The September Issue Review: Runway Success

September 9, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE: On general release from September 11th 2009

On her recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, US Vogue editor Anna Wintour dryly discussed the public image thrust upon her:

“I read in the New York Times this week that I’m an ice queen, I’m the sun king, I’m an alien fleeing from District 9 and I’m a dominatrix. So I reckon that makes me a lukewarm royalty with a whip from outer space”.

A certain reputation set following her uncharitable send-up in The Devil Wears Prada, that gossamer-veiled portrait of the editrix starring Meryl Streep, R.J. Cutler’s The September Issue puts artistic license aside as it gets to the inseams of the famously elusive Anna Wintour.

As well as chronicling six months of bustle in Vogue’s HQ as the biggest title of the year (read by 1/10 of American women) is put together, The September Issue follows Wintour as she visits the fashion shows, and mingles with the fashion industry’s darlings, documenting her far-reaching influence outside the magazine.

Wintour does somewhat confirm that certain reputation in the film, as icy as her name suggests. Designers quake in her presence, assistants scurry around her, and in one scene she reduces Jean-Paul Gaultier to rubble as she casts her eye over his new collection.

Though while she may be blunt, she is never rude and some brief interviews reveal a glimpse of her human vulnerability. It appears: She’s just a woman doing her job.

The real star of the show however emerges in fashion editor Grace Coddington, a fiery ex-model and stylist extraordinaire who has been with the fashion powerhouse for as long as Wintour.

Coddington is the only one unfazed by Wintour in an office of simpering interns, staunchly defends her work to her, providing the odd witty aside, though they express mutual respect for each other.

Penetrating the impenetrable, The September Issue succeeds in making Wintour a bit more human (ruling fleeing alien from District 9 out) and the business of fashion a bit less scary. Sensitively filmed and lovingly put together, it’s a fascinating peek at the workings behind the magazine that’s compelling from start to finish.


Leonie Mercedes

For another “seamless” filmic take on fashion, strut over to our review of Coco Before Chanel, or check our review of Sorority Row, a flick promising more bitching than heard by the water cooler of Vogue Towers…

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