Sep 13, 2010

[Movies] The September Issue (2009)

The September Issue (2009)When The Devil Wears Prada came out, I think a majority of the queer population came out to see it, whether or not they had read the book or were actually into fashion. I for sure am not part of the target demographic of that particular movie, but then again I still went to see it and enjoyed it for more than just the amazing performance of Meryl Streep.

It had been long discussed that the book's titular boss from hell was based on infamous Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, although she's never acknowledged any similarities between her and the book / movie character. When asked about the book, she was quoted by The New York Times - "I always enjoy a great piece of fiction. I haven't decided whether I am going to read it or not."


This feature documentary on the workings behind Vogue was bound to generate interest after the success of the book and the movie. There's a natural curiosity into what goes on behind the scenes about the world's premiere fashion magazine and the woman who makes everything possible.

The September Issue is feature-length documentary directed by R.J. Cutler. The documentary is centered around the production of the September 2007 issue of the American edition of Vogue magazine. For those not in the fashion know (like me!), the September issue is key since it acts as the big start for the sort of "new year" for the fashion industry.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 16:  Editor-in-Chief of A...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThus we get introduced to the unique struggles and challenges that come along the way in terms of making a magazine. The slant the documentary took was to try and contrast the editorial direction of Anna Wintour coming into contrast with the innovative vision of Vogue creative director Grace Coddington. Whether or not this was a completely accurate depiction of their typical working relationship, it's probably not too far off the mark in terms of how things tend to go in the publishing world.

The documentary follows them around across fashion shoots, brainstorming sessions, clothes selections and of course a lot of editing and rearranging. I now better appreciation the overall planning and organization that goes into such magazines - a visual outline of the issue is one of the key markers of the progress of this film and it really does a lot to tell the story.
Despite all the arguments and the heated dialog here and there, the magazine comes together and the people behind the film made sure to give things a "happy" ending. They really opted for more of a fly-on-the-wall approach to things without too many set pieces of interview portions. Sure, the people being followed around a free to talk to the camera as they see fit, but there aren't many staged interviews outside of the core working environment. It's only in terms of the editing that they try to tailor the footage to create a story at least, but for the most part you're left to make your own conclusions.

The September Issue is definitely quite a revealing look into how the publishing world goes. It's not The Devil Wears Prada, something a lot more real and thus a lot more insightful. It gets 4 omitted fashion pages out of a possible 5.

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