27 September 2009

At the movies: The September Issue.

In the worlds of fashion and publishing, few words strike as much fear into the hearts of humanity than “Anna Wintour.” Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief for twenty-one years, the grande dame of American fashion is perhaps best known in mainstream culture for the character she inspired, Miranda Priestly in the novel/film The Devil Wears Prada. But here, in preparation for its September 2007 issue (September being the biggest issue in the magazine’s year), Wintour lets a camera crew document the whole process.

Early word pegged The September Issue as a delicious treat for giving insider access, exploring the various conflicts and power plays at an international publication, and for serving up a grand portrait of the last hurrah of print publishing.

In the intervening two years, much has changed in the world and in the world of Vogue, and The September Issue feels more and more like a valuable historical document with each day that passes.

Don’t come to this film expecting to see anything like Meryl Streep’s take on the twice-removed ersatz Wintour. The real Wintour seems to have contractually required she be photographed like Anna Karina, though she just comes off looking like Lucille Bluth.

Instead, prepare to be dazzled by Grace Coddington, the magazine’s chief stylist, a visual artist, and the true hero of the film. The passive-aggressive pas de deux between Wintour and Coddington that structures the documentary is as riveting and entertaining a conflict as one could hope for this fall. Also, I'm not 100% sure what exactly Andre Leon Talley does, but nobody else could do it...

Simply not to be missed.

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