September 16, 2009 > Movie Review: The September Issue
Movie Review: The September Issue
By Heidi Leung
The September Issue of Vogue is the most important issue of the year. Vogue's executive fashion director Candy Pratts Price has said, "September is the January of fashion." The 2007 issue was and still is the thickest issue ever, weighing in at over 4 pounds, it sold thirteen million copies. Behind this world renowned publication is its editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, whose fame with the general public has since sky rocketed with the release of Lauren Weisberger's "The Devil Wears Prada." Previously very private about the inner sanctums of Vogue, director R.J Cutler has managed to let the public in and everyone is in for a surprise.
The preconception of "The September Issue" is that it's a film about Anna Wintour. Though she is a large part of it, by no means is she the solo star. The film is more about the observational process of compiling the September issue of Vogue and the two decade long relationship between Anna Wintour and Vogue's creative director Grace Coddington.
Playing the angel to Anna Wintour's devil, Coddington is not surprisingly the audience's favorite character. She is behind all the most captivating fashion shoots published in the magazine and unabashedly speaks her mind. Even Anna Wintour mentions that she's a "fashion genius." The combination of Anna's straightforward and seemingly cutthroat way of editing content and Grace's romantic and colorful artistry makes for a match made in heaven for without either one, Vogue would not be what it is.
Although the two main players are Grace and Anna, the cameo of Andre Leon Talley, Vogue's editor at large is equally if not more, amusing. Loudly declaring, "it's a famine of beauty honey! My eyes are starving for beauty!" at a meeting, the film would have been even better if there were more Andre. Though it is understandable that R.J Cutler had to cut much footage as he had managed to capture over 300 hours on film, it could have been longer. Still, he manages to show the audience the vast amount of blood, sweat, tears, and money, millions to be exact, it takes to put together just one issue of Vogue, and possibly a more truthful view of the woman so many people fear.
Contained in this 88-minute documentary, are images upon images of amazing clothing and accessories by the likes of Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, etc... but more importantly it contains very personal moments of the lives of the people who run this magazine. It's wonderful in that it combats the stereotype that career women, particularly ones involved in fashion are superficial and emotionless.
Anna Wintour opens the film by saying, "I think what I often see is that people are frightened of fashion so they put it down. Just because you like to put on a beautiful Carolina Herrera dress doesn't make you a dumb person." That being said, "The September Issue" is a film that will be loved by those who enjoy the simplicity of looking at beautiful and luxurious objects, those seeking to validate their own views on Anna Wintour, and those who are looking for something more profound.
Rated: PG-13 for brief strong language