Being obsessed with all things September Issue-related, we were over the moon to be invited to meet director RJ Cutler at London’s Soho Hotel – and even more excited when we spotted the director in the hotel reception, wearing sunglasses. How very Anna Wintour (‘I wore sunglasses indoors long before I made this film’ he later assured us).
But what we really wanted to ask about was Grace Coddington. She wouldn’t have any part of the filming for four months: Was she really terrifying, or just shy? According to RJ, she was neither, she simply ‘hated the idea – she had a complete distaste for it. She saw us as an invading army and assumed there was a hidden agenda. It took months, but the breakthrough came when I realised that Grace’s career was based around collaborations with photographers and storytellers. I suddenly thought, actually, you’re going to love this! Just give us a chance! So I went to her and pleaded: Just give us one hour. So we filmed her for an hour, just hanging around in her rack doing what she does, moving her clothes around. And that was the beginning.’
After that, he says: ‘I knew that people would feel about Grace the way I feel about Grace – she’s extraordinary. She’s great at what she does, she’s a star. Her body of work is seminal,’ he gushes, before quickly adding: ‘But you know you could say all of the same things about Anna Wintour and I feel those things about Anna as well.’ That said, it’s Grace and not Anna he has been spotted out to dinner with lately (‘well, of course, you work with people for months and months and of course you develop a relationship with them… I’m in touch with everybody,’) he says.
Moving on, what about another Grazia office favourite, Andre Leon Tally? As well as being generally brilliant, he acted as RJ’s guide to the fashion world during filming (‘one of the first things he said to me was “if you want to know about fashion then you must come with me to Charvet” – a French clothier – “to see the work they did for Charles de Gaulle.” How very fabulous). But what has RJ really learnt? We couldn’t let him leave London without putting him to the Grazia Style Test…
1. Grazia: Which body part should women be emphasizing for AW 09?
RJ: No, not a clue, I’m not doing it. I made a film in 2007, I can talk to you about the chandelier earrings, they were big in 2007. But that’s not the answer to your question.
2. Grazia: OK, let’s try another: What colour is the famed sole of Christian Louboutin shoes?
3. Grazia: Yes! Which decade is having a fashion resurgence at the moment?
4. Grazia: Exactly, you do know! And this one you can guess. Which of these is set to be a big colour for Autumn Winter 09: Teal, White, Green, Yellow?
RJ: I can’t answer, I don’t want to be graded on fashion in Grazia and get a C-.
5. Grazia: OK, this one isn’t a trend and you should know because you’re over here at the moment. Which anniversary is London Fashion Week celebrating this year?
RJ: Uh, 25?
6. Grazia: Yes. See? You’re on a roll. Now, which of these is not a design partnership: Dolce and Gabbana, Felder and Felder, Victor and Rolf or Mitchell and Webb?
(RJ’s PR Whispers ‘Mitchell and Webb’)
RJ: Mitchell and Webb.
7. Grazia: Erm, that’s amazing, well done. Which It model is hailed as the saviour for real women and on the cover of this month’s W magazine: Lara Stone, Agyness Deyn, Jourdan Dunn or Georgia May Jagger?
RJ: I don’t know. Don’t you want to know something about Cinema Verite?
Score: A respectable four out of seven (or three points to RJ and one to his PR)