Anna Wintour, Behind The Shades

60 Minutes' Morley Safer Interviews Vogue's Editor In Her First Lengthy U.S. TV Profile

This story was first published on May 17, 2009. It was updated on Sept. 17, 2009.

She is said to be the most powerful woman in fashion and she does nothing to dispel that belief. Her name is Anna Wintour, a name that strikes terror in some, loathing in others, and transforms yet others into obsequious toadies.

It should also be said she commands a loyal band of friends and admirers. Nevertheless, she was the inspiration for the novel and movie "The Devil Wears Prada."

For 21 years, this divorced mother of two has been editor of Vogue, the last word in sophisticated fashion and fantasy.

The aura of mystery that surrounds the 59-year-old Wintour is palpable. She is a paparazzi and gossip column magnet. Every twitch, every frown, every suppressed smile is recorded.

She's been portrayed as Darth Vader in a frock, or less harshly, as "Nuclear Wintour." Or is she really just peaches and cream, with a touch of arsenic?

Watch exclusive videos and outtakes of Morley Safer's interview with Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

"The blurb on your unauthorized biography reads 'She's ambitious, driven, needy, a perfectionist. An inside look at the competitive bitch-eat-bitch world of fashion' Accurate?" 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer asked Wintour.

"Well, I am very driven by what I do. I am certainly very competitive. What else? Am I needy?" she replied. "I'm probably very needy, yes. I'm, a bitch…."

"Perfectionist?" Safer asked.

"Perfectionist?" she asked.

"Well, let's try bitch first," Safer said.

"Well, I hope I'm not. I try not to be. But I like people who represent the best of what they do and if that turns you into a perfectionist than maybe I am," she replied.

High above Times Square, Anna Wintour oversees a small army of girls - coiffed, skinny, beautiful and running scared - the worker bees whose job it is to inspire women to dream.

The pages of Vogue conjure up a never-never land of beauty, of the sweet life. The unattainable comes to glossy life. Under Wintour's direction, Vogue has been hugely successful.

"Vogue is the best of everything that fashion can offer, and I think we point the way. We are, you know, a glamorous girlfriend," she told Safer.

But the glamorous girlfriend, like Vogue readers, is facing leaner times: "I do wanna make the point that September really has to be about value. But we don't want to give up completely the dream and the fantasy but I also feel like we need to have a sense of being more grounded," she told her staff during an editorial meeting.

Wintour is involved in every detail of the magazine: the clothes, editing the pictures and articles. She is decisive, impatient and bears a look that says "I'm the boss, and you're boring."

"Should I do the faces of the moment because that's what we have on the cover or should I just still keep thinking?" one editor asked her, presenting a spread.

"Keep thinking," Wintour curtly replied.

"An editor in the final analysis is a kind of the dictator - a magazine is not a democracy?" Safer asked.

"It's a group of people coming together and presenting ideas from which I pick what I think is the best mix for each particular issue but in the end the final decision has to be mine," she explained.