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Why Anna Wintour reigns supreme over the fashion world

Anna Wintour

(CBS/AP) Beyond the crazy worlds of fashion, business, politics and entertainment, she's just Anna, a worthy peer to Oprah and Martha.

Pictures: Anna Wintour
Pictures: Fobres' Most Powerful Women 2010
Video: Wintour on 60 Minutes

Anna Wintour's name may not be as recognizable as Oprah Winfrey or Martha Stewart but the American Vogue Editor-in-chief is  influencing consumers about what they wear, how they shop and which celebrities  they follow or causes they support.

That's why WSJ., the glossy lifestyle magazine published by The Wall Street Journal, is featuring her on its cover with an article exploring her power and influence in the fashion industry beyond the pages of her magazine.

"She's a really powerful figure in America ... someone whose power extends beyond what she does," say the editor of WSJ, Deborah Needleman, who scored the rare profile of Wintour - and cover photograph - for its April issue.

Wintour has sustained an image of being an ice queen but those who know her say she can be loyal and even warm to those in her inner circle, which reads like a Who's Who list: Karl Lagerfield, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Harvey Weinstein, Mayor Bloomberg, Nicole Kidman, Roger Federer and Amar'e Stoudermire among them.

The cover photo was shot by Mario Testino, another Team Anna player

Friends and others dream of falling in that group don't dare say no to her, according to the article which quotes Jacobs as  saying: "If I get a request for something, there aren't two possible answers. First I get an email, then a phone call from someone at Vogue, and now I don't even bother to say no -- I know the next call is from her.

Jacobs was one of those who benefited from the fashion icon's influence. She suggested Jacob's name to Bernard Arnault, LVMH CEO, when he was looking for a designer to take over Louis Vuitton in1997.

Needleman says "it's hard to imagine that Arnault wouldn't ask her for advice for something like Dior," referring to the future of the Christian Dior brand following the firing of designer John Galliano for his alleged anti-Semitic outbursts. Dior is owned by LVMH; Galliano had gotten his position with Wintour's help.

"You have to wonder, how does one person have such a broad influence?" says Needleman, adding: "She's basically a global brand.

Wintour's biggest feature yet is the recent Fashion's Night Out, a shopping phenomenon and huge-scale retail event that debuted in 2009 in New York and last year, it spanned the globe. The sixty-one-year orld editor  persuaded stores to host lavish parties mixing celebrities and shoppers, offer deep discounts and pour free champagne, then she nudged consumers to open their wallets despite the recession.

"She basically created a holiday from scratch," Needleman says. "Who else has the power to take New York and create a holiday?"