(Blogger’s note: This review originally appeared in Shippensburg University’s “The Slate” in the fall of 2009.)
Every September women flock to the newsstands to pick up the latest issue of Vogue. Why? Because September kicks off the latest trends in fashion from all over the world. Every year the September issue gets bigger and bigger, with people asking, “how much does it weigh?” as opposed to “how many pages are there?”
The new documentary “The September Issue” shows the production of the mammoth Sept. 2007 issue. Inside you will see some of the most elaborate outfits and sets that you could dream of, with stories spreading across some 20 pages. The five-pound, 840-page magazine broke records for being the biggest monthly publication ever.
The September 2007 issue made famous by the movie.
“The September Issue” is the first documentary to be made about Vogue, and to actually go inside the office where the magazine is put together. The hallways are lined with an infinite number of racks filled with the best designer clothes, the offices are pristine and clean and the people know there is nothing better than fashion.
It’s hard to imagine that working with clothes all day can be stressful, but this film proves it is. There are so many different styles, textures and color schemes to work through. Garments don’t have the right type of fur on it, wigs don’t work with an outfit, shooting locations are bad and too many people are debating about style. Although this may seem ludicrous to many people, it is a very serious job to the people at Vogue.
Much like mathematicians have their impossible looking equations, fashion editors have their “outfit” equations. Brown doesn’t go with black much like one plus two doesn’t equal four.
Although the film shows us how the Sept. 2007 issue was made, it did delve into some of the people that work there but none was more interesting than that of its editor, Anna Wintour.
Wintour is not what we imagined her to be especially after an icy caricature of her was seen in the film, “The Devil Wears Prada.” Instead, Wintour seems very low-key yet passionate about fashion. She knows exactly what she wants and there is no other way. Sure, she may get frustrated and thinks everyone needs to be skinny but that is what her job entails. There is only room for size zero models. It’s funny to hear her say a perfectly slim Jennifer Garner looks pregnant in a sun dress.
For 20 years Wintour has been the editor-in-chief of Vogue, and in that short time she has been the most influential figure in the $300 billion dollar fashion world. Designers respect her, and people envy her.
Although she doesn’t produce any of the photoshoots, Wintour has no problem cutting them from the magazine. In the film we see creative director Grace Coddington producing a story with ‘20s inspired fashion. Even at a price tag of $50,000, the whole story didn’t ran in the issue. My guess is that the publisher, Condé Nast Publications, Inc., hasn’t been affected by the recession.
“Some of the people in there act like fashion is life, and it’s just, it’s really amusing and you can make fun of them,” said Wintour’s daughter, Katherine, on the world of fashion. “But for that to be your career, it’s just like, there are other things out there I think.” This is a common perception that people have of the fashion world and why people may find it to be a joke.
How a standard issue of Vogue stacks up against recent September issues.
“On the whole, people say demeaning things about our world.” Wintour said. “I think that’s usually because they feel in some ways excluded, or not part of the cool group, so as a result they mock it.”
Personally, I couldn’t agree with this quote more. Women want to be models, and men want to sleep with them. And if he or she can’t get into that world, they mock it. The sense of being accepted by such a prestigious market would make anyone feel better about themselves.
The movie doesn’t point and laugh at the people who don’t wear name brand clothes, nor does it promote people to buy their items. More importantly the movie asks, “Why wouldn’t you want to wear these clothes?”
I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary because it was such fun to watch. I gained some insight into the industry, saw some ridiculously good outfits and had a few good chuckles. “The September Issue” isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s harmless fun that shows how a magazine is made.