It took me FOREVER to figure out what I was going to wear Friday night. My closet was practically draped across my bed by the time I walked out the door to meet my girlfriends. We all had a date and I was dressed to impress for my one and only. By the time we took our seats in the Kabuki Theatre, my heart was fluttering with the anticipation of spending an hour and a half with one Ms. Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of my bedtime stories… Vogue.
While Ms. Wintour and I were not cozy holding hands during the opening night of “The September Issue,” her persona lit up the screen as she was the center of my attention in her new documentary. I felt the sense of connection with the fashion monarch that I had been longing for. “The September Issue” takes us through the making of the 2007 most awaited publication of the year for women around the country, the Vogue September edition.
Vogue has been adorning newsstands for a century, telling people what is in and what is out. For 20 of those years, Anna Wintour has been the woman behind the magazine deciding what people should look like. Ms. Wintour’s reputation is scorching as her facade’s debut was in “The Devil Wears Prada” as the devil herself. After many fiery judgments of the way Ms. Wintour runs the Vogue empire, I was expecting to watch a heartless character bark demands at her fashionable subjects. However, as the movie unraveled, I was thrilled to see an approachable side of Ms. Wintour as she spoke of her childhood and interacted with her daughter, and I found out that she is not merely a film’s villain.
As we witness in the movie, the Vogue office is not always run with the greatest of graces. However, wild-haired Grace Coddington, who holds the position of Vogue’s creative director, is a driving force of what makes Vogue the forefront fashion magazine that it is today.
When the five dollar publication does not make my budget for the month, I will admit to secretly taking a seat in the bookstore and flipping through the style pages of Vogue to admire the perfection of photo shoots and gain my style inspiration for the next few weeks. This is thanks to Coddington, who is the emotional force behind the film as she creates beautiful images displaying couture at its best. Anna Wintour’s decisiveness of what is in and what is out frequently discards Coddington creations. Grace often feels, well, ‘disgraced.’
The film’s list of characters is never boring. Vogue’s editor-at-large fits his title well because he is truly larger than life. The fabulous André Leon Talley may be extreme but his fresh and severe fashion perspective twists the film’s audience into an occasional burst of laughter and a great respect for Mr. Tally’s presence at Vogue. “The September Issue” globalizes the fashion industry at its best as it takes us to Rome for the cover shoot with Sienna Miller and Paris for an haute-couture experience. I was weak-kneed just watching the beautiful clothes parade like candy across the giant screen, and my cravings left me wanting more. I promised myself that shopping was not a good idea right after the end of my ‘date.’
The hard work that Anna Wintour and her team achieve is not recognized as universally important as medical research or feeding hungry children. Nevertheless, I must stress that their deeds touch every person that wears clothes and I am pretty sure that we all have that in common. The fashion industry seems very democratic. While we decide what we pull on every morning, the clothes that are hanging in our closet are really there because of Anna Wintour and her team. Yes, at times the whimsical pages of Vogue seem like a window to another world far away from ours. In reality, the artwork trickles down into some form of ready-to-wear clothing. In this documentary, not only do we see Ms. Wintour consulting the CEO of Neiman Marcus on his store buys, she also contributes to the fashions we see at the Gap. For instance, that Thakoon white button-up shirt from the Gap for 40 dollars was hand picked for you by Ms. Wintour. She picked high-end designer Thakoon to do a line for the Gap. She makes a luxury market item something that’s accessible to everyone. Anna Wintour reigns.
As a gal who is all about style and an avid encourager for all to test trendy waters, I am eager to say that this film is for everyone, but that is not true. “The September Issue” is for those of you who have an appreciation for the fashion industry and have at least some understanding of how extreme it is. I give it five stars and I am ready for my second date with Anna Wintour this coming weekend. What shall I wear?