Miss Coco Chanel once said, “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.” If you are a modern girl who has a passion for fashion, this attitude should be your signature color. Fashion is the perfect way to express yourself without uttering a word. What you’re wearing says everything about what you want to reveal and nothing about the rest.
No one knows this better than Vogue. And no other movie breaks through that carefully controlled image and captures the real Vogue better than the 2009 documentary, The September Issue. A documentary is the raw form of cinematic art, a way to show a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain. And who wouldn’t want to see the wizard behind the curtain at Vogue? Is Anna Wintour really a devil in Prada?
This film shows all the messy details that go into the making of Vogue’s most important issue, “The September Issue.” Or, as he movie’s tag line puts it: “Fashion Is A Religion. This Is The Bible.” January may be the start of the year for all you ordinary people, but September is when the year really begins, because everybody knows that fashionable people are at least three months ahead of the mere mortals.
The story enlaces interviews with Vogue players, like Andre Leon Talley, Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour, with episodes from the fast-paced life that buzzes around the creation and assembly of a multi-million-dollar magazine.
This is a strange film to examine for its fashion, since it is a movie about the selling of fashion, but as you discover how much time, energy and agony goes in styling a single spread in Vogue, you slowly get sucked into the drama and the trauma. It’s all about creating a desire to own something by using lighting, color, staging and texture to seduce the viewer into craving what’s on the page, or in this case, on the screen.
Director R.J. Cutler put this movie together the way a seamstress would, selecting his raw material carefully. Working closely with his editor, he cuts and manipulates the pieces in the editing room in order to capture the best side of his story the way an Oscar de la Renta design reveals the best angles of a model’s body.
Cutler rips the seams open and peels back the layers to show a side of Vogue that we’ve never had a chance to see until now. The celebrity editor Anna Wintour is exposed as an uptight, bossy figurehead while behind-the-scenes geniuses like the brilliant and funny Grace Coddington are revealed as the real key players.
The September Issue is a great watch for lovers of both film and fashion because it will never go out of style. And with September issues on newsstands now, this is a great time to watch or re-watch it.
- The September Issue: The Salvation of Anna Wintour?
- Vogue On Film: The September Issue
- Anna Wintour’s Having a Party, Are You Invited?
- The Goods!: The September Issues. 1969-1999
- The Glamorous Life: Anna Wintour on Late Night with David Letterman