The magazine added sections on art, fitness, health and beauty, while maintaining an emphasis on fashion. Circulation tripled during Ms. Mirabella’s tenure, from 400,000 in 1971 to over 1.2 million in 1988.
But even though she was considered the most powerful woman in fashion, she kept her focus on fashion and not on herself, says Samir Husni, a journalism professor and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism. “She was an icon, a legacy,” Professor Husni said in an interview for this obituary.
She was also hard at work.
“No one,” he said, “has ever written a book about her, ‘The Devil Wears Prada,'” a reference to the novel, which was later made into a movie, based on Anna Wintour, Mrs. Mirabella’s successor to Vogue. “She wore the Prada without the devil.”
By the mid-1980s, however, the fashion pendulum had swung again. There was new money and a new interest in the comings and goings of celebrities. Fashion became more and more trendy and Vogue did not reflect these sensibilities.
While it still dominated the world of fashion magazines, Vogue faced new competition. One of its competitors, American Elle, had become a force almost overnight, focusing on a youthful European approach.
Elle was introduced in September 1985; by the end of the following year, the paid circulation was 861,000. In June 1988, Mrs. Mirabella was expelled – as abruptly as Mrs. Vreeland had been before her – and replaced by Mrs. Wintour, 20 years her junior. Ms Wintour was Creative Director at Vogue from 1983 to 1986 before becoming editor of British Vogue and then of House & Garden (which was renamed HG in 1988).