It was the first time a Vogue cover model had worn jeans It was so unlike the studied and elegant close-ups that were typical of Vogue’s covers back then, with tons of makeup and major jewelry. Michaela wasn't looking at you, and worse, she had her eyes almost closed. It looked easy, casual, a moment that had been snapped on the street, which it had been, and which was the whole point.Afterwards, in the way that these things can happen, people applied all sorts of interpretations: It was about mixing high and low, Michaela was pregnant, it was a religious statement. I had just looked at that picture and sensed the winds of change.Vogue held its position as market leader against three contenders: Elle; Harper's Bazaar, which had lured away Liz Tilberis, Wintour's most prominent deputy, and Mirabella, a magazine Rupert Murdoch created for Wintour's fired predecessor.Her most serious competitor was within the company: Tina Brown, editor of Vanity Fair and later The New Yorker.At the end of the decade, another of Wintour's inner circle left to run Harper's Bazaar.Kate Betts, seen as Wintour's likely successor, had broadened the magazine's reach by commissioning stories with a more hard-news edge, about women in politics, street culture, and the financial difficulties of some major designers.
At staff meetings, she earned Wintour's respect as the only person who publicly challenged her.In 2011, when Vogue put its entire archive online, Wintour was quoted as saying, "I just said, 'Well, let's just try this.' And off we went. On the June 1989 cover, another model was shown in wet hair, with just a bathrobe and no apparent makeup.