Fashionista: So you guys have done a lot of interesting work that’s very non-Vogue–like documentaries about porn and furries. What was it like to get into this world, that to many people, seems very rarefied?
Fenton: That is the weird disconnect. Because the popular perception is that it’s this rarefied, snooty, elite, Devil Wears Prada-type world, and that wasn’t really what we experienced at all. The fashion editors themselves…didn’t necessarily want to be in front of the camera. That was surprising to us because we thought they’d been around photographers and on set all day and we just assumed they would love to be in front of the camera, and actually many of them are former models. So surprisingly, many of them didn’t want to be in front of the cameras, but mainly because they were just very busy and very passionate about what they did, almost to a level of geekiness.
Women who have worked for these editors have stories, sometimes horror stories–like Vera Wang. What was it like to be with all these women who, for people who’ve worked for them, inspire both awe and fear?
Randy: Well I think they’re very precise and they’re very direct. There were times where they would just tell us not to film. But to me, if they were men, I think we would react differently. I think they are incredibly busy, successful women who are focused on the task at hand…We saw no shoes flying through the hallways or temper tantrums, but I’m sure if we stayed there 24/7 we would have seen that.
So Anna Wintour is in the film, but it’s not really about her. What was it like working with her and how did you decide how much she would be featured?
Fenton: You know, she didn’t want to be in it! No one wanted to be in this film! [Laughs] Again, [working with her] was surprising and against everything we were led to believe. She was so warm and funny and engaged and open.
Randy: There were no ground rules, it just was what it was. I think the genesis of her participation in the film, it just was a collaborative process. If we had questions, people at Vogue were accessible to us, and often we would send her notes and ask her questions, so she and Hamish became incredibly valuable resources for us…Anna is a very smart woman so obviously she thought about her presentation. But I have to say the actual process of the interview, it was incredibly laid back and casual. Fenton and I have made lots of films with lots of frosty, uptight people who’ve dismissed half the crew before we started. Faye Dunaway… There was none of that.
Read the whole interview here. In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye premieres on HBO Thursday, December 6, at 9PM.