I was talking to N about what we should do for our September MovieCube, when I thought about a fashion documentary The September Issue. I have been wanting to make reviews of films with fashion theme before and write about films and fashion. So we agrees to make it as a theme. And while I am trying to make it as some sort of a fashion themed month here at Karamelkinema, I think its only fitting to start with the said documentary.
Based on recent statistic it is said that 1 in every 10 American women bought Vogue September Issue. Candy Pratt Price, Vogue Editor-at-Large said in this documentary. September is the January or Fashion. It’s when the upcoming trends are introduced and forecasted printed in the glossy pages. I think that’s why it has become such a huge deal, including the women featured on the cover (this year’s cover is the beautiful and talented Jennifer Lawrence). Now, I don’t buy magazines on regular basis, but I usually bought the September issue of Vogue. This year’s September issue is 912 page thick, and probably almost 90% of those are adverts, but fashion advertorials are gorgeous anyways so I actually don’t mind.
R.J Cutler’s The September Issue take us behind the scene of the production of Vogue September 2007 (Sienna Miller was the covergirl of that particular edition) as well as the people involve within it. Namely Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of American Vogue, as well as the former model turn creative editor of American Vogue, and featured several designers, models, photographers, and well known figure of the fashion industries. Anna Wintour herself has a very legendary reputation as a cold-handed, ice woman of the fashion industries, her presence and decision can impact anyone’s career, it can give a struggling designers a chance of their life or reduce others to a career ending adversity. She was the figure that loosely inspired Meryl Streep character, Miranda Priestly in Devil Wears Prada (2006) (adapted from a book written by Wintour’s former assistant). She’s the inspiration for Fey Sommers in Ugly Betty (2006). She has been subjected to various criticism because from her Pro-Fur stance (enraging PETA) to her elitism in running the fashion magazine empire. I think the film tried to portray give the viewer an insider view of Anna Wintour. Showcasing a different side of her through a different perspective, showing a glimpse of humanity behind her severe haircut, sunglasses, and fur-cloaked facade. We can see her interacts with her brilliant daughter, who said not to take fashion too seriously. We can see her interacts with various fashion who’s who and hear things that can made us roll our eyes such as when Leon Talley’s bemoaned about the bleak streak and famine of beauty. Fashion can be quite trivial sometimes.
But whatever it is Wintour tried to exudes in this documentary was lost against the compelling character that is Grace Coddington, American Vogue own Creative Editor. Coddington’s job is to style and create beautiful fashion spreads, as she shared her creative process i understand her passion and her creative process. Her vision was constantly challenged by Wintour aggressively, but in the end it was revealed the two are seeing eye to eye and Wintour appreciates what Coddington did and appreciate her keen sense of style and only trying to encourage her for the better. I guess, in the end we can see how Wintour vision affected the magazine (she is the editor) as well as influenced the fashion world. Her opinion are highly sought after by people and we can see a crack of humanity under that cold facade eventhough we might not fully empathize or engrossed by whatever this documentary tried to convey. I wish there were more focus on the politics of fashion industry instead, because the film briefly portray a kind of power play that went behind all the sequins and cashmere.
I was not captivated by The September Issue in general, even though i was completely absorbed by Grace Coddington and wished to know more about her instead. Nevertheless, it is still fun to see the inner working behind one of the most important annual issue of Vogue magazine and looking at the industry from this point of view.
THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE (2009)
DIRECTOR R,J, Cutler | PRODUCER Eliza Hindmarch, Sadia Shepard | MUSIC Craig Richey | CINEMATOGRAPHER Bob Richman | EDITOR Azin Samari | DISTRIBUTOR Roadside Attractions | COUNTRY United States | RUNNING TIME 88 minutes | RATING PG-13 for brief strong language | RELEASE September 11, 2009
STARRING Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, André Leon Talley
FEATURING Oscar de la Renta, Jean-Paul Gauiltier, Karl Lagerfeld, Stefano Pilati, Nicolas Ghesquière, Jane Thompson, Isabel Toledo, Vera Wang, John Galliano, Coco Rocha, Chanel Iman, Caroline Trentini, Daria Werbowy, Raquel Zimmerman, Lily Donaldson, Patrick Demarchelir, Mario Testino, Craig McDean, Sienna Miller