Grace Mirabella, Who Brought Vogue Down to Earth, Dies at 92

The magazine added sections on art, fitness, health and beauty while keeping an emphasis on fashion. Circulation tripled during Ms. Mirabella’s tenure, to more than 1.2 million in 1988 from 400,000 in 1971.

But while she was considered the most powerful woman in fashion, she kept the focus on fashion and not herself, said Samir Husni, professor of journalism and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism. “It was an icon, a legacy,” Professor Husni said in an interview for this obituary.

She was also hardworking.

“No one,” she said, “has ever written a book about her, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’,” a reference to the novel, later made into a film, based on Ms. Mirabella’s successor to Vogue, Anna Wintour. “She wore the Prada without the devil”.

By the mid-1980s, however, the fashion pendulum was swinging again. There was new money and a new interest in the comings and goings of celebrities. Fashion was becoming more trendy and Vogue did not reflect these sensibilities.

Although it still dominated the world of fashion magazines, Vogue was facing new competition. One of its competitors, American Elle, had become an overnight force, with an emphasis on a youthful European approach.

Elle was introduced in September 1985; by the end of the following year, its paid circulation was 861,000. In June 1988, Mrs Mirabella was ousted – as abruptly as Mrs Vreeland had been before her – and replaced with Mrs Wintour, 20 years her junior. Ms Wintour was the creative director of Vogue from 1983 to 1986 before becoming director of British Vogue and then of House & Garden (which was renamed HG in 1988).

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