Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Film Review - The September Issue

The September Issue (2009)

Director: R.J. Cutler
Featuring: Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Talley

The September issue of Vogue magazine has long been revered by fashionistas (and wannabees) for years as the bible for the coming year's fashion trends. The September Issue is a documentary that goes behind the scenes of the creation of Vogue's 2007 fall fashion issue and features all of the top brass at Vogue and its publisher, Conde Nast, including the notorious Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief.

Considering my idea of fashion is whatever matches, is clean and is comfortable, I am not the key demographic for Vogue's September issue. However, I never missed it when I was a teenager, so my long-latent interest in accessorizing combined with my adult-hewn interest in marketing and visual creativity found a perfect marriage with this interesting documentary. The September Issue shows the internal struggles that occur when strong personalities who have the best talent and eyes in the business disagree on themes and content, and how the product becomes all the better for it. Wintour and Grace Coddington, Vogue's Creative Editor started at the same time and butt heads every month, but clearly respect one another and come back to do it all over again the following month.

Though Wintour is probably the most well known of the figures at Vogue (who can forget her characterization by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada?) it is Coddington who comes out the heroine of the film, due to her talent, hard work and dedication, and outspokenness. Wintour is not afraid to show her icy personality and ability to kill an entire spread in ten seconds flat, but again, she has the talent and chops to back up her difficult reputation.

The September Issue is comprehensive and well rounded; we not only see the creation of the issue itself, but meet designers who are inspiring the trends Vogue will feature and photographers who shoot the extensive layouts. Famed photographer Mario Testino, who shot the cover and main layout with actress Sienna Miller actually drops the ball a bit, which I found interesting and "real".

Having said that, I'm sure that there is a lot that we don't see, but I was satisfied with what did make it to camera. Though certainly not rocket science, The September Issue almost inspired me to resubscribe to Vogue after all these years - almost - until I looked down at my too baggy shorts and t-shirt with three small holes in it and realized that no latent accessorizing talent, no matter how ambitious it once was, could help me anymore. I'll stick to writing about documentaries about the subject, thank you very much.

3 out of 5 stars

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