Grace Coddington, André Leon Talley, and R.J. Cutler Discuss Fighting and Facebook

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Coddington and Cutler. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Vogue's Grace Coddington, André Leon Talley, and director R.J. Cutler gathered at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square last night to discuss the DVD release of The September Issue, chronicling the production of the biggest issue of their magazine. When asked their thoughts on the film, both editors had little to critique, though ALT revealed that he was hesitant about the entire project when production first began: “One day I saw Grace in the beginning of a fabulous show in Paris, at the Chanel Haute Couture show, having a huge row with R.J.,” he related, “and I was seated next to Anna Wintour and I just kept retreating to the back of my seat and thinking if this is what she’s having and he’s just begun, I’m going to pull back, too. So I said to him ‘I don’t want to have anything to do with you.’ But then we both became totally enamored and bonded and became friends.”

Cutler was quick to clarify: “Let me point out that the phrases ‘argument’ and ‘row’ both suggest a kind of dialogue, so the description of what was going on between Grace and me at the Chanel couture show I think has been misdescribed this evening. I think ‘pummeling’ might be a more apt description of the event itself, just for accuracy’s sake.” The firecracker in question was very excited about the extra scenes added to the DVD. “I was totally thrilled to see that the film got longer with all those outtakes, and of course, what I’m going to say is — I don’t know, but I’m especially pleased because my cats made the cut.”

Both editors also weighed in on how they think fashion is being portrayed in our culture right now and the influence of mediums like Twitter and Facebook. “André and I were agreeing that we don’t Twitter, we don’t blog, ” said Coddington. “I have a Facebook and a Twitter, I’m told, but I certainly didn’t start it and I certainly don’t, you know, look at it. I’ve never looked at it, and I certainly don’t add to it.” “Please! It’s fraudulent, it’s fraudulent! It’s fake, it’s bogus,” ALT interjected vehemently when informed he had both a Twitter and Facebook account in his name. “We really care about how something’s done and it takes us a long time to do it,” Coddington continued. “And it’s better for it, it really is. It’s done better. If you do something fast — which is what all those things make you do because you’re spending your whole time reading and then it's outdated in ten minutes or something — I don’t think that’s good for fashion because we are, we’re trying to speed up all those poor designers so they have fifteen collections a year, and it’s stupid because how many dresses can you wear? It makes them do it not so well, or they have a breakdown, as just very sadly happened. Alexander McQueen killed himself, and that’s part of that hysteria. It breaks my heart.” ALT agreed: “We come from the generation and the school — I call it old-school, and old-school is good. New-school is great, but old-school is better, and we have just been brought up in a world where … standards were high and we try to be the standard-bearers of that kind of quality for Vogue.”