If you needed further proof that fashion editors have become celebrities in their own right, look no further than the recent spate of films, books, and articles about these architects of fantasy. It all began in 2009 with the documentary The September Issue. The film lifted the curtain on the politics, the drama, and the sheer hard work behind the scenes at Vogue. Few people, least of all the editors themselves, could have predicted the rabid interest that the film would tap into. It was a moment in the cultural zeitgeist where a documentary on the British-accented, eye-rolling despots of chic was precisely the anti-Kardashian panacea we needed. Not to mention the fact that the opaqueness and legend that surrounds Vogue has invited gossip for decades. In any case, after that film, people decided that the soon-to-be air-brushed actress on the cover was démodé, but what about the harangued-looking woman smoking behind the studio lights? More of her, please.
Now, to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Vogue, the magazine has obliged and put these female fashion editors front and center to talk about their processes, their vision, and their legendary Vogue photos in a new film entitled In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye. This being for Vogue by Vogue, the documentary is about as glossy as the photos. Its saving grace is that the editors are truly fantastic subjects, which gives gravitas to a film that risks being an extended puff piece.
The breakout star of The September Issue, creative director Grace Coddington’s demure charm is once again on display. Asked if she sees herself as a metaphor for the transforming power of fashion, she answers simply, “No. Sorry.” Polly Mellen waxes nostalgic about the fantasy and excess of the 60’s, while Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele brings French attitude by ze bucketload. The film chugs along thanks to commentary by the sparklingly witty Hamish Bowles, Alber Elbaz, Vera Wang (Polly Mellen’s ex-assistant with a slight grudge!) as well as lots of bon-mots from Anna Wintour. Those expecting schadenfreude and dirty secrets will be disappointed, but for the fash-pack who truly love Vogue, it’s a wonderful peek behind the pages.