Absolutely fashion: the BBC does prada?

Something that first introduced us to fashion, here at Venue, and also to the world of the industry was a little film called The September Issue. Following editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour, the film took us behind the pages to see what it was really like putting together an issue. It was a captivating look at the high-glitz, high-glamour lifestyle of Wintour, and her despotic rein over her poor stylist, Grace Coddington. The duo’s fiery relationship took centre stage in the film, as Coddington tried to exercise her creativity and Wintour pulled her back in, and for all their tempestuous bickering over models and photography shoots, what came through was a shared passion for fashion and a genuine dependence on each other to pull the magazine together.

Not to be out-done, British Vogue has also released its own behind-the-scenes documentary, Absolutely Fashion’. Alexandra Shulman, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, features front and centre. She comes off in the documentary as quite serious and well, a bit… normal. She seems like someone just trying to get on with their job. She doesn’t put up with any mess, that much is apparent as several time she casually asserts her authority, veto-ing a particular cover in favour for another.

Similar to Coddington’s role in The September Issue, there’s a cooky stylist present here in the form of Lucinda Chambers, fashion director. She comes off as a real gem in the series, her passion and creativity very much apparent.

The two-part documentary, available on the BBC iPlayer, offers an interesting look into the real business behind the magazine. But, like its predecessor The September Issue, this still feels like quite a limited view behind the curtain. Perhaps it’s the director Richard Macer’s sardonic tone and apparent dis-interest (or at least, complete lack of knowledge) for the subject that slightly lowers the impact of the series. It comes off feeling like a half-hearted parody of The Devil Wears Prada, but made for the BBC. Perhaps we’ll stick to Meryl Streep next time…


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