Honestly, if Vogue wants to keep filming documentaries about itself, that is totally fine with me—especially since the trailer for The First Monday in May, a documentary about last year’s Met Ball, portends another juicy, stressful behind-the-scenes saga a la The September Issue.
Directed by filmmaker Andrew Rossi (he also directed Page One: Inside the New York Times), the documentary follows Anna Wintour, Vogue Director of Special Projects Sylvana Ward Durrett, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton as they race to put together “the biggest show we’ve ever done,” i.e. last year’s exhibition and gala “China: Through the Looking Glass.” (There’s a reference in the trailer to the cost involving Rihanna’s performance.)
If you’ll recall, there was a pretty loud collective groan when the gala’s theme, “Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film and Fashion,” was announced—our own Kara Brown predicted an “Asian-themed shitshow.” When the event rolled around, most of the gala’s celebrity guests did a surprisingly good job at not wearing offensive shit—although quite a few, with the shining exception of Rihanna, dealt with the theme by completely ignoring it (and André Leon Talley set things back just a tad by shouting “China, China, China, China!” at celebrities he interviewed).
“It’s not Disneyland,” an unidentified voice admonishes in the trailer; Wintour later complains in a meeting that “This is just going to look like a Chinese restaurant.” Andrew Bolton tells the camera, “There’s a lot of political hurdles. Some of the topics that the exhibition is addressing could be interpreted as being racist.” It will be interesting, to say the least, to get a glimpse into how this line was toed behind the scenes—making sure nothing embarrassing happened likely meant keeping an unusually close eye on how every guest was styled, interactions which I sincerely hope make it into the film.
And of course, of course, it wouldn’t be a Vogue doc without some classic Wintourian shade. “I thought he said he wasn’t coming,” Wintour tells Durrett in the trailer, referring to an unnamed male celebrity. “I know, but then he decided that he wanted to come,” Durrett responds.
“Okay, can he not be on his cell phone the entire time, then?”
The First Monday in May will open the Tribeca Film Festival on April 13.
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