Could Anna Wintour pick Chioma Nnadi to take over as new Vogue editor? ‘Shy’ Londoner who learned about style from her Nigerian father ‘who only wore suits but took off his tie at weekends’ could take reins from Edward Enninful
The British-born boss of Vogue’s US website is rumoured to have been handpicked to be the next editor of the British fashion magazine by Dame Anna Wintour, who appears to be considering a more bashful appointment after Edward Enninful.
The all-powerful Ms Wintour highly rates New York-based Londoner Chioma Nnadi as she looks to replace her former protégé Mr Enninful who leaves in early 2024.
Enninful made history when he was appointed Vogue’s first Black editor-in-chief in 2017, becoming a huge name in fashion in his own right as well as using Vogue to champion black, ethnic minority and transgender models.
But rumours of a rift between them, denied by Vogue, have been rife for years amid claims he was plotting to topple Wintour. Two months ago Edward announced he was leaving Vogue in early 2024, creating waves in the fashion world ever since, with one insider telling the Mail on Sunday: ‘He’s no match for her.’
The Times reports that the favourite to replace him is journalist Ms Ndadi, who would be known as head of editorial content rather than editor-in-chief. MailOnline has asked Vogue to comment.
Chioma is described as low-key, nuanced and even ‘shy’ by colleagues – in many ways the polar opposite of Enninful, who has an army of celebrity friends with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah Winfrey and the Duchess of Sussex on speed dial.
Chioma Nnadi, pictured in New York last year, is being tipped to replace Edward Enninful running British Vogue
Ms Ndadi is described as low-key, nuanced and even ‘shy’ by colleagues working under Mr Enninful
Edwards Enninful with Jennifer Lopez and Anna Wintour at the Coach Runway Show in New York last week. Rumours of a rift with her protégé have been denied, but Mr Enninful announced in July that he was leaving Vogue
Baby Chioma held by her Swiss-German mother and Nigerian father in London
Ms Ndadi says her father inspired her love of fasion, still wearing some of his vintage items he refused to throw away
Enninful was born in poverty-stricken Ghana before his eventual introduction to working class Britain and gradual ascension to the highest rung on the editorial ladder at Vogue and an estimated £1milllion-a-year salary.
London-born Ms Ndadi, whose father is Nigerian and mother Swiss-German, is known as the ‘nicest person at Vogue’.
One colleague told The Times: ‘Chioma is a great choice. She is serious and clever and really knows her stuff. She doesn’t suffer fools’.
‘Chioma isn’t the terrifying fashion editor of old,’ another Condé Nast insider said. ‘She’s quite shy one-on-one, and very calm. She’s one of those people that pauses before she answers a question.’
While a veteran fashion PR said: ‘Off the record, [Nnadi] is the nicest person I’ve ever dealt with at Vogue.’
Ms Nnadi will be a popular replacement for Enninful, whose appointment prompted a mass exodus of staff, including baronet’s daughter and deputy editor Emily Sheffield, the sister of Samantha Cameron.
No expense was spared to launch his editorship, which was done via several glitzy events and under the auspices of Matthew Freud, the PR supremo who spin-doctored New Labour’s rise to power.
Chioma will also be markedly cheaper than her predecessor, earning substantially less than Enninful’s salary estimated at between £500,000 and £1million.
Nnadi, who is rumoured to be single, lives with a flatmate in New York but is said to be happy to relocate to London to be closer to her family.
Her career began in the capital on the Evening Standard before moving to the US around 15 years ago to work for urban magazine Trace. She then joined Vogue, and currently runs its digital arm, vogue.com.
Chioma credits her dad for igniting her passion for fashion – and says she still wears his vintage clothes now. She wrote recently: ‘As a child, I only ever remember my dad wearing suits though he wore them without a tie when he wasn’t working his government job on the weekend.
‘His suits and button-down shirts still occupied the biggest closet in our modest three-bedroom apartment, even when there were eight or nine of us living there—cousins, aunties, uncles, and other extended family from Nigeria.
‘Never one to throw anything away, my dad kept his clothes for years and years, even when they were worn to shreds, something I know that still drives my mother up the wall. It was, however, a boon to me as a teenager to discover this Narnia of vintage men’s fashion in my own home: weather-worn leather jackets and fraying indigo-dyed dashikis that I still wear to this day. Where my mother’s fantastic ’60s minidresses were always too short in the leg and or too generous in the bust, his slimly-cut menswear fit me like a glove’.
Editor-In-Chief of British Vogue Edward Enninful attends the opening of the VOGUE World Newsstand at Selfridges today
According to sources who spoke to The Mail on Sunday, Wintour’s much-trumpeted return to London is just one of several clear signs that British Vogue’s editor, Edward Enninful, has lost his power struggle with the woman he had hoped to eventually replace
Vogue’s all-powerful editor-in-chief, Dame Anna Wintour, pictured with actress Florence Pugh
Her mixed-race and multi-cultural background makes her stand out in the world of fashion, she has said.
Speaking at the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2018 she claimed: ‘Too often I look around . . . fashion week and I’m one of a handful of black and brown faces. Black creatives are underrepresented at every level . . . Racism is a systemic problem’.
Enninful, 51, told magazine staff in June that he will be taking on a new global role at the publisher Conde Nast. He will leave in February when the March 2024 issue of Vogue is released.
Mr Enninful made radical changes to British Vogue in the past six years. He featured its first transgender cover model, actress Laverne Cox, and its first solo male cover star – Oscar-nominated actor Timothee Chalamet.
As the first male, black, gay editor in the magazine’s then 125-year history, he set about transforming it with gusto, increasing the number of black and ethnic minority models on its pages and championing LGBT voices.
In May, he included five disabled stars in an edition also produced in Braille. This month’s bumper issue is perhaps the most controversial, not just because of the heavily photoshopped 50-something supermodels – Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford – who appear on the cover, but because of Enninful’s decision to include transgender cyclist Emily Bridges in the style bible’s annual ‘Vogue 25’ list of ‘powerhouse women’, while leaving out some of this year’s most successful female athletes.
Original supermodels Cindy Crawford, 57, Linda Evangelista, 58, Naomi Campbell, 53, and Christy Turlington, 54, grace the cover of Vogue’s September issue – but Enninful came under fire for the heavily photoshopped images
Vogue magazine also sparked a backlash after the only sportswoman named on its of list of the top 25 ‘powerhouse’ women was transgender cyclist Emily Bridges
One critic said of his exit: ‘He has been very expensive for the company. His Vogue started off with Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin writing, but by the second issue it was just pictures. If Alex’s [Shulman] Vogue was Boden catalogue, his was Hello! magazine: Naomi Campbell and Emma Weymouth drinking champagne felt even more cliquey.’
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