I Finally Watched The September Issue

Film: The September Issue (2009)

Since it's a year old, this movie about Vogue's annual ad fest has already been inhaled, memorized, reviewed and then forgotten by die-hard fashionistas. But what if you haven't papered your walls with every Prada campaign since 2002? Here is why you -- 38-year-old mom in Tallahasse, 21-year-old Psych student in Ann Arbor, and not-to-be-announced-publicly airport security officer in Dallas -- should watch it.

The September Issue is about women at work. The main character: Anna Wintour, no doubt the biggest female editor in the magazine business. (While I'm not interested in the woman's aesthetic, I've always been bothered by people's characterization of her. Like being a woman means she can't be anything but warm and inviting. Since when do we gripe about male editors being cold and business-minded?) On the one hand, you have people like editor-at-large André Leon Talley who cater to her every whim and constantly affirm her decisions. On the other, you have creative director Grace Coddington who will fight for everything she thinks is right and is willing to very publicly disagree with her boss. Grace was certainly presented as the minority, but as you watch the film, you can't help but wonder whose voice Anna hears when she's alone.

Grace is staged as Anna's opposite, and thus they carry the weight of of fashion's dueling personalites. Bright vs. soft. Sharp vs. blurred. Wearable vs. fanciful. Commercial vs. art. While Anna runs to Vogue's annual retailer's breakfast to talk numbers and to the boardroom to pitch the latest issue to the head of Conde Nast, Grace dresses models and scouts sets. Anna feels the pressure of keeping up circulation and garnering further ad revenue, and Grace feels the sting of cut shots and nixed shoots. Anna feels she's not taken seriously, but Grace doesn't even think about it. Like many women, they pour their hearts into their work. Sometimes too much so.

Paris Je'Taime is one of my favorite Vogue spreads. I'm actually bummed to know so many of Grace's beautiful shots (of Coco, no less) were cut. Grace contemplates a garden in Europe. She looks for editorial sets where ever she goes.

Favorite tidbits:1 in 10 women in the US buy the September issue of Vogue.

Grace brought cherry tarts for Brazilian model Raquel Zimmerman to eat during a shoot (left). "Don't worry about what one will do to you," she encouraged.

Prada changed their fabrics because Anna didn't like them.

After Anna told Bob the camera man, pictured above, that he needed to go to the gym, Grace called the photo editors to make sure his stomach would not be touched up.

Thakoon is a tiny man.

While they made several mentions to page count -- 840 -- they never mentioned how many pages were content and how many were ads.

Anna's siblings are amused by her job.

Burning questions: What happens to a design house if Anna skips their show? Does the sky fall? Do the designers have to commit hara-kiri?

Oscar de la Renta invited Anna to help him edit one of his shows. Does anyone else find it unethical that magazine editors help select clothes for a season or even style a show completely, then write glowing reviews about the show' cohesiveness and style?

What are they spending money on that scrapping 10 pictures equals a $50,000 loss? That's more than my house plus my car! What are these people getting paid?


Sarah Dee said…
I really need to see this movie... sigh ;)

Jael Paris said…
If you have Netflix, you can stream it on your computer.
Anonymous said…
Does anyone know the name of the garden that Grace is looking at in the 4 image that is posted?

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