"Unpredictable, original, imaginative, brilliant, fun" ... Anna Wintour on Alexander McQueen.

Anna Wintour ... hit out at the Syrian regime. Photo: Getty Images

Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, has disowned Bashar al-Assad's wife, Asma, about whom the magazine ran a highly complimentary article last year.

The 3200-word profile, published last March, carried the headline A rose in the desert and called Mrs Assad "the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies". It described her walking "a determined swath cut through space with a flash of red soles", a reference to her Christian Louboutin heels.

According to the New York Times the article was part of a public relations campaign in which the Syrian regime paid a US public relations firm £3200 a month to liaise between Vogue and Mrs Assad.

The article was removed from Vogue's website in the spring, and over the weekend Miss Wintour issued a statement condemning the Assad regime.

"Like many at that time, we were hopeful that the Assad regime would be open to a more progressive society," she said. "Subsequent to our interview, as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue."

The Daily Telegraph, London