The September Issue, a documentary directed by R.J. Cutler, tracks the development of what the movies tagline calls the Bible of the fashion religion: Vogues September issue, which coincides with fashion week. Cutler offers an inside look into the tremendous amount of work it takes to put together the mother of all fashion magazines. The September Issue continues Fri.-Sun., Feb. 12-14 at Cinefest. Times vary. $3-$5. http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft/.
If youve seen The Devil Wears Prada, then youve cinematically met Vogues editor-and-chief, Anna Wintour via Meryl Streeps Miranda Priestly. And from what the documentary shows, Streeps Priestly wasnt too far off. Wintour is a Starbucks toting, Prada wearing, bitch from hell. Shes a straight shooter that will take your balls off and then ornament her Gucci purse with them, and then put it on the front cover. The second she does, those balls you just lost will be the next big fashion statement.
Wintours nemesis is Grace Coddington. Shes the ex-model-turned-fashion-editor-turned-Vogue creative director keeping Wintour on the toes of her Manolos. Coddingtons the only one brave enough to take on Wintour head-to-head.
The movie revolves around the womens conflicts as they construct the largest Vogue issue to date, weighing in at just over 5 pounds. Idealistic Coddington serves as the artistic visionary, while Wintour remains cool and focused on business. But these arent the movies only contrasting ideas.
Lets break it down.
Traditionalism vs. Fashion forward ideas: Coddingtons more old school, preferring to see models on the cover as opposed to celebs. In the film, she claims to be the last fashion editor to actually dress models. And 180 degrees in the other direction is Wintour, who pioneered the use of celebrities as fashion mag cover models.
Now vs. Then: The film shows Coddington and Wintours parallel journeys from aspiring 19-year-old British girls to fashions leading women. The road wasn't easy and still isn't as they continue to forge ahead and seek to have fashion taken seriously.
Public vs. Private: Even a woman at the top of her game has insecurities. Wintour, a fashion icon, business genius, a woman that can make top designers bend at her very whim, still has something to prove to her family to them, what she does isnt serious, its a joke.
Fashion as art vs. fashion as trivial: Designers certainly see themselves as artists and the pages of fashion magazines such a Vogue are like their gallery walls, showcasing the story of their visions page after page. Wintour's daughter, however, talks about the silliness of fashion. She promptly tells the camera she has no interest in such unimportant things and wants to be taken seriously.
Contradictions in the film:
Fashion Cycles: "Fashion always moves forward, it never looks back," was one of Wintour's final lines. But is this statement true, when Vogues 2007 issue boasted a throwback to the 20s? And when women are currently donning the leg warmers and Wayfarers made famous in the 80s? Even the fashionably challenged know that fashion comes in cycles designers are always looking back in order to move forward.
Gendered business: Would a man in Wintours position be looked at as harshly, or would he just be considered decisive as she calls herself and professional as many men in her position are called?
Much like a well-crafted outfit, which takes all kinds of fabrics, textures, colors and styles to work, it also takes a variety of personalities and visions to put together a fashion masterpiece such as Vogues September issue.
(Photo Roadside Attractions)
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