And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

The September Issue

September issue 203x300 - The September IssueThe September Issue is a chick flick extraordinaire. It’s got fabulous clothes, exciting locations – New York, Paris, Rome – and two powerful, smart, creative women as the central characters. The documentary chronicles the making of Vogue’s September 2007 issue, the biggest in the magazine’s history, but even if you don’t care about fashion, it’s still entertaining.

It’s a fascinating glimpse inside the hallowed halls of what one Vogue staffer refers to as a “church” where Anna Wintour is “the pope.” Wintour has been Editor-in-Chief at Vogue for two decades and her reputation precedes her. She’s often referred to as an “ice queen” or even as “Nuclear Wintour.” What comes across in the movie is that she is a decisive, powerful woman. No she’s not warm and friendly, but she’s certainly not the “devil” she’s been portrayed to be. She knows what she wants and she’s in charge. What does it say about us as a society that we criticize her for not also being bubbly and loveable? Would a male executive face the same scrutiny? But I digress.

The thing, or rather the person, that really makes the movie is Vogue’s creative director Grace Coddington. She is, it appears, the one person at the magazine who can stand up to Wintour. She is in many ways Wintour’s opposite with her wild mane of wiry red hair, dressed all in black, stomping around in comfortable shoes. But it’s her wit and frankness that make her the movie’s star. That and the fact that she’s brilliant at her job, a true creative genius.

It’s the working relationship between Wintour and Coddington that makes the movie truly fun to watch, along with a few laugh out loud moments, many provided by the magazine’s over-the-top Editor-at-Large André Leon Talley. The film also functions as a kind of “period piece” as it was all shot in 2007 before the economy went bust. The budget is only mentioned once, very briefly, in the movie. Now it surely would be more of a focal point.

So finances be damned – spend like it’s 2007 and buy a ticket to see The September Issue. You might even be tempted to go buy the new September of issue of Vogue after you see it. I did.

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