An inside look at HBO doc “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye”

World of Wonder co-founders Randy Barbato (pictured, left) and Fenton Bailey (right) talk to realscreen about their doc In Vogue: The Editor's Eye, which celebrates the fashion bible's 120th anniversary and airs on U.S. net HBO tonight.
December 6, 2012

U.S. net HBO and prodco World of Wonder (WoW) gathered some of Vogue magazine’s top editors to celebrate the fashion bible’s 120th anniversary in In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye which, according to the indie’s co-founders Randy Barbato (pictured, left) and Fenton Bailey (right), could serve as just one chapter in the illustrious history of Vogue.

What began with a phone call from HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins turned into almost a year of diving deep into the archives of Condé Nast, Vogue‘s publisher, and convincing the magazine’s top editors to speak about the most influential and iconic images from the magazine’s history.

Randy Barbato, co-founder of World of Wonder – the Hollywood- and London-based company which also made OWN doc Becoming Chaz and HBO docs The Strange History of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Wishful Drinking – tells realscreen that after receiving the call, there was a lot of thought as to what the documentary form would be, and wouldn’t be.

“How could you really make The September Issue part two? We didn’t want to try to do that because The September Issue is a great film,” says Barbato.

And while Grace Coddington, creative director of Vogue, features in both RJ Cutler’s Vogue documentary The September Issue and The Editor’s Eye, the new HBO documentary also features a number of other esteemed editors who’ve worked at the magazine over the years, including Tonne Goodman, Polly Allen Mellen, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Camilla Nickerson, Phyllis Posnick and Babs Simpson.

World of Wonder co-founder Fenton Bailey adds that the film was very important in not only giving these fashion editors their due, but also telling audiences what roles they play.

“They’re not the stylists, they don’t do the hair or the makeup, [and] they’re not the models or photographers, but their role in creating these images are all important,” he clarifies. “I like the analogy of a director on a movie set. They oversee every aspect of it, but [while] they’re not the cinematographer, they aren’t the actors, or the costume department, they can organize all of these different facets to create the image.”

in vogue: the editor's eye: natalia vodianova photo credit: (c) annie leibovitz / courtesy hbo

Model Natalia Vodianova stars in "In Vogue: The Editor's Eye." Photo (c) Annie Leibovitz

With so many editors featuring as part of The Editor’s Eye, scheduling all of their interviews was difficult. But the biggest challenge that the filmmakers encountered was the sheer volume of stories from the 120-year history of Vogue.

“When we were doing the research, we thought, it’s not just one story or 10 stories, its 10,000 stories,” says Bailey. Their research included the archives of Vogue but also access to Eve MacSweeney, who wrote the companion book Vogue: the Editors Eye.

“It’s a cliche, but every picture tells a story and behind pretty much every image in Vogue, there are these incredible stories, and it is process-driven,” says Bailey. “We couldn’t just fit it all in. It should be a returning series. The content there is infinite.”

“Certainly, it feels like our film is just another chapter rather than the definitive documentary spawned from the halls of Vogue,” adds Barbato.

Check out the trailer for the doc below:


  • In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye airs on HBO in the U.S. tonight (December 6) at 9 p.m. EST.
About The Author
Justin Anderson joined Realscreen as senior staff writer in 2021, reporting and writing stories for the newsletter and magazine. During his 20-year career he’s filled a variety of roles as a writer and editor at a number of media organizations, covering news and current affairs as well as business, tech, the film and music industries and plenty in between. He’s also spent time behind the scenes in television production, having written everything from voiceover scripts for documentaries to marketing copy. He has a degree in Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).