British Vogue has agreed to reveal its inner secrets in a BBC observational documentary to mark the centenary of a magazine which is widely referred to as the bible of the fashion industry.
The decision to grant access to BBC cameras is not without risks to the title’s lofty reputation and follows the American edition’s collaboration with The September Issue, a 2009 fly-on-the-wall film, which highlighted editor Anna Wintour’s formidable manner and her complex working relationship with British creative director, Grace Coddington, a former model.
American Vogue gave permission for filming of The September Issue soon after the release of the fictional film The Devil Wears Prada, starring Meryl Streep as powerful fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly, a character created by novelist Lauren Weisberger and widely thought to have been inspired by Ms Wintour.
British Vogue, which became the magazine’s first international edition when it launched in 1916, has been edited by Alexandra Shulman for 23 years.
BBC2 has been promised “unprecedented access” for the project, which will be shown next year in two programmes, each of 60 minutes. The series is being made by Lightbox, the production company founded by documentary-maker Simon Chinn, who won Academy Awards for Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man. The series will culminate with the making of British Vogue’s centenary issue in 2016.
Mr Chinn described the film as a “fantastic and unprecedented opportunity” to explore the global impact of the UK fashion industry. He said: “There will be big characters, compelling storylines and plenty of glamour, but we also want to explore some important questions about the role fashion plays today in Britain and the world beyond.”