If the success of The September Issue has taught us anything, it’s that people can’t get enough of Vogue. And it’s not so much the magazine itself that folks seem to have an endless hunger for, but the mystery and intrigue that surrounds it. Anna Wintour and her shades, the beautiful stoic Vogue editors–anything that gives Vogue-o-philes a glimpse at what goes down behind-the-scenes, what the people who work there are really like, is gobbled up. (See: The frenzied interest in Grace Coddington’s memoirs, which wouldn’t have been published if it weren’t for her star turn in The September Issue.)
So what better way to celebrate Vogue’s 120th, than with another documentary–another look at how the sausages get made at the fashion bible.
In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye premieres on HBO on Thursday, December 6, and serves as a companion to the coffee table book of the same name. But don’t expect The September Issue: Part 2. “We can’t go there,” directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, who have worked on everything from The RuPaul Show to a documentary about furries, told us, “because The September Issue is such a brilliant film.”
What you’ll get instead is an intimate look at the editors who make the pictures at Vogue happen, done in traditional documentary format, spliced with images of vintage Vogue editorial and covers. There are also interviews with Vogue legends like Babs Simpson, Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman, Phyllis Posnick, Jade Hobson, Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele, Polly Mellen, Camilla Nickerson and, of course, Anna Wintour, about their most memorable shoots. Linda Evangelista (“Please, no supermodel questions,” she says), Vera Wang (Polly Mellen’s assistant at Vogue in 1971), and Sarah Jessica Parker also make charming cameos.
The Vogue editors past and present who star in this new doc are all formidable characters, though some pop more than others. Mellen calls herself the “spoiled brat of the fashion world” and Vera Wang doesn’t sugarcoat her experience working for her, describing it as “Brutal, just brutal, absolutely brutal.” Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele hilariously art directs her own shoot while peppering her barely comprehensible Frenglish with many “J’ADOREs!” Another moment that’s sure to delight is 99-year-old Babs Simpson’s reaction to Vogue’s latest Gaga-covered September issue: “Oh, well it’s just she looks so ugly, is it a boy or a girl?” she asked.
We hopped on the phone with the directors, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, to ask them what it was like to work with these Vogue legends.