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When Rachel Zoe, go-to stylist for Hollywood starlets, recently claimed that she was more influential than editrix extraordinaire, Anna Wintour (aka the inspiration for “The Devil Wears Prada), I covered my eyes and shuddered, knowing that vengeance from the fashion deity would be certain and swift. Before Zoe could piece together another boho chic ensemble for one of her 20-something clientele, the waifish stylist was dropped by her long-time agency without need for explanation.

Not many people would choose to offend Anna Wintour , who is credited for reigning over American Vogue for close to two decades, and for transforming it from a women’s lifestyle magazine into a must-have monthly bible for the fashion elite. Always spotted front and center at the shows of the world’s leading designers, adorned with her signature short banged bob and darkly tinted sunglasses, “Nuclear Wintour, is not just a style icon, she is arguably, the most influential and the most feared figure in fashion today.

Wintour’s frosty demeanor and infamous treatment of the people who work for her (a la Miranda Priestly) coupled with her cutting-edge aesthetic and business savvy have made the famed editor extremely successful and frighteningly powerful. When Anna Wintour speaks, everyone listens and follows if, for no other reason, because they are scared not to. Designers, retailers, celebrities and style-seekers linger on her every word as if it was gospel.

The editrix’s vision has not only defined what is contained in the glossy pages of American Vogue, but ultimately has dictated the direction of fashion, down to the individual career paths of aspiring designers. In fact, it was Wintour who once upon a time, was the driving force in finding John Galliano a financial backer for his first collection in Paris. And it was she who took Marc Jacobs under her umbrella and propelled him and his label to become the design house that it is now.

Although there has been criticism of Wintour’s tendency to bully others using support from her magazine as leverage, her followers truly believe that she is a woman on a mission, acting only in the name of fashion and not for any selfish reasons. Regardless of her questionable reputation, Wintour’s relentless devotion to the world of fashion and her impact on the industry over the past 20 years is palpable and undeniable.

Needless to say, not many would be capable of filling Wintour’s sizeable stilettos once she decides to step away from the helm, not even those who claim to have already done so (ahem, Miss Zoe). Not to sound cliche because of the movie, but perhaps the woman who is already in line for the crown, and who has her own closet full of Manolo Blahniks and Louboutins to prove it, would be Wintour’s equally fabulous, but edgier counterpart in Paris, editor-in-chief of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld.

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