What I learned: Absolutely Fashion – inside British vogue Part 1

The recent Vogue documentary filmed by documentary maker Richard Macer is an extremely insightful and interesting one.

Alexandra Shulman, Editor at Vogue for 25 years

The documentary documents life at the style bible VOGUE headquarters in Central London. Macer an extremely diverse and interesting producer and director who has been responsible for many British documentaries narrates and films the entire piece. His body of work is somewhat diverse and controversial. So much so that he produced a documentary series on Jordan, to Vogue. What a dramatic leap.

Director Richard Macer and his cameras were allowed within the Vogue offices for the first time in its 100 year history as it lead up to their centenary issue marked with a gala dinner and exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. 

There are three very prominent Characters in the documentary. The main being the editor in chief, Alexandra Shulman accompanied by Lucinda Chambers and the penultimate US editor Anna Wintour. 
The documentary begins with the setting up of the exhibition at The National portrait exhibition. Richards dry sense of humor is humorable throughout. 

UK vs US Vogue 

Despite being the same brand and under the same publication umbrella – Conde Nast. US vogue and the U.K. Vogue are competition to each other. Alexandra is extremely irrated and asked multiple times by Richard Macer about the dual covers that are accidentally being launched the same month. It has never happened before whereby there has been a dramatic change of covers – this disaster is huge for Vogue. The U.K March issue coinciding with the US March issue by having the same cover star, the RnB Singer Rihanna on the cover. Immediately after the mock copy is ready for print- all of the paginated pages are thrown away to rush the Kate Moss cover to replaced the March issue
The March Cover is a poignant and important issue – 20% up year on year

Every woman should do something that they love

Alexandra Shulman is extremely frank and honest when she states that she has never relied on her looks. She stated that she had promised herself she wouldn’t be like her own mother, late to come home from work not being able to do the school run or cook the evening meal. But work had made her like her mother and she had in fact done the exact same thing. Because she simply loved her job, she has been the longest running Vogue editor spanning 25 years.

Shulman emphasized that she had recently seen a very pretty girl with her husband on a flight. She hoped that the girl was doing something positive with her life – apart from simply existing.

She emphasized that every woman should have a passion and a dream that they pursue in their life. 

The Fashion world is relentless

You have to be relevant all the time in fashion. It is very quick, your one day in and one day out and can count for nothing. Unlike music or film where your judged on your body of work. Fashion makes no allowences, your only as good as your last piece of work.

Women are a dominant force at Vogue
The office culture is reversed whereby the women are dominant and the men are the underlinks.

What Alexandra says goes

Alexandra states that she wants women to challenge her in the documentary. Yet when there is a dispute over which cover to use for there March issue the office is undecided on which Kate moss cover to use. This brings a dispute, with 9/10 people in the office voting for the Moss cover draped in a Union Jack flag. With Alexandra not wanting to see Kate’s pants and boobs, also as Chris Coleridge head of Conde Nast points out they have had ‘poor sales’ of covers featuring Union Jacks. Ultimately Alexandra’s choice of cover is printed – the contemporary Vogue cover with Kate against a taupe backdrop is selected. 

The selected Moss cover chosen by Shulman and Coledridge

There is no room for hissy fits, no time for Chips & Alexandra walks FAST

By the End of Fashion week Alexandra Shulman sees 150 catwalk shows- 10 per day. Richard Macers side by side documentation of fashion week is that Fashion week is is so fast & hectic that he cannot keep up with Alexandra to get a chip that she offered to Richard as she was running so fast. 

Fashion should be uplifting

Fashion imagery takes you elsewhere. Lucinda Chambers states that fashion is a ‘meet & drink’ to what we really do. She makes fashion seem so simple, like a wonderful film, play or exhibition. It simplifies what fashion really is. After working at Vogue for 35 years she has set a huge benchmark in that she has grown with the publication. Macer questions in the documentary and wonders who will take over these powerful roles at the publication once Chambers and Shulman are no longer in their roles.

Appealing to the Instagram Generation: Keeping the old fashion model of Vogue 

The biggest challenge Shulman faces whilst compiling content at Vogue seems to be adjusting to the role that social media now plays in marketing, advertising and communicating with their audience. Shulman states there is a constant battle to want to keep tradition at Vogue whilst keeping up with social media. Alexandra finds it challenging to keep up with the new emerging client and niche market. In doing so she fears that this could break with years of tradition as Vogue is 100 years old. Finding that happy medium seems to be a constant challenge throughout. She doesn’t know the audience. This is the biggest task. 

Chanel has its very own air hostesses

Macer attends the Chanel show based on a Chanel airport. There are Chanel check- in desks. He asks where can he fly to? She asks where would you like to go? 

Anna wintour has a snapchat account
As well as placing controversial Non Vogue figures Kim and Kanye on the cover of Vogue. Anna wintour is also an owner of a snapchat account. 

Kate Moss is epic
Macer is a fly on the wall for a shoot with Kate Moss. Moss is wearing all vintage for the shoot – all pieces from the 1970’s worn by Mick Jagger. Moss is shy and doesn’t like interviews. It is Somewhat credible and miraculous how Moss has curated this incredible career by just shooting pictures. After she runs away from Macer stating that “I don’t like interviews”, he ponders around the stately home the shoot is taking place in before a woman comes up to him and states – 15 minutes is up “It’s time for you to leave” 

Part 2 is equally compelling 🙂 

Vogue Documentry:



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