When we think of American fashion week you might think of Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang or Tommy Hilfiger. Or, like me, you might think of no one and potentially have to apologise to fans of fashion that read this review and see my complete ineptitude on the topic. However, even the more fashion conscious audiences would be forgiven for not immediately thinking of Ruth Finley. Calendar Girl is a documentary here to SET THAT STRAIGHT.
Filmed over five years, Calendar Girl tells us of the rise, and quiet end of the ‘Fashion Calendar’, a fortnightly publication that outlines every fashion show in New York, where, when and by whom. Now that might not sound revolutionary in its own right, but Calendar Girl shows us that this is a truly unique event. It’s also driven by kindness, a willingness to give new designers a chance without consideration of profit and a powerful and independent woman who in the 1940s was driven to run her own hugely influential business.
Calendar Girls takes us through Ruth’s life story and the origins of the publication Fashion Weekly whilst simultaneously recording the last years of Fashion Weekly with Ruth at the helm as it is forced to modernise and take on a new sense of self.
Christian D Brunn has done a brilliant job of using Ruth herself to tell her story, and her beauty of soul pervades through and draws the viewer in through this unique character. Although the story, the vision, the camerawork and the style are nothing unique and to me, the subject matter is even a little boring, it does succeed in keeping your attention throughout. Calendar Girl also features some beautiful shots of New York and must have been tireless work following Ruth around in what was an astoundingly busy schedule. What made Calendar Girl most interesting was that it took something which we all have an impression of and an idea what the characters might be like and throws it away as it introduces someone who completely breaks that mould. Ruth was a successful business woman, a caring mother and a tireless worker. Strange…but exhilarating to watch it.
Calendar Girl is a solid documentary, easy to watch, interesting and definitely something fashion lovers will revel in as the history of this publication is so unique within that industry despite the confusing name for anyone who’s heard of Calendar Girls. Calendar Girls won’t be something I’ll be sending widespread praise about, but it is good, it features a unique topic and holds its own. If you want to learn about a wonderful person watch it, if you love fashion, you NEED to watch it, but otherwise, might be one you miss.
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