The Ladies Who Vogue

12 Dec

Having spent some years on the periphery of the fashion planet(and it may very well be its own universe) I have some awareness of the players, processes and ingredients of that subculture. While it is by and large about business and churning out commodities that hunt and chase done billions of dollars for the most marginal of goods there have been and still are people who treat it and its various representations as art. And there are even a few people who can write and talk about fashion without resorting to various idiocies and banalities. Personally, I think commerce has blurred and perhaps degraded the artistic aspects of fashion — an Armani exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or Ralph Lauren’s Automobile collection at Boston’s MFA confuses even my broad notion of art. Let’s leave that for another day though.

HBO has aired another fine documentary (have a peek at the Michael Mann produced Witness series) In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour,recently mentioned as a possible ambassadorial appointment in the Obama foreign service, is front and center radiating gravitas and expounding on the vital role of fashion in our various existences and revealing that the magazine’s fashion editors are the “secret weapon” for whatever campaign Ms Wintour believes Vogue to be engaged in.

To that end we are introduced to a bevy of talented and idiosyncratic women who are or have been in Vogue‘s arsenal over the years— Grace Coddington, Polly Mellon, Diane Vreeland, Tonne Goodman, Camilla Nickerson, Babs Simpson, Phyliss Poiznick and Carlyne Cerf de Dudzelle. Unlike the poseurs and film flam demimonde that overpopulate the fashion world these ladies are smart and expressive and as they review their accomplishments some fascinating tidbits about some iconic pictures and photo spreads come to light. Remember this one:

Natasha Kinski by Richard Avedon (for Vogue)

Natasha Kinski by Richard Avedon (for Vogue)

Currently reading The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore (Knopf)

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