You Should Be Watching: The Editorial Eye


This September we focus on a trio of documentaries which introduce us to the dynamic personalities that have controlled the look of glossy fashion magazines for several decades. These films also explore the powerful influence that the fashion editor has on the development of popular styles, fashion photography, fashion designers’ careers and the fashion industry itself. As you will see, a no-nonsense business attitude, a discerning eye, and a larger than life persona are the key to success in the editorial business.

Note: Each film title below is linked to a separate webpage with viewing options.

The September Issue
The film that made Anna Wintour a household name.

The September Issue revolves around the production of Vogue’s monumental 2007 Fall-Fashion issue. Frigid interviews and interactions with Wintour are contrast against the romantic under-dog pining of fashion editor Grace Coddington. It is Ms. Coddington who steals the show.

The film follows Wintour as she weighs in on designers’ new collections and meets with department store executives. While fashion editors are followed, struggling to capture the perfect layout for Wintour.

The guilty pleasure of watching The September Issue (think The Devil Wears Prada) is balanced by rare and insightful glimpses into the inner workings of the fashion industry.

In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye
September Issue: Part Two

This time, HBO’s heartwarming documentary veers away from focusing on editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, focusing instead on the innovative team of fashion editors that have shaped the look of Vogue (and possibly fashion in general) for the last fifty years.

Here editor’s like Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman, and Polly Mellen shine, when discussing the ideas behind some their most memorable photo shoots. Often these images are immediately recognizable, reminders of important moments in recent fashion history.

Through these introductions we are given an insightful history of Vogue accompanied by an amazing array of archival images. Utilizing Vogue covers, the social factors that influenced the rise of the Supermodel and the return of the celebrity personality are discussed.

In Vogue is a short feel-good yet thought-provoking documentary for fashion historians.


Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

Retracing Diana Vreeland’s beginnings from columnist to premier fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, to ushering in the modern era of exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, the life of (or the legend of) the flamboyant fashion editor is celebrated in this glitzy 2012 documentary. Interviews with fashion photographers, models, and fashion designers are interspersed with filmed and recreated dialogue with Vreeland, revealing the highly influential and at times outlandish nature of Vreeland’s life.

For fashion historians, the true value of The Eye Has to Travel lies in the numerous archival fashion photographs and layouts which are used to illustrate the development of Vreeland’s career. In addition, an insightful early history of The Costume Institute is provided towards the end of the film, when Vreeland takes over as a Special Consultant in 1973. Vreeland’s historical accuracy and conservation methods while at the MET are questionable, however they do bring to our attention important topics to consider when exhibiting costume objects.

One to watch: Mademoiselle C
Just out, in limited release, late this month. Mademoiselle C follows Carine Roitfeld, former editor of French Vogue, as she attempts to start a new magazine CR Fashion Book. Check back next month for an update.

Image Credits:
Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour 2010 – Bryan Bedder/Getty Images North America
Diana Vreeland – Interview Magazine Cover- December 1980

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