Edward Enninful, the Editor in Chief of British Vogue, is known to have changed the landscape of the industry, and in a true celebration of his new memoir, A Visible Man, a whole host of talented, famous faces have joined forces to tell his story. And it’s a complex one, with his memoir exploring a central theme of belonging with layers of complexity that incorporates race, sexuality, and the sense of home.
The film, directed by Alec Maxwell, Edward’s husband and founder of KLOSS Films (his client list spans the who’s who of the industry from Louis Vuitton and Dior to Fendi and Rizzoli Books), is all about capturing the candid, raw moments. Here, there are authentic and considered narrations (excerps thoughtfully paired with the talent) to offer an inspiring film that sets the scene and perfectly reflects the memoir.
And, of course, the cherry on top and final ode to Edward comes in the form of a classic black suit and specs, Edward’s signature look that the narrators recreate. Alec shares more about the film, from the cast to the readings.
Cast: Everybody cast in the film has a personal connection to Edward and his story, with several also in the book: Tilda Swindon, Daniel Kaluuya, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Omari Douglas, Kate Moss, Kristen McMenamy, Gemma Chan, Damson Idris, Thandiwe Newton, Issa Lish, Joel Edgerton, Simone Ashley, Jodie Turner-Smith, Maya Jama, Jourdan Dunn and Sienna Miller.
Sound track: A custom soundtrack by Hale Zero, which references sounds that remind Edward of his childhood in Ghana; there’s even a reference to his clubbing days in London in the nineties.
Allocating the excerpts: Edward and I wanted the viewer to feel a logic to who says what in the film. Jourdan Dunn read the excerpt where Edward tweets regarding racism. This was a perfect fit as Jourdan has been known to do the same thing. Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s reading of a racist encounter and Tilda Swinton reading the gaslighting comments in the aftermath – I wanted this part to feel raw; Gugu and Tilda brought emotion and depth to the screen. I knew the book inside out already, as Edward had written it from home during the lockdown. I felt there were many excerpts from the book that would create an exciting and sensational trailer for it.
Production: We shot for three days in London, with a brief honeymoon between the 2nd and 3rd shoot days. The project, from start to finish, spanned two months. Ru (our Boston Terrier) was on set to oversee and keep spirits lifted. The project is very personal for Edward and me also. I wanted to take it on so that there is accuracy and sensitivity to the language and feel. As a filmmaker, I’m very comfortable with social conversation and emotion, so this project was a treat.
Styling: Dena Giannini styled the shoot. Dena has worked closely with Edward and KLOSS for the last ten years. No one understands Edward’s look better; the classic black suit, white shirt and glasses, mixed with the subtle ways Edward restyles his suit some days. The brief was for each person to become or resemble Edward. When the brief first came my way to direct a piece for Edward’s book, the concept was obvious. Edward’s look is iconic and is an easy way to create a visual language for the film.