If you want insight into why the fashion market works the way it does – especially in the US – this is the movie to watch. It gives portraits of Vogue editors Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington and Andre’ Leon Talley, and reveals the deeply commercial motivations behind the magazine – and much about how creativity is actively suppressed there.
The only one who comes off well is Coddington, who is clearly creative, committed to her job, and stuck with Wintour. Anna Wintour, it becomes clear between the lines, is the beneficiary of nepotism in the extreme – she did not get to her position with talent, her family knows it, and she knows it. As for Talley, he seems to me to be really insecure. Anyone who credits Wintour with “saving his life” because she “told him to diet” needs education about the difference a doctor who does necessary blood and thyroid tests … and Anna Wintour. It’s great that he exercises, but his under-layer of low self-esteem makes me weep. Someone so unhappy with who he is will always see the world as a beauty famine.
While Wintour drains energy just being on the screen, there’s a wonderful, giving energy about almost everyone who appears in the film – especially Coddington. While it may be decades more before Wintour relinquishes American Vogue and someone who does NOT hold the American fashion market in contempt takes over, we have some hope.
In an especially fabulous scene, extra love to Coddington for calling her editor and ordering that a picture of the documentarian NOT be retouched. “Not everyone is perfect in this world,” she says. “It’s enough that models are.”
This is a great documentary, easy to digest but still revealing quite a lot. It certainly makes me think about how I’d run my own (at this point imaginary) fashion magazine and business.