Calendar Girl

Feature-length documentary film, 2020

Fashion Girls For Humanity is proud to be the official fiscal sponsor for Calendar Girl, as documentary feature film about fashion industry legend Ruth Finley (1920–2018), to be released in 2020.

"All of us designers have an emotional connection with Ruth Finley because we all remember when we listed ourselves for the first time in the Fashion Calendar." — Diane von Furstenberg, Chairwoman (2015–9), Council of Fashion Designers of America

"Ruth is the woman who has held the fashion flock together, and by association, brought the industry together." — Donna Karan, Designer

"I would like to thank Ruth and commend Ruth for her tireless work in keeping our entire industry on one calendar." — Ralph Lauren, Designer

 

 

About the film

A quintessential New York story. From 1945, for 69 years, the influential subscription-only Fashion Calendar with its iconic pink pages and red covers—designed to be easily noticed on someone's cluttered desk—laid out every fashion show and event in New York City, including New York Fashion Week. Behind it was founder Ruth Finley. In October 2014, Ruth sold the Fashion Calendar to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, known as the CFDA, ending an era, and Ruth retired at 95. The documentary examines this momentous transition, and reflects on the life, work, and legacy of this trailblazer and the industry she helped create through her more than 70-year career. Her story is told by industry insiders, her sons, and friends, who bear witness to her long career as publisher, entrepreneur, patron saint, and fairy godmother to fashion designers.

 

The Ruth Finley Story

Calendar Girl is the story of Ruth Finley, who in the 1940s carved out a place for herself in a man's world, raised her sons and built her career from home, and developed a reputation characterized by tenacity, perseverance, fairness, humanity, diplomacy, and decency, influenced the inner workings of New York fashion, celebrated and was celebrated by both the industry's powerhouses and rising stars, and survived its many incarnations. Ruth's vision and hard work were celebrated when her industry needed her, but her role became more and more obstructive against the continuing explosive growth of the internationalized New York fashion industry in the convergence of commercialism, technology, and globalization and all the complexities that accompany it. Ultimately, she could not keep up with an increasingly complicated calendar of events and a rapidly growing number of shows. In 2014, after years of negotiation, CFDA acquired the Fashion Calendar and began to publish digitally. Ruth Finley helped build an industry that became so powerful, commercialized, and globalized that it outplayed her and had to leave her behind. Her retirement signals the inevitable end of an era, the end of her one-on-one personal relationship style. Celebrated as a trailblazer in her time, in the new world, she became old-fashioned, the old guard. An emotionally intense journey—we watch Ruth hand over the fashion scheduling baton to the CFDA and its leaders Steven Kolb and Diane von Furstenberg as the Fashion Calendar enters into the digital world and into online engagement and management, as the fashion world wonders how it will fare without the central and accessible role of Ruth Finley. In her time, Ruth was the kind and relentlessly positive face who had seen through 70 years of New York fashion history, insisted that business was conducted at a personal level, refused to be commercial beyond what was sensible for the core function of the business, and her drive kept the most commercial of industries together.

 

The filmmakers

Calendar Girl is directed and produced by Christian D. Bruun, and produced and written by Natalie Nudell. The full team includes associate producers Mary Myers Hackley, Teresa Lai, Mark Romeo, and executive producers Raphael Avigdor, Kate DelPizzo, Kikka Hanazawa, Angela Sun, Reika Yo, and Tracy Jenkins Yoshimura.

 

Christian D. Bruun, director, producer, cinematographer

Christian D. Bruun is a director, producer, and cinematographer of documentary and narrative film and television. A member of the Producers Guild of America, his films have had international theatrical and television distribution and been in official selection at Sundance, Tribeca, Berlin, Locarno, IDFA, and Hot Docs festivals. Currently, Christian is developing narrative film Candy about transgender Andy Warhol muse Candy Darling, directing documentary film about contemporary art gallerist Marian Goodman, and producing Spike Lee’s civil rights drama Son of the South. He is in post-production on Calendar Girl about Ruth Finley, influential creator and founder of the Fashion Calendar, and he recently completed The Burning Child (Harvard / Mellon co-production) about art, home/exile, and Jewish fate in early 20th-century Vienna. Recent work includes award-winning documentaries Secondo Me (2016, US / EU / Russia co-production) and The Road Movie (2016, winner of British National Film & TV Awards, Russia / US co-production). Christian produced The Man Who Saved the World (2014), winner of the Danish Film Academy Awards and the Danish Film Critics Awards for best documentary film. He directed, produced, wrote, and shot Blue Gold: American Jeans (2014), acquired by Netflix. Christian was previously curator of the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale on Architecture (2004, 2006). Christian is a founding member of Danish Art Council, New York. He was co-founder of the Danish Film Festival and board member of A+D Architecture and Design Museum, LA, and ambassador for Index: Design to Improve Life Awards, Copenhagen. He had been a regular critic on technology, film, design, and digital media at Columbia, Princeton, Pratt, and Parsons. Christian holds a Master of Architecture from Arkitektskolen Aarhus (AAA) in Aarhus, Denmark and studied at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles.

 

Natalie Nudell, writer, producer

Natalie Nudell is a historian and curator of fashion and textiles, and is a faculty member in the History of Art Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY in New York City.  Her research interests include the wartime and post-war American fashion industry, labor, gender and digital humanities, and she is the foremost expert on the Fashion Calendar, which is the focus of much of her work. Nudell is the writer and producer of the feature documentary Calendar Girl and has contributed articles to both scholarly journals and popular publications. She was the co-curator and exhibition designer of “Runway Moments: New York Fashion Week,” held at the 80WSE Gallery. Currently, she is also an associate editor of the Fashion Studies Journal and a founding member of the Fashion Studies Alliance. She holds an M.A. in Visual Culture and Costume Studies from NYU and a B.A. Honors History from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

 

Watch the Trailer

 

 

All images by Christian D. Bruun