Naomi Campbell’s Interview With Anna Wintour Has Dropped On YouTube

The pair discuss coronavirus's impact on the fashion industry - and their history.

naomi campbell

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

With everyone stuck inside, our virtual lives have never been richer. You can take an art therapy class on Instagram, learn how to tie-dye, host a quiz night on Zoom and finally ‘complete’ Netflix.

Once you’ve skipped through those, Naomi Campbell has your next diversion up her sleeve. Her intimate series of split-screen interviews on YouTube called No Filter With Naomi is a once-in-a-lifetime look into some of the fashion industry’s biggest names and how their world has changed during lockdown. First up was one of Naomi’s long-time friends Cindy Crawford - perhaps you’ve heard of her? - followed by Marc Jacobs, Serena and Venus Williams, Adut Akech and Sharon Stone. The list goes on.

naomi campbell anna wintour
Anna Wintour and Naomi Campbell ©No Filter With Naomi

Now, in a serious mic-drop moment, Naomi’s latest interview is with the industry’s most powerful editor - Anna Wintour. The first thing to note is that Anna doesn’t remove her giant sunglasses - there are some things that even lockdown can’t change - and the second is what she’s wearing. Rather like Pope Francis, it’s really quite hard to imagine what someone Anna considers ‘off-duty’. The answer is, drumroll please, a beige jumper! And what about WFH? Aside from the fact that she’s swapped tennis for running, how does Anna’s day-to-day life look right now? ‘I’m on Zoom day-in, day-out.’ Just like the rest of us, then.

The conversation quickly turns serious as Anna discusses how the CFDA and Vogue initiative, A Common Thread, is helping the fashion industry through the coronavirus crisis. ‘When the pandemic first hit and we began to realise what a terrible effect it was going to have on the fashion industry - it’s a huge employer in this country, Naomi, and supports over 53 million jobs - we started to get calls at Vogue and at the CFDA to let us know that designers, communication officers, retailers, everyone was really really struggling,’ says Anna. They decided to repurpose the Vogue Fashion Fund, which usually supports young designers, to help those most in need. Ralph Lauren was the first to ring Anna after the announcement - and he pledged $1 million to launch A Common Thread. ‘That was just one of the most moving conversations I’ve ever had. Honestly, I burst into tears. It’s been such a stressful time and you feel so helpless and all of us really wanted to do something that could be positive.’

Anna also called for change, saying that the industry needs to reflect on its habits during the period of deep unrest. ‘I feel very strongly that when we come out at the other end, which we will do, that people’s values are really going to have shifted,’ she said. ‘I think it’s an opportunity for all of us to look at our industry and look at our lives and think about the waste and the amount of money and the consumption and, I obviously include myself in this, that we’ve all indulged in. We really need to rethink what this industry stands for.’

Following the BFC’s announcement that London Fashion Week will go digital-only in June, merging its women’s and men’s showcases together, Naomi asks about what will happen to fashion shows after coronavirus. ‘We don’t know, is the real answer. We’re all in agreement that we need to show less and we need to have more of an emphasis on sustainability. We all need to slow down and enjoy it a bit more instead of saying, ‘What’s new? What’s next?’’

The pair also discuss their working relationship. ‘You’ve been a huge part of my history with Vogue, Naomi,’ said Anna. Speaking of 1989’s September cover, where Naomi wore a sequined Anne Klein suit in fire orange on location in the Hamptons, Anna tells Naomi how she used to have to present the issues by hand to the corporate board, including the legendary Si Newhouse. ‘He said, ‘Anna’, and it wasn’t a criticism in any way, it was just a question, but he said, ‘You’re going to put an African American model on the September cover of American Vogue?’ Honestly Naomi, it never crossed my mind to think that way. I just thought this is a fantastic girl. This is the model of the moment. This is a great image. We made history together so thank you.’

Finally, we leave you with some Wintour wisdom: ‘The most important thing to remember [...] is that we need creativity. I know you were talking to Marc Jacobs the other day and I think creativity in times of crisis is such a beacon to all of us.’

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