Forget Bruno, the fashion film of 2009 is undoubtedly The September Issue, a documentary exploring life at fashion bible Vogue. This highly anticipated film is not just for fans of fashion, as it explores the making of a magazine and the tense relationships of a group of high powered fashionistas.
Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, hailed by some as “‘the most powerful woman in America” is the obvious subject of the film. However, it is Grace Coddington, the creative director of the magazine who steals the limelight with dry one-liners and an ability to say exactly what’s on her mind. Throughout the issue, the shoots styled by Coddington are repeatedly edited, much to her annoyance. And she’s not one to hide her anger, leading to some of the funniest scenes in the film.
While much has been made of the females in The September Issue, the star of the documentary is the legend, André Leon Talley, Wintour’s righthand man. He’s not in the film enough for my liking but when he was, the entire cinema audience couldn’t help but laugh. Talley explains that Wintour told him to lose weight a few years ago so we witness his tennis regime. He shows up dressed in designer clothes with a Louis Vuitton logo scarf around his neck. Instead of running for the ball Talley stands still and hits the ball as far as he can, sending his opponent around in circles.
The film shows a vunerable side of Wintour that has never been documented before. When discussing how her siblings view her career, she appears embarrassed at how meaningless it all seems. When her daughter, Bee criticizes the fashion industry and explains why she has no desire to follow in her mother’s footsteps, a look of disappointment shadows Wintour’s face. Later, she playfully mocks her daughter’s outfit, suggesting that she’s been inspired by her future career as a lawyer. “Judge” her daughter states in correction. The pair have a sweet relationship; we witness Wintour quizzing Bee about which cover image is best for the September issue of the magazine, suggesting that she values her daughter’s opinion more than anyone in the offices of Vogue.
Overall the film is great, it offers insight into the fashion industry and discredits some of the myths about the world of fashion. Like, OMG! we actually see Raquel Zimmerman eat not one, but two tarts … and she enjoys them! Shock horror. While it may not promote the academic intelligence of those involved, it is admirable to see a group of people work so hard for a common cause. For those that aren’t immersed in the fashion world already, the film demonstrates how the industry works. For example the meeting we witness between Wintour and the staff at Neiman Marcus, in which the editor is asked to tell the designers to increase their production levels. If something needs changing in the industry, Wintour has the power to change it. The scene at Neiman Marcus acts as an unintentional parody of the meeting with the five families in The Godfather. And of course, Anna Wintour is the one and only Don Corleone.
Published by WAH Magazine.com