Wednesday, 27 May 2015
All about the Butterfly
In the words of the formidable Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour: “The people who are responsible for the fashion images are the fashion editors. They have always been our secret weapon...”
Only three years too late for the magazine's 120th birthday party celebrations, we recently (and by chance, browsing Sky Arts channel) came across the most marvellous documentary In Vogue: The Editors Eye.
Taking as its concept not just the history of Vogue's growth from 1890s Gibson Girl covers to World War II pictures (of Buchenwald) to the rise of the "Supermodel" and celebrity obsession, but the first-hand accounts of the ladies who made it such an iconic tome, it had style and attitude oozing from every pore.
The interviewers reached into the homes and memories of editors like 100-year-old Babs Simpson (don't get her going on Lady Gaga), steely Diana Vreeland protégé Polly Mellen (who recalls the famed snake-with-a-nude-Nastassja-Kinski shoot), and outrageously French Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele ("I meexed everyzeeng . . . put couture weeth ze jeans").
We got back-stories on famous shoots - the one with the Doberman that nearly sank its fangs into Christie Brinkley's ankle, or Liz Taylor nearly sinking hers into editor Jade Hobson during a clash of wills.
Insights from Miss Wintour herself as well as past and present fashion editors such as Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman, Camilla Nickerson, Vera Wang and Phyllis Posnick, fashion journalist and European editor-at-large Hamish Bowles, fashion designers including Marc Jacobs, and cover stars including Nicole Kidman and Sarah Jessica Parker made this a most absorbing appreciation of an almost unique fashion bible.
There was even a rather clever "theme tune" made up of the ladies' own words - "It's All About the Butterfly" by Lucian Piane & The Pop Tarts:
In Vogue: The Editors Eye is a camp indulgence. And here it is in full, for your delectation...
HBO web page about the documentary