Grace Mirabella (born June 10, 1930) is a former editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. She started working at Vogue in the 1950s and served as editor in chief between 1971 and 1988. Her personal publication, Mirabella, was created in 1989 and lasted until 2000 with the financial support of Rupert Murdoch.
Grace Mirabella was born in Newark, New Jersey, to parents of Italian descent. With a gambling addict for a father and a feminist mother whose ideology sharpened Mirabella's views on life, Mirabella took her strength and endurance to the fashion world, where she saw fashion as a way to show evidence that a woman can rise to power. She graduated from Skidmore College in June 1950, majoring in economics. She married Dr. William Cahan in November 1976 and took on a personal venture with financial assistance from Rupert Murdoch.
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Mirabella began her career by working in a family friend's sportswear shop. After college, Mirabella held several junior positions in the retail business, including at Macy's as an executive trainee and Saks Fifth Avenue as an assistant to the sales promotion manager. In the early 1950s, Mirabella was hired as an assistant at Vogue, where she was rapidly promoted. During most of the 1960s, she held the position as the associate editor in chief under Diana Vreeland. Eventually, in 1971, Mirabella was promoted to editor in chief.
When Mirabella arrived, Vogue received a face lift; the laid-back feel of the 1970s directed her style, and she added a more casual feel that contrasted with the way the magazine had been defined in its earlier years. Since the United States was in a recession in the 1970s, Mirabella used more editorials that addressed affordable yet stylish clothing for women. Mirabella was noted for bringing in and showcasing designs from Halston, Saint Laurent, Geoffrey Beene, and Ralph Lauren. During her tenure at Vogue, she increased revenue to $79.5 million and grew the magazine's circulation to 1.2 million.
Conde Nast owner Si Newhouse replaced Mirabella with current editor in chief Anna Wintour in 1988. According to Newhouse biographer Carol Felsenthal, nobody personally told Mirabella about her firing - she found out about it through the news. There were numerous reasons as to why Newhouse fired Mirabella. However, the main one that circulated and was later discussed in her autobiography, In and Out of Vogue, was that Newhouse wanted to go with a younger looking woman that trusted no one but Newhouse himself.
In the 1990s, she published her own magazine, Mirabella, with the financial assistance of Rupert Murdoch. Mirabella was targeted at women in their 30s and 40s, with more focus on lifestyle advice and casual wear. Cover and editorial models were typically lesser-known and had more average proportions. Mirabella had 400,000 readers at its start - its reputation boosted by Mirabella's own pedigree as former editor at Vogue - but in subsequent years readership and revenue fell. Mirabella folded in 2000, directly following the release of O, The Oprah Magazine.
During Grace Mirabella's term as editor in chief of Vogue, the circulation increased from 400,000 copies to 1.2 million. The advertising revenues at the time of her dismissal from Vogue was $79.5 million, to be compared to that of Elle of $39 million.
Her autobiography, In and Out of Vogue, gave insight into her relationships with the various people that she worked with such as Diana Vreeland, Andy Warhol, and Si Newhouse. Fashion photographer Helmut Newton published several notable editorials in the magazine from 1971 to the end of Mirabella's leadership. Further, Richard Avedon photographed most of the covers and other photographers, such as Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, Albert Watson, Denis Piel and Chris von Wangenheim published several examples of their early work in her editions.
- "Fall of Grace", New York Magazine via Google Books; accessed January 30, 2013.
- In and out of Vogue, Grace Mirabella, Doubleday, 1995; ISBN 0-385-42613-5.
- "Grace Under Pressure". New York Times. September 24, 1995. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
- Borrelli, Laird O'Shea (1997). "Dressing Up and Talking About It: Fashion Writing in Vogue from 1968 to 1993". Fashion Theory 1 (3): 247–59.
- Felsenthal, Carol. Citizen Newhouse: Portrait of a Media Merchant, Seven Stories Press, 1998.
- Cronin, M. “A Fresh Take on Fashion.” Time 137, no. 13 (1991): page 69
- In and out of Vogue, ibid.
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