The September Issue is a documentary feature which, as its title suggests, offers an insider look into the mayhem that goes in the production of the Sep issue of fashion magazine Vogue. September is the most important month of the fashion year – just as January is for the rest of us- where new statements are made and dated pieces outlawed. The film also seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the magazine’s famously aloof editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (rumour has it that Meryl Streep’s monster editor character in The Devil Wears Prada was modelled after her).
I liked the film. I loved the colors, the beautiful photos shot- some of which eventually made it into the magazine, the flamboyant characters and the gorgeous models. The whole thing captured the crazy, fun, artistic and creative spirit of fashion. The movie worked because it wasn’t afraid to mock the bimbos and himbos who took fashion way too seriously (I mean, wearing Louis Vuitton to a tennis session? Like seriously?). Wintour’s own very lovely daughter also dismissed the idea of taking over the magazine, saying that she cannot imagine working in the fashion world for real.
Other than Wintour – whom i think is beautiful and very stylish in a reed-thin, intimidating sort of way complete with a polished blonde blunt bob and and sunglasses – the magazine’s beauty editor Grace Coddington was also a central character. With her eye for beauty (and she really does arrange very very pretty pictures), Grace’s presence amplifies the perennial struggle between art and profits. She concentrates on shooting great photos and then frets over whether her pictures would make it to the magazine, while Wintour is more or less just keen on whether the magazine would bring in the moolah.
Both women impressed with their dedication to the things they do, their willingness to work very hard up the ranks, but there were also glimpses of loneliness and sorrow underneath all that glamour. In a telling frame, Wintour shares that her siblings were all very successful people taking on issues of less frivolous concerns, and confessed that they found her work “amusing”.
That was the only time I had the slightest inkling of what goes on in her head as she ploughs day in, day out. Therein lies my greatest grouse- I didn’t really feel I had gotten under the skin of Wintour after watching her for more than an hour. Still, the film is worth a watch:)