Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The September Issue is Pure Glam

Oscar and Gaultier and Vuitton, oh my.

For anyone who dreams in couture, lives for their stilettos and owns or can quote any of the following: Unzipped, Sex and the City and/or The Devil Wears Prada, than The September Issue will be your cinematic journey to Mecca.

Shot with unprecedented access, the documentary follows Anna Wintour and her staff at Vogue as they prepare their legendary September Issue, the largest and most important edition of the year. Wintour, the magazine’s editor for 20 years, reportedly consented to the documentary as her way of responding to the aforementioned ...Prada.

If she was hoping to dispel any rumors about her sharp, rigid, hyper-exact frigidity, she’s done something she seems incapable of; she’s failed. However, if she was hoping to illuminate viewers and give them a great understanding of what she does and how ferociously genius she is at it; she’s achieved a thundering success.

Weaving through the hallowed hallways of Vogue, zigging and zagging around racks of the most exquisite clothing in the world, from the runways of Paris to the modest showroom of (then) up and coming designer Thakoon, who Wintour discovered and mentored, The September Issue demonstrates that Anna isn’t just an editor; she is THE voice and vision of style, in America and around the world.

As one interviewee says, Wintour is the Pope of fashion.

But the film isn’t just about Wintour, it’s about the glory and glamour, strife and struggle of creating a style bible.

Andre Leon Talley flutters in and out of the film like the caftan-cloaked mad genius he is, hollering things like “It’s a famine! A famine of beauty!” but the film’s heart and soul rests in Grace Coddington, Vogue’s creative director, a styling mastermind, Wintour’s co-worker for two decades and the only person who seems to have been able to lip off to her and live to tell the tale. Coddington, who is vivacious, spunky, immeasurably talented and refreshingly honest, grounds the film and is one of the few subjects who makes the audience feel like they’re a part of her journey, rather than a spectator. Plus, watching her work is mesmerizing and we will never forget the scene where she encourages a model to enjoy some cake (which she does with glee…probably since it’s the first thing she’s eaten in a loooong time).

My only gripe with the film is with Wintour and her devastating choice to wear and promote fur. It makes me so sad and ill that defenseless animals have to die to old hags can feel luxurious, but a lot of that rests on Anna’s head, something she’s quite proud of (she’s credited with resurrecting the fur industry). With so much power, why not choose to use it wisely and judiciously?

Beyond any personal moral objections, the film is an orgy of fashion that gives the audience the ultimate VIP behind-the-scenes glimpse as we watch the industry’s most powerful people practically groveling at Wintour’s feet as she looks up at them (she’s short) from under her signature ridgeline of bangs, purses her lips and decides what “It” should look like now.
It’s a perfectly put together view of the artistry, decadence and absurdity of fashion.

What else would you expect from Vogue?

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