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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The September Issue

The September Issue paints a more "human" picture of Anna Wintour than I have ever before seen. The movie centers around the inspiration, creation, and compilation of the September 2009 issue of Vogue. I think anyone who sees the movie is expecting a real life "Devil Wears Prada," and while there were some similarities, The September Issue paints Anna Wintour and the fashion industry as a whole in a much more favorable light. Is Anna using The September Issue to set the record straight? Perhaps.

Front and center of the film of course is Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief of Vogue. She clearly has extremely high standards and expectations, which makes her so good at what she does. She admittedly is not a warm and friendly person, which has likely caused her to have more than a few critics. Regardless, she is undoubtedly very talented, hard-working, and loyal.

Anna is definitely a working editor. When she is sitting on the front row at fashion shows, her wheels are turning and she is working the entire time. She can immediately look at a piece of clothing and know if it pleases her or not. She talked about her family in the movie quite frequently, particularly her daughter Bee. When asked if she would continue in her mother's footsteps, Bee immediately said she would not, that fashion does not really interest her (however, she is definitely front and center with her mama at alot of fashion shows!).

It is interesting to see just how much influence Anna has on the fashion industry. At one point in the movie, she had requested that Muiccia Prada recreate her fall line of coats in a lighter weight fabric, and guess what? Ms. Prada did it. Her influence continues even outside of the designer world, to broader based lines like the Gap. When the Gap was searching for who would design for their recent CFDA project, Anna recommended Thakoon. From the moment she recommended him, he had the job. The line was out this summer (it may still be available- not sure), and it definitely added some high style to the Gap's basic jeans and khakis.
Thakoon for Gap
While Anna may be the face of Vogue, she undeniably has a very talented group of editors, stylists, and photographers working with her. She does not hide the fact that a large part of her success comes from the people with whom she surrounds herself, like Grace Coddington and Andre "the Stylefaxer" Leon Talley.
Andre makes me want to buy some LVMH stock (although I'm sure he doesn't pay to play). He credits Anna with having motivated him to start exercising and lose some weight a few years back, and his tennis scene is one of the funniest parts of the movie. I don't think he particularly enjoys it, so he said he must surround himself in what he enjoys when he is playing. Namely, Louis Vuitton. A LVtowel, a LV bag for his water bottles, his LV racket cover, etc. As for his tennis skills, it's safe to say that he won't be giving Anna's friend Roger F. a run for his money anytime soon. But truly, Andre is an extremely talented editor. The movie does not focus on him nearly as much as Grace Coddington, which is a bit disappointing because I would love to learn more about him.
Andre loves his capes! Anna does not hesitate to credit editor Grace Coddington for her work. Grace in many ways is the brains (and certainly the creative talent) behind the operation. A former model, she has been an editor at Vogue for 20 years, beginning the same year that Anna did. Watching her work is absolutely fascinating. Her eye for detail, the way she approaches a photoshoot, the inspiration she seeks from everyday life- it is truly remarkable. I think it's very safe to say that Vogue would not be what it is today without her.

In the movie, Grace experiences the ups and downs that exist in working in such a competitive and subjective industry. She can spend weeks creating and perfecting a photoshoot, feeling thrilled with the end result, only to have it excluded from the magazine. She definitely expresses some of this disappointment in the movie, yet her name is so fitting. She is willing to stand up for herself, but she never loses her cool. It's very evident that she and Anna have tremendous respect for each other.

Throughout the movie, Anna always looks chic and polished. She is rail thin, and her bob is always perfectly coiffed. She rarely smiles, but she is not as harsh as the media often portrays her to be. In the movie at least, it seems as though she gravitates towards sundresses, heels, and ladylike styles. And lots and lots of big sunglasses.

For black tie events, Anna wears only the best of the best.

While I generally like how she dresses, there are a couple of instances where I'm not the biggest fan. For example, this dress from Karl Lagerfeld:

Throughout the movie, she talks about her love of fur. She says that she brought it back to Vogue when she started there. Controversial? Sure. But it is apparent that if she chooses a look, it will become popular.
One last point on how the movie portrays Anna as a real human: A couple of scenes in the movie take place at her New York apartment. Based upon her taste in fashion and her expectations of perfection and excellence, I expected a beautifully designed, huge space filled with designer furniture and perfectly placed accessories. Definitely not the case. From what I could see, her apartment looked very small, with almost no art hung on the walls, a mismatch of pottery candlesticks on the mantle, and a sofa that didn't really go with the rest of the room. I was truly shocked. When I first saw it, I thought, "Oh, that must be her daughter's college apartment." Nope. Nick Olsen did an interesting post earlier this week on how some extremely talented creative folks don't take their work home with them, and perhaps that is the case here. In a way, it was refreshing. To see that while she is incredibly successful and expects those around her to be perfect, she still has certain aspects of her life that are private and that she keeps away from the scrutinizing eye.
If you have ever poured through a Fall Fashion Issue, you should see The September Issue. It makes you realize how every single image in the magazine is painstakingly selected. There is so much creativity and work behind each and every photo shoot. I certainly feel a new-found appreciation for the magazine!


Betsy said...

What a wonderful and thorough review--makes me even more excited to see this movie about my all-time fave magazine! Thanks for the great info.

goheels83 said...

The movie was awesome...and I agree...Andre's tennis scene was hilarious! I couldn't stop laughing!

I also found it interesting that she was the person who came up with the degradé trend for Prada a couple of years ago...which has more recently trickled down to mainstream stores...

Live Creating Yourself said...

Ah I am dying to see it. It has such a limited release - only at a couple Chicago theatres. I've done quite a bit of reading on Anna Wintour because I was a magazine journalism major in college and aspired to have a similar career (albeit not necessarily at a fashion mag). She is hands down one of the most hard-working people out there. And smart. She could (and should!) write a book on networking. Thanks for this post!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

i LOVED this movie too -especially the parts with Grace Coddington. I wish Hamish Bowles was a larger part of it though.

I was surprised by Anna's house as well -it was very warm and 'english' styled. I expected it to be a very stylish 'armani-casa' type minimalistic showpiece! I think it was a townhouse though, right, not an apartment?

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