Going In:

I love documentaries but I’m no fashionista, being a a 30-something midwesterner whose wardrobe consists almost entirely of black t-shirts and jeans.  I have one nice jacket, which I treasure. I’m counting on it lasting another 15 years.

 

Review:

They say September is the January of the fashion world’s year, which is why that month’s issue of Vogue magazine is such a big and important production.  This film follows Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, as she pushes her staff and some of the world’s most famous designers to put together material for the issue.

Meryl Streep’s role in The Devil Wears Prada was heavily inspired by Anna Wintour.  It’s one of those rare movies that is entertaining, but gives you some “chick-flick” credit which you can cash in later to watch Robocop (again?) with your loved one.

Anna Wintour’s presence does not disappoint.  She projects a cold aura of uncompromising judgment,  sporting blackout glasses,  a bob haircut, and arms that are always folded in a disapproving manner. The film follows Wintour  to meetings with fashion designers, advertisers, and distributors to discuss what’s going to be featured in the upcoming issue.  All of these peoples’ businesses depend on what goes into the pages of Vogue, because it has such a heavy influence on what clothes people will buy.

She spends a lot of time reviewing the work of her staff, though often she does it through an oily yes-man, who appears to exist solely to sugarcoat relayed messages between Anna and her staff.  There are many scenes with Wintour scrutinizing the work of her producers, pointing out problems and pushing for more exciting material as they sweat bullets and stutter.

The one individual most equipped to stand up to Wintour is Grace Coddington, Vogue’s long-time Creative Director. Her relationship with Wintour is the most interesting. Their opposing tastes often clash, and Grace has to fight for the art that she believes in to make the final cut.

Seeing the hectic pace and global scope of publishing was very interesting, as was watching the photoshoots and touch-up process.  And I gained a new perspective on fashion: it’s easy to laugh at the runway model clothing from the bleeding edge of high fashion.  But some of the ridiculous-looking outfits, when placed into a staged photoshoot, become quite beautiful art.

The filmmakers did not dig as deep into the backstories of the main subjects as I would have liked.   They covered Wintour and Coddington’s upbringing and youth, but only events that directly pertained to fashion.  It was hard to get an idea of their true, uncurated selves.

Bonus:  the backing soundtrack was excellent, setting the mood and keeping the energy high throughout.

 

Conclusion:

I was surprised by how much I liked it, despite my lack of interest in fashion.  I won’t be upgrading my wardrobe anytime soon, but I don’t think the industry is quite so silly any more. This makes a great companion piece to The Devil Wears Prada, and is a worthwhile watch for documentary fans or anyone curious about fashion publishing.

The September Issue Review
Be a fly-on-the-wall as the year's biggest fashion magazine issue comes together.
Storytelling5
Craftsmanship7.5
Performances8
Satisfaction7
The Good
  • Great behind-the-scenes access
  • Many famous personalities
  • Visually engaging
The Bad/Ugly
  • Thin backgrounds on main characters
6.9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Justin

I'm a video game programmer, just like Chev Chelios. I've loved movies all of my life, favor substance over style, and try to have high standards and an open mind.