Friday, August 21, 2009
JSG was thrilled to be one of a select group of bloggers invited to see a screening of The September Issue last night. Here's my immediate reaction, which I tweeted: Loved, loved, loved the September Issue. Want to watch it 5x in a row. Actually made me miss working in print.
After sleeping on it, I don't think I could have summed it up better. The movie is fascinating as a character portrait, both of Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington, Vogue's creative director, who gets about twice the amount of screen time.
In the opening sequence of the movie, Anna defends fashion saying, "You aren't a bad person because you wear Carolina Herrera or J. Brand jeans." (Note: I may not have that quote verbatim, but the spirit is correct. That's one of the reasons I want to see the movie 5 more times. There are more memorable lines in it than shades of red lipstick in the magazine.)
In the middle of the movie, her daughter, Bee Shaffer, expresses that she doesn't have the same passion for fashion as her mother, nor does she take it as seriously. Anna, in turn, has to be reminded by the housekeeper that her daughter interns for a judge, not a lawyer. Near the end of the movie, Anna talks about her do-good siblings.
It leaves one wondering how Anna feels about her career and life's work as a fashion editor.
Grace Coddington, on the other hand, is an artist who loves fashion for its sheer beauty and power expression. She is the heart of Vogue. Watching Grace flip through photos of the 20s with her group of editors to make sure she gets the shoes right for a jazz-age inspired shoot or strap on the shoe of a model, when surely there's an assistant who could do the job for her, you feel how much she cares. To her, fashion matters and she doesn't need to waste a breath explaining why.
The movie has many humorous or aha moments. It's worth the price of admission alone to watch André Leon Talley, with a Louis Vuitton towel and trunk, "playing" tennis at Anna's suggestion.
The movie took me back to my own days as a fashion editor at a major woman's magazine where fashion definitely was not the main focus and I had a budget of about one-millionth the size. All the same, I cracked up when the printer gets blamed for the off-color of a spread, shared Grace's pain when her pages are cut and she hears about it from someone other than her editor-in-chief and sympathized when the managing editor nearly has a heart attack after finding out a story is being re-shot just days before it has to ship.
It was also fun to compare Vogue in The September Issue to Vogue in the Devil Wears Prada. Miranda Priestly's office is a carbon copy of Anna's, but her assistants are nowhere near as well dressed, none of the editors wears much makeup and nobody looks like Giselle.
The movie opens on August. 28.