoutly Catholic for generations. They attended church regularly and were involved in parish life. So Anna’s mother brought this staunch Catholic background to the marriage when she wed Charles Wintour.

Anna Wintour’s Own Religious Beliefs

With this mixed family background, what religion does Anna Wintour herself actually practice? From most accounts, she does not seem to be a devout adherent of any particular faith.

Not Publicly Religious

For one, Wintour has never spoken publicly about her own personal religious beliefs or practices. She does not reference God or faith in interviews about her work in fashion.

Unlike some public figures, Wintour does not attend church services or other religious events regularly enough to be photographed or commented on. So she does not appear to be visibly religious in her public persona.

Probably Culturally Anglican

Based on her upbringing and private schooling in England, Wintour was most likely raised loosely within the Anglican church. The Church of England has historically been tied closely with the British elite class that she came from.

But it does not seem that she actively practices or identifies with Anglicanism today. She seems to be more culturally Anglican than a devout member of the church.

Catholic Family Background

Wintour’s mother came from a devoutly Catholic family in Pennsylvania. So it is possible Wintour has some connection to Catholicism through her maternal roots.

However, there is no evidence Wintour herself was raised as an observant Catholic. Her father came from a staunchly Protestant English background, so she likely identified more with Anglicanism as a child.

Probably Not Affiliated with Any Formal Religion

Based on her public persona and lack of declared religious identity, it seems unlikely that Anna Wintour actively practices any organized religion today. She does not appear to regularly attend church services or follow the rituals and obligations of a specific faith.

Wintour has been married twice – first in 1984 to child psychiatrist David Shaffer, and second in 2004 to investor Shelby Bryan. Both weddings took place outside of religious venues, indicating she and her spouses do not adhere to a particular religion as couples either.

Anna Wintour’s Relationships with Religious Fashion Leaders

Although Anna Wintour herself does not seem to follow a religion, she has close relationships with prominent figures in fashion who do have strong religious backgrounds.

Friendship with Vatican’s Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi

In 2021, Vogue published a letter of friendship between Wintour and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the head of the Vatican’s culture ministry. Ravasi is known as the “Vatican’s culture czar” and promotes Christian faith through the arts.

Despite their different backgrounds, Ravasi and Wintour found common ground in their shared belief in the power of beauty, creativity, and human expression through clothing. Their relationship shows an open dialogue between fashion and faith leaders.

Connections in the Jewish Community

Anna Wintour also has close ties to leading designers and entrepreneurs in the Jewish faith community. This includes Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, and the late Batsheva Hay.

Wintour embraces Jewish culture in fashion and includes many traditions, like wearing yarmulkes, tallit, and other religious garments, in Vogue’s pages. She supports diversity and inclusion for Jewish artists in the industry.

So while Wintour herself does not follow an Abrahamic religion, she welcomes influences from Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths into her work positively.

How Anna Wintour’s Religion Impacts Her Work

Even though Anna Wintour is not personally devout, religious themes and values emerge in her approach to fashion and the public eye.

Protestant Work Ethic

Wintour is famous for her tireless work ethic and laser focus on results. This aligns with values of hard work, productivity, and efficiency traditionally associated with Protestantism.

Observers note Wintour has an inner drive motivated by an almost “religious” sense of fashion’s importance as an institution. She upholds exacting standards reminiscent of Protestant austerity.

Emphasis on Rituals and Customs

Though not tied to an organized faith, Wintour prioritizes rituals and seasonal traditions in her work. Her meticulous following of the fashion calendar cycle is similar to liturgical calendars dictating holy days.

Wintour is also keenly aware of the meaning fashion conveys through semiotics and symbolism, like a priest interpreting religious vestments. Her spreads use clothing to reflect cultural values.

Reverence for Creativity and Beauty

Anna Wintour deeply reveres the creativity of designers and the beauty of their work. She champions fashion with a sense of awe that can seem almost devotional at times.

This intense admiration of artistry and vision channels spiritual sentiments, even if not directed to a specific deity. It infuses her work with meaning beyond pure commerce.

Power as an Authority Figure

As editor-in-chief for over 30 years, Wintour holds a station of authority comparable to religious leadership roles. She is regarded as a high priestess of fashion who confers legitimacy.

Her judgments carry weight like doctrinal pronouncements. Wintour demands obedience from her inner circle, wielding her power absolutely. Both temperamentally and functionally, she exerts control like faith heads.

Conclusion: Anna Wintour’s Secular Religion of Fashion

In the end, Anna Wintour practices a secular “religion” with fashion at its center. She upholds many traditional values and rituals, devotion to beauty, and an elite power structure. But this faith revolves around clothing rather than a creed.

For Wintour, fashion provides meaning, order, inspiration, and community. It connects people across boundaries. While she does not identify with a specific organized religion herself, Wintour values how faith traditions intersect with the industry she has dedicated her life to. Her flexible, open approach allows fashion to flourish as a modern replacement for traditional religions in many ways.

Frequently Asked Questions about Anna Wintour’s Religion

Was Anna Wintour raised religious?

No, Anna Wintour does not appear to have been raised as a devout practitioner of any organized religion. She likely had some nominal Anglican exposure through her English upbringing and Catholic influences from her mother’s background. But faith does not seem to have been emphasized strongly in her childhood.

What church does Anna Wintour go to?

Anna Wintour does not regularly attend any particular church services. She has not declared any formal religious affiliation or place of worship over the years.

Is Anna Wintour Jewish?

No, Anna Wintour was not raised Jewish, nor does she currently practice Judaism. She has close relationships with many Jewish designers but does not identify as Jewish herself.

Does Anna Wintour believe in God?

Anna Wintour’s personal beliefs about God or spirituality are not publicly known. She does not talk about faith as a motivation or inspiration. So it is unclear if she believes in God in a traditional religious sense.

Is Vogue anti-religious?

No, Vogue is not considered an anti-religious magazine. Under Anna Wintour’s leadership, it has featured positive coverage of many religious topics and designers. Cardinal Ravasi published a letter in Vogue showing interfaith cooperation. So the magazine is not in opposition to religion overall.

References:

Lieberman, Allyson. Anna Wintour: The Biography. New York: Morgan James Publishing. 2020.

Moore, Booth. “Anna Wintour and the Vatican: The Vogue editor finds common ground with church leaders.” Los Angeles Times. March 17, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2021-03-17/anna-wintour-vatican-vogue-cardinal-ravasi

Newbold, Alice. “Anna Wintour’s Unexpected Interview In The Vatican Made Global Headlines – But Will It Shift Perceptions?” Vogue. March 16, 2021. https://www.vogue.co.uk/news/article/anna-wintour-interview-vatican

Shah, Khushbu. “Where Anna Wintour Really Stands with Religion.” The Daily Beast. March 17, 2021. https://www.thedailybeast.com/where-anna-wintour-really-stands-with-religion

Wintour, Anna. “Vogue Values.” Vogue. July 14, 2020. https://www.vogue.com/article/vogue-values

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