Director R.J. Cutler hit fashion gold when he filmed Vogue editor Anna Wintour and her team for The September Issue, the behind-the-scenes documentary that follows them as they put together what would turn out to be the biggest issue in the magazine’s history.
Filmed in 2007 at the height of fashion’s glory days, and before the recession, Cutler captured a specific time in the industry, one that revolved around a now outdated concept of luxury.
The film really plays to the “fabulous” idea of fashion; Vogue’s halls are filled with rack upon rack of clothes people like you and me could only dream of; entire rooms are dedicated to shoes, bags, bracelets; Wintour says things like “looks cheap to me;” they shoot Sienna Miller…in Rome!
As a reader Vogue is a title I rarely pick-up (the September issue especially, its like toting a family bible around). Of all of Vogue titles the U.S. version is the most pedestrian (this month Paris Vogue published a controversial shoot of model Lara Stone in black face, now that’s interesting) but it’s this balance between glamour and cutting-edge that keeps it profitable. And that’s really the key to this movie.
Beyond forever endearing Creative Director Grace Coddington as the one true free-spirit of fashion, what this film really draws attention to is the fact that fashion is a business. It may seem obvious, but it’s something we often forget when gorging ourselves on the latest shoes or being spoon-fed the hottest trends. Given the current economy it’s easy to see how the fissure has occurred between fashion and fantasy.
The September Issue opened across Canada a few weeks ago. You can read my full review here.