February 07, 2014 by Courtney Denton
“The September Issue” (2009)
R. J. Cutler was given unprecedented access to document the assemblage of Vogue’s annual September issue through the eyes of Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. This documentary goes beyond the designer clothing and celebrity cover girls to highlight the creative and authoritative forces who will into being each issue of one of the most influential fashion publications. The film’s breakout star and the fashion industry’s unsung hero, Creative Director Grace Coddington, fights to save her creative vision from the discerning wrath of the editor-in-chief. As one would expect, the production process is not always harmonious, but what results is the most instrumental issue of the year. The highlight of the film is when Grace recruits Bob, a cameraman, to be featured in one of her photo shoots.
“The Tents” (2012)
“The circus of fashion week” was not always a circus. The 2012 documentary “The Tents” follows New York Fashion Week in the season before it moved to its most recent home in Lincoln Center. Before taking up residency in Bryant Park, runway shows took place in clubs or abandoned spaces in SoHo. Apparently a piece of plaster once fell on Suzy Menkes’ head during a Michael Kors show. Attendance at what was called “market week” was reserved for the most elite editors and buyers. Donna Karen, Isaac Mizrahi, Betsey Johnson, Fern Mallis and Diane von Furstenberg recount their personal experiences as fashion week came to be the industry mecca it is today
“Isaac Mizrahi is a fashion designer. He has just shown his spring 1994 collection.” The film’s director, Douglas Keeve, who at the time was Mizrahi’s lover, intimately captures the designer’s creative process, from the time he reads a less-than-glowing review of his latest runway show to the moment he is overcome with inspiration by way of Eskimos and fur pants. The designer’s highs and lows, coupled with his irrepressible drive, propel this documentary forward to its ultimately triumphant end.
“In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye” (2012)
In the manner of a Vogue devotee’s dream, “The Editor’s Eye” highlights the creative directors, both past and present, who have made Vogue the storied publication it is today. Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Polly Allen Mellen, Phyllis Posnick and Camilla Nickerson are only a few from the editorial tour-de-force who have brought or bring a uniquely distinctive point of view. American designer Vera Wang makes a cameo to recount her stressful stint as Mellen’s assistant; Coddington recalls how Marc Jacobs arrived at her Alice in Wonderland shoot with a broken finger; and Cerf de Dudzeele throws some pillows around. “It’s there to report on the world at large,” Nickerson said about the role of a fashion editor. “You hope that it poses a question.”
“Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” (2012)
Diana Vreeland spent 25 years as the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar before she took the same position at American Vogue. This is the woman who propelled icons such as Twiggy and Jacqueline Onassis to fame. Vreeland was born in Paris during the Belle Epoque and was a flapper in the ‘20s. She brought with her a lifetime of worldly experiences rather than a formal education, which made her point of view distinctly adventurous. Vreeland also had a reputation for being an exceptionally demanding boss, and she sent more than a few of her assistants away in tears. Filled with archival photos and old film clips, this documentary elaborates on the social and contextual influences of the storied editor.