Julia Knolle about the documentary Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue. Perfect for every fashion lover.
Actually, it should be enough with all topics that are even somewhat work-related after office hours. On Monday evenings, however, sometimes my head is so nice and empty that I don’t even want to pick up my favorite book. Then it recently occurred to me: I still hadn’t seen the documentary about British Vogue. And since my analog friend Marta, the mother of two kids, gave me an insider’s tip that it was on YouTube and open to watch even from my German IP address (good morning, JK!), the time had come.
Of course I was skeptical. Do you still need a show like that? Haven’t we already seen everything on the topic? Somehow not – I caught myself in the process, once again not being able to switch off at the traditional screening of The Devil Wears Prada during NYFW. And in this case, for good reason!
On the occasion of the magazine in question’s 100th birthday, editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman allowed herself to be followed around by a camera team for nine months (highlight #1: her enchanting mother coming to visit). Almost scientific and from a sober, observational perspective, director Richard Macer makes both episodes into their own spectacle: it’s ironic when it needs to be; unfazed when it approaches hysterical and moody. Still, he depicts the team and the industry with due respect.
“I sensed I was in the middle of a very privileged world that many of those present had to work hard to be part of,” he comments as he films the faces of Jerry Hall, Dakota Johnson, and Juergen Teller at the big birthday celebration at the National Portrait Gallery. Alexandra Shulman has been responsible for the magazine’s success for 25 years, who even Anna Wintour congratulates in a sit-down interview sequence. Forget the turmoil, the eruptions, when they both chose Rihanna as their cover model.
Far away from that, another lady is a lasting inspiration: Lucinda Chambers. Proudly active at British Vogue for 36 years, she amazes like no other with her fashion shoots. For Veronika and I, she has long been the superstar whose work we admire with wide eyes month after month. “I want to make the clothes I see on the runway my own”, is how she explains her approach, spectacular editorials that constantly challenge our ways of seeing and set new visual standards. Tried and true, without denying the zeitgeist – this is how it appears that the maxim of her daily work reflects the approach of the editorial department.
The Fashion Features Department bears the signature of Sarah Harris, who with her 100K followers on Instagram also makes the Vogue brand accessible to younger target groups. For us, all of these factors, and shown here with such insight, are what make the British version of the magazine the best international Vogue of all.
What’s surely another success factor: the team members (notably art director Jaime Perlman) are motivated to openly represent their own points of view – and it doesn’t matter if the top actually takes them on in the end – or not. This culture of discussion is and remains (in the industry now) exemplary. But, see for yourself:
Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.
Updates about her next professional steps can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliaknolle/.