In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye – 2012 HBO Documentary

This HBO Documentary discusses the work of Vogue’s Editors from 1945 – 2012


Grace Coddington, whose work has a romantic edginess, is celebrated as Vogue’s creative genius.



Her work is described as having something magical about it.

 A Shot of Scotch

Wintour: “I don’t think anyone but Grace can create the kind of photography essays that we do.”

Grace Coddington: “It was my idea to do Alice in Wonderland.  You know all of those fairy stories are quite dark and actually, they are all full of drugs and darkness and things like this. So, they are interesting to illustrate because it is not just about what’s Walt Disney sweet.   It was Anna’s idea to cast all the designers as characters.”

“In 2003 I did a shoot with Annie Leibovitz that was one of the most ambitious of my career. It was based on Alice in Wonderland and featured Natalia Vodianova wearing a series of blue dresses made especially for her, with a view to having the pictures resemble John Tenniel’s original drawings for Lewis Carroll’s book.


Natalia wears Helmut Lang


Natalia Vodianova, Stephen Jones [Mad Hatter], Christian LaCroix [March Hare].


Natalia Vodianova and Tom Ford as the White Rabbit for Yves Saint Laurent


Natalia Vodianova and Marc Jacobs as the Smoking Caterpillar for Marc Jacobs [Creative Director Louis Vuitton]

Marc Jacobs:  “Fashion is such a fairy tale and such a fantasy.  And it is about metamorphosis and changing yourself and playing a part that you want people to see.”


Natalia Vodianova and John Galliano as the Red Queen for Dior Haute Couture


Natalia Vodianova and Viktor and Rolf as Tweedledum and Tweedledee

“We cast an array of designers to play the characters: Christian Lacroix was the March Hare, Tom Ford the White Rabbit, Marc Jacobs the Caterpillar, Stephen Jones the Mad Hatter, John Galliano the Red Queen, Viktor and Rolf Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and so forth.

“It was exhausting, exhilarating, and brought together so many things I loved, from the designers to the model to the location, a château just outside Paris. When it was over, the chef, Arnaud, made us a divine picnic laid out on a big linen tablecloth. We sprawled out on the lawn as the sun went down, drinking wonderful wine and eating delicious barbecue, homemade cheeses, macaroons . . . .

“It was one of those magical evenings that you knew—as you experienced it—you would never forget.” Grace Coddington in Vogue


Natalia Vodianova and Donatella Versace [as the Gryphon] with Rupert Everett as the Mock Turtle for Atelier Versace


Natalia Vodianova and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Haute Couture


Natalia Vodianova and Jean Paul Gaultier as the Cheshire Cat for Jean Paul Gaultier

Natalia Vodianova and Nicolas Ghesquiére for Balenciaga.

 Natalia is stepping through the mirror.  When it was time to make this photograph, the original dress had the ruffles on the front; therefore, the ruffles would not have been seen.  Within minutes, Ghesquiére took the dress apart and reassembled it with the ruffles on the back.

Anna Wintour:  “Well, it’s the mishaps that make it fun…that’s what brings you the surprise.”


Natalia Vodianova and Olivier Theyskens as Lewis Carroll

Grace Coddington: “We shot it with Natalia who is really a favourite model of mine.”

Natalia: “I’m a big, big fan of Grace.  Just even watching her work is fascinating.”

Anna Wintour: “It’s really like storyboarding a film.  Grace looked at every possible book and different drawings of Alice in Wonderland.”

Natalia: “Grace sent me the book before I did the shoot.  It took months of preparation and research.”



1892 – First issue of Vogue

Anna Wintour:  “Back when the magazine first began, it was very much a social magazine, focusing on the women and society.”

1893Halloweenvogue-1893 1893

When Conde Nast bought Vogue in 1909, the focus shifted to women’s fashion.


1909December 1909 December Issue

 July 1909

This is when photography was first used in the magazine.

1910August 1910 August


July 1932 – First Color Photography


1941 is described as the era of the strong-shouldered suits


1941 May

1941 Lee Miller Becomes Vogue’s War Correspondent


Why The Fearless Vogue Model, War Correspondent, and Muse Lee Miller is Our Fall Style Inspiration August 15, 2014

“For all of the bright and burning hordes of It-girl swans, grande dames, and lady legends of the twentieth century, few stand out quite like Lee Miller. And frankly, that’s probably because she wasn’t that at all. Whether as a war correspondent, shooting the atrocities of World War II (“Naturally I took pictures,” Miller reportedly said to Ona Munson in 1946. “What’s a girl supposed to do when a battle lands in her lap?”) a model for Vogue, a portrait photographer, or Surrealist muse to the likes of Man Ray, Pablo Picasso,and Jean Cocteau, Miller led one of those extraordinary lives that just doesn’t seem quite feasible in the here and now. It’s too big, for one. (Who would be our Man Ray, for another.)

1930 – Man Ray


1930 – Man Ray Flying Head

Man Ray and Lee Miller were leaders of the Surrealist movement


An artist herself, Lee Miller was also a companion to Picasso

“But let’s back up. The lady in question was something of a bolter before she became everything else—she fled her upbringing in Poughkeepsie and modeled for Condé Nast in Manhattan, posing for Edward Steichen and swirling through parties with the likes of Josephine Baker, Cecil Beaton and Fred Astaire, Dorothy Parker and Charlie Chaplin. She’d later leave that in the dust for Paris, Man Ray (she arrived unannounced and declared herself his new student, though she became his muse, subject, and lover, too), and the technique of solarization, which they developed in tandem. She befriended Cocteau and Paul Éluard, starring in the former’s film “The Blood of a Poet” (and driving Man Ray into a jealous rage), and picked up a camera; one of her photographs was said to be René Magritte’s inspiration for his 1938 painting “Le Baiser.”

Lee Miller Photograph of Buchenwald

From England, she began work as a Vogue war correspondent and was unflinching in her coverage, perhaps most famously for the portrait of her bathing in Hitler’s abandoned Munich apartment, but also publishing images from the concentration camps. She would later leave that career to raise a family in East Sussex, England, and her son would have no idea of the life that came before until after her death. (He has since published a book, The Lives of Lee Miller.)



“So maybe it’s not so strictly about fashion, after all; there’s still lots of inspiration to be had here, even beyond the fact that the woman looked good in everything she wore while doing everything she did. In the end it comes down to a certain type of inherent style—a lightness with sartorial sense, if not necessarily with subject matter—a recognition of the utility of certain garments; wide-collared shirts, drop-waist dresses, army fatigues; the brilliance that shines through when you have more serious things on your mind than what you’re wearing. A certain fearlessness to adopt into our own lives (and wardrobes). Somehow it all feels very fall 2014, or at least what we always hope fall to be, when we reinvent ourselves with the coming season: We could do a lot worse than to channel Lee Miller.”

 1945 June Celebration of V-E Day Cover

1951feb2The world was a different place after the war.  It was the era of the hourglass figure.

 1951 September


Susan Train in 1957

Susan Train becomes a fashion editor in Vogue Paris


Susan Train in 2012 Documentary


Susan Train discusses an early photo shoot and how she tied a thread to a scarf and followed a model up steps to make her Balenciaga scarf appear to be fluttering in the breeze.


1963 was the era of the Pillbox Hat – Jackie Kennedy

 Audrey Hepburn

 1963 November

 1963 November

 July 1963

 In 1963, Diana Vreeland became Editor in Chief of Vogue




1965 with Cecil Beaton


1973 – Curating the World of Balenciaga

1975jerryhall Jerry Hall 1972 Cover


1978 with Jerry Hall





1975 with Andy Warhol


1975 at the Costume Institute


1976 at the Costume Institute


1979 in her New York apartment






1982 with Audrey Hepburn


1985 with Yves Saint-Laurent


1985 – In her apartment

“I have the reputation of not being easy,  but naturally I expect someone to work as hard as I do.  Anyone who thinks otherwise must be insane.” – Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland (1903 – 1989)

“Diana Dalziel was born in Paris – she latter claimed that in life, ‘the first thing to do my love is to arrange to be born in Paris’ – to an English father and an American mother and led a wealthy existence surrounded by an intellectual and artistic environment. Settled in New York, she was remarked by Carmel Snow, the Harper’s Bazaar editor, who, fascinated by her sense of style, engaged her as a fashion editor and the witty author of the Why Don’t You column that urged American housewives to opt for a wildly inventive and daring life: ‘Why don’t you wash your blond child’s hair in dead champagne, as they do in France?’ In 1957, she became the magazine’s editor in chief before moving to its rival, Vogue, in 1962 where she imagined fantasy-like spreads and brought the attention on unconventional beauties such as Twiggy and Penelope Tree, sensing the youth revolution of the 1960s and featured celebrities on the cover. Today remains the influence of the controversial theatrical exhibitions she imagined as a special consultant for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, her revolutionary fashion language and her awe-inspiring declarations: ‘You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody.’ “

By the time that Vreeland became Editor of Vogue, the Jet Plane had made international travel more reasonable.  In 1963, Elizabeth Taylor starred in Cleopatra.


In 1965, Sophia Loren starred in Lady L, which recounts the exotic adventures of the lady’s life.

July 1965 In July 1965, Loren was featured on the cover of Vogue

In 1966, Sophia Loren starred in the Middle Eastern Arabesque.

There was widespread interest in Orientalism, travel, and the exotic; and Diana Vreeland wholeheartedly embraced those concepts.

In search of inspiration, Vreeland traveled extensively.  Photographs for the  1965 Scheherezade issue were shot in India.




Photographs for the December 1966 Issue were shot in Turkey







In 1966, Polly Mellon became the Editor of Vogue.

1966March 1966 March

“Polly Mellen began her fashion career working window displays at Lord & Taylor in New York City. Her interest in fashion as fantasy led her out of the “college shop” to editor at Harper’s Bazaar, working for Diana Vreeland, and collaborating with Richard Avedon. Later, the three moved on to American Vogue making history by spending 5 weeks in Japan to create The Great Fur Caravan, the most expensive photo sitting the magazine had ever produced, featuring model Veruschka with a 7 foot Sumo wrestler.






Polly Mellen: “I realized from the other editors there was some jealousy, and I spoke to Mrs . Vreeland about it, and Mrs Vreeland said: ‘Polly, who needs friends?  Get on with it.’  There’s a certain loneliness to being a fashion editor.”


From 1971 – 1988, Grace Mirabella was Editor in Chief of Vogue

Speaking about the Japan issue, Mirabella said:  “It was wonderful storytelling. Beautiful pictures.  The clothes, as wonderful as they were, never were bought in stores.  There was just not any sense of the word ‘About Today.’  The reader was changing.  The clothes were changing.  Everything was changing and suddenly fashion magazines, nobody seemed to be buying them.  There is no question, I thought that everything we were doing was excessive. “

Polly Mellen:  “I was extremely upset when Mrs. Vreeland left.  and so I talked about the office going beige.  I gave the impression that now we are dealing with mediocrity.”

The era became more about the pracitical than about the fantastic.  A more sexualized statement was made than it had been before, and it was at this time that Mellen created her Bathhouse edition.

Mellen:  “There is a disconnect from one girl to the other.  It’s not hacky.  It’s very thought-provoking.  It’s a little surreal.  We got a lot of letters from people who didn’t like them–like my own family who thought they were unnecessary and unpleasant and taking advantage of women in a sad situation.  I never saw that.  Sometimes you have to take a risk.


Betsy Johnson was photographed in the above shot.

In 1971, Vera Wang became Polly Mellon’s assistant

Vera Wang: “It was brutal.”

This was the era of the American working woman who had elected to dress less fashionably and more according to her working role.  Women wore mannish suits and sneakers to work.  The challenge was to educated the public that women could wear functional clothes and not sacrifice practicality.

This was the era of the pantsuit.

Jade Hobson also became an editor in 1971She speaks about working with her model of choice Patti Hansen

She speaks about working with her model of choice Patti Hansen


1976 Patti Hansen


1977 Patti Hansen

1977PattiHansen 1978FebPattiHansen 1978PattiHansen2

1978 Patti Hansen


1981 Natassa Kinski Photographed with Python 1981-Nastassja-Kinski-by-Richard-Avedon-014715

1981 Natassa Kinski


1982 August – Brooke Shields

 1987 Elizabeth Taylor

1988 Anna Witour Becomes Editor in Chief of Vogue

Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele was Fashion Editor at Large from 1985 – 1995

Marc Jacobs [Luis Vuitton]: “Carlyne is quite something.” [Chuckle, Chuckle]

“Carlyne is more is more–layer on the bangles–you know, a kind of flamboyant, French aristocrat, with a mouth like a Trooper. ”

Carlyne: “Everything is about attitude.”

November 1988

Anna Wintour: “She [Carlyne] was the editor who had the brilliance to produce the very first magazine cover that I ran over, which was the amazing Lacroix t-shirt with an embellished cross on it and a pair of Guess bluejeans.”

“That really took Vogue out of the studio and the strobe lights and literally into the streets and mixed things up.”

Carlyne:  “Me, I love the street….I adore–ADORE–street.  I love the street.  Life is about mixing the things and be divine in the street.  Voila!”

Taking the simplicity of the bluejeans and the street wear another step forward, Carlyne is responsible for the White Shirt Beach Cover Up Shoot.


Carlyne about the above photo: “You know me, I love accessories, but … we showed this in a lazy girl look.  I mean, Divine, Divine.  Easiness.  Real.  Real.  This can be today.  There is no season.  Style has no season. ”

Anna Wintour:  “What I loved about that pictures is that it had just so much joy in it and looking back, you saw that pictures as sort of a key moment when they were there not because of what they were wearing but because of who they are.”

It is one of the many ironies of this life that sometimes the best looks come from the least effort. That day you overslept and rushed out of the house and arrived at work to rave reviews of your “perfectly mastered bedhead,” the actual borrowed-from-your-boyfriend jeans you walk your dog in that somehow look artfully (rather than verifiably) ripped, the freshness of unmade-up skin, the two minutes in front of a mirror that end up looking like so much more. As life gets busier, one learns to revel in these small, genuinely effortless successes. Consider the oft-used trope but eventual actuality of a day at the beach: There are two clear approaches. You can load up on accessories and doodads, sunscreens and scarves and hats and matching sunnies, caftans, sarongs and sweaters and zip-up hoodies to go over your swimsuit—or, you could just pack an oversize white button-down. (Or if you’re me, several.)

Hear me out: Sunscreen you don’t skip, and sunnies are generally non-negotiable, but when it comes to the beach cover-up, all you need is a men’s white button-down. It’s an exercise in the perfect amount of allure. It’s all Risky Business with none of the real risk (thanks be to the swimsuit); it’s clean, it’s crisp (until too much sea air gets to it, and then it’s heavenly soft), it offsets a tan like nobody’s business and it’s both unexpectedly sexy (whose shirt is that, anyway?) and surprisingly elegant-looking for the beach. It’s got fashion lineage for miles—Katharine Hepburn in Holiday, Lauren Bacall in Key Largo, Audrey Hepburn’s princess pal-ing around with Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday, Peter Lindberghs  Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele-styled supermodels cavorting in the sand for Vogue—what more could you want? Its simplicity as a garment is deceptive: It can be buttoned or tied, worn loose, or cuffed: It’s exactly what you want to be wearing when you’re heading off to your next sandy-footed adventure. And the best part? It looks like you had so much better things to do than stress about what to pack.”

Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele for Vogue Nippon February 2012

Tim Burton / Roald Dahl

Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter, Lightspeed Champion, and others are featured in a great spread in the December issue of Vogue UK called Tales of the Unexpected. Fantastic photography by Tim Walker and quotes from Roald Dahl’s books = the perfect combination. December 2008 Vogue UK

Carlyne’s Tales of the Unexpected from December 2009 Vogue UK







2009Screen shot 2011-04-27 at 5.32.43 PM (1)


December 1992: Grunge and Glory

Grace on Grunge:  “I think that this is a turning point in my career–this moment.  The fashion world discovered grunge.”

Carlyne:  “I hate grunge.  It was the worst period of my life.  I hate grunge.”




Anna Wintour:  “My grunge days are long gone.  But that was such an important shoot, and you have to do something that is going to really make people sit up and think and be shocked and confused and angry and. ‘What is Vogue doing?  I’m cancelling this subscription.”

Camilla Nickerson [Contributing Editor since 1992]: “It is so raw.  It is confrontational and at the same time it is romantic.  It is one of my favorite photographs.”

Camilla:  Fashion to me is a reflection of culture.  It’s not just about whether everyone is wearing a trench coat.  It is there to report on the world at large.”

“There was an anti-prettiness and an anti-perfection.  It was just capturing reality, which was counter to a lot of what Vogue represented.”

Camilla:  “I;m always hoping that on the day something happens and hoping it will fly.  That it will become something that transcends time and that you will remember.  You hope that it poises a question.”

Anna Wintour:  “There is a dangerous undercurrent to what she is doing.”


February 1995 Article Deals with the Hazards of Wearing Too-High Heels.

1995high3 1995heel4

Camilla: “They are meant to give you power and stature but they leave you disabled…. Some people..found it offensive.  They thought it was actually quite unhandsome, in a way.”


October 2003 Mad About You

Camilla:  “This one shoot that I will never forget.  When I was in the middle of work, I stood in the studio, surrounded by wooden ladders filled with feather boas and tables laid out with wigs.  It was just a coat story, but there was something quite much clearer.  It was just exactly as I dreamt a fashion studio would look like.”

Anna Wintour:  “That’s the magic of walking into the planning room and looking at a shoot for the very first time.  You know, that’s what one wants.  One wants to be surprised.”




 September 2005

The last shoot at the Plaza before it went into renovation.

Camilla:  “It was about photographs in non-spaces–hallways, elevators, the places in-between.”

Sarah Jessia Parker:  “We were left alone in the plaza basically in its shell–in its empty corridors.”

Camilla:  “You know, she personifies New York, so does the Plaza.  It was so sort of Blade Runner, in a way–a dream come true.”

Sarah Jessica Parker:  “Camilla wanted to be subversive–maybe a little bit sneaky–to hide a message in the pages–maybe mess with the institution a little bit.”



Phyllis Posnick – Executive Fashion Editor since 1987


Grace Coddington, Hamish Bowles, Phyllis Posnick

Phyllis:  “Of course, I’m nervous on every shoot.  Even if I’m doing a still life of a mouse, I’m nervous.”


2002 November

Phyllis:  “If I don’t have a picture in my mind of the final image, then, I know the sitting isn’t going to work. ”



Hamish Bowles:  “Nothin is left to chance.  Phyllis is very, very firm and determined, and you know, she gets these extraordinary results.”


Hamish Bowles:  “Her role in the magazine is very, very different because all the other editors are doing 20+ page stories and you can tell her narrative.  Phyllis, with her photographers, has to create a page with a single image that stops you in your tracks.”


Phyllis:  “The sittings I do, we are illustrating an idea. It’s skin care, it’s health, it’s diet, it’s hair color.



“…it’s hair color.  So one has to think of a way to surprise and make the reader stop and look and read the article.”


1995 November – The Machine Age


1996 June Cult Creams


1996 August – The Lip Fix

Hamish Bowles:  “She’s so fastidious in her approach.  She’s really the consummate perfectionist.  I mean, if you’re going to do a bee, lighting on a lip to illustrate the concept of bee-stung lips, Phyllis is really going to spend months, visiting every apiary in the states, casting just the right bee and the right pair of lips.:

Phyllis:  “So we imported some bees, which were live and uh had a very brave model and put the bee on her lip.  Oh, she was fearless.  At one point, the bee was sitting on her mouth like that and she just stuck out her tongue and had the bee on her tongue.  Casting is very important in these pictures because you have to have someone who is willing to sacrifice themselves, you know, for that picture.  It’s not good to have an unhappy model.  We want them to be happy and feel beautiful.”

gameface 2002November

2002 November – Get Your Game Face On!


2012 August – Fast Forward

Phyllis:   “We were doing an article on the fear of aging and we wanted two models who looked the same.  They had an expression, but nothing moved…and when we took the faces off, that was the picture.”

Hamish Bowles:  “For decades, Phyllis really proved herself the perfect Penn whisperer and she was able to coax him to photograph people who he might have resisted.”

Phyllis:  “Penn hated movie stars because when he did a portrait, he wanted to get past the face that the person presents to the public, and that’s very difficult with actors.”

2004May 2004 May

“He finally agreed to do a portrait of her [Nicole Kidman].

Nicole Kidman:  “I just remember climbing up the stairs to his studio.  It was very quiet and everyone was sort of whispering.”

Phyllis:  “There couldn’t be anyone in the eyeline of the subject.”

Nicole Kidman:  “A lot of it is how you communicate quietly without words.”

Phyllis:  “I was behind the curtain, listening, when they fell in love.  It was so beautiful to watch it and she just gave up all that actor.”



2005 March – Alber Elbaz [Artistic Director, Lanvin]

Alber Elbaz:  “I hated it. I looked at it and I said, ooh, I really don’t like that picture, and I said it to my mother.   And my mother called me back and said, ‘Alber, why do you look so sad?  And I understood at that moment that Irving Penn did not take a picture of me, but he x-rayed me.”

Tonne Goodman has been Fashion Director at Vogue since 1999

Anna Wintour: “You have to understand with the great fashion editors that we have working or us at Vogue, it is not a job.


About jackikellum

Jacki Kellum is a Fine Artist, a Designer, and also a writer. For one of her graduate programs, she wrote her thesis on William Blake. Like Blake, much of Kellum's work is about childhood and lost innocence. Also like Blake, Kellum strives to both write and illustrate her work. .
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