"There is something about fashion that can make people very nervous."
Last Thursday I was invited to attend a screening of the much anticipated documentary, The September Issue at the Bryant Park Hotel screening room. I ran into and spoke to Jeff Lewis and Jenni from one of my favorite Bravo shows "Flipping Out" beforehand, but I digress.
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To say I loved 'The September Issue', is an understatement. I didn't want it to end. Director, R.J. Cutler, made sure to tread very carefully while filming about life at Vogue. After all, you don't want to ruffle Editor Anna Wintour's feathers. In fact, you really don't want to breathe the wrong way around her.
We were treated to a Q&A session with R.J. before the film began, but it was a little difficult to ask questions about a film we had not yet seen. Cutler did comment that during filming, (which was two years in the making) he was most impressed with Anna Wintour's ability to make decisions
under fire. He really didn't know much about her or the $300 billion global fashion industry prior to filming. "She's extremely decisive," he said. "Yes, no, yes, no.
She trusts her gut and doesn't
look back." Yet, he still had to earn her trust, which it appears he did.
I really don't want to ruin the film for anyone, but I was pleasantly surprised the documentary wasn't just about Ms. Wintour. The plot centered around the fashion bible's editor-in-chief as she lobbed back and forth with creative director Grace Coddington and the rest of her staff to produce the record-setting September 2007 issue (weighing almost 5 lbs. and 840 pages it was the biggest issue in the magazine's 114 years). As we all know now, a lot has changed in the past two years and Vogue is now experiencing record low ad sales. What a difference two years make.
Grace Coddington credits Wintour for "seeing the celebrities a cover models thing long before everyone else," much to her chagrin. For those of you not familiar with Coddington she was a model for Vogue on the 60's. Her modeling career was cut short by a car accident, but she transitioned at Vogue as creative director the same day Wintour began and over the past 20 years the two have been doing a 'good vs. evil dance' around each other which is fascinating to watch. Coddington is a brilliant stylist who looks at fashion as a world of play and make believe. Her talent you will come to appreciate. The 1920s-themed shoot for the September 2007 issue (which Wintour slashed to the tune of $50,000 in lost work) is nothing short of spectacular.
My only complaint…I wish there was more Andre Leon Talley! The larger than life Vogue editor-at-large steals the few scenes he is in. Particularly the scene of him taking a tennis lesson in head-to-toe Vuitton….it's priceless!
"Fashion is not about looking back. Fashion's about looking forward."
The September issue opens this Friday August 18, in NYC, elsewhere, September 11, 2009.
Make sure you read this great post by Yuli at My It Things; 5 Most Important Lessons You Can Learn From Anna Wintour in The September Issue.
Check out the official trailer below.
– Lauren Dimet Waters