The September Issue Reviewed

The documentary, the phenomenon, the hype machine that is The September Issue was seen by my very own eyes tonight. (B and I have been on a fashion film marathon for the last month – it’s exhausting!)

If you’ve been living in a non-fashion state of being the past year, this is the doc about the inner workings of Vogue during production of the magazine’s iconic issue – it’s largest, wrist spraining issue ever – the Sept 07 edition.

TheSeptemberIssue

However, it’s a doc that reveals the mystery of  the mag mecca for a mainstream audience. If you know Anna Wintour’s name without needing a descriptor or explanation (for some of us she doesn’t even need a last name – you know instantly who “AH-NNA” is), chances are you have a slight insight into well, Anna, because you likely care enough to have sought it out before news of this doc hit FaceBook or Twitter.  I learned nothing new about Anna that I didn’t know before. And surprisingly, ALT isn’t all over this film either (we’ve seen lots of him in post-fashion show clips though, haven’t we?).

I did enjoy the extras that were the design team as well as watching the actual layout assessment and print production processes. Must be a remnant of the layout geek in me (be a doll and not tell anyone?). Incidentally, does anyone know where I can get a set of those magnetic layout boards? Right now?

What I did come to know is that Anna may be the talk of the town, but The September Issue, for me, was full of Grace.

Anna may be the saviour of the $300 billion fashion empire and whose words upon which retailers stake their businesses (fascinating, actually) and designers hang their clothes, but it is Grace that is the lifeblood of Vogue.

She is the soft to Anna’s knife-pleated and printed edge, she is the gothic English romance in a sea of upper east siders and she, in fact, is what is keeping that magazine even slightly relevant.

Anna’s biggest strength is dignified Grace.

A '60s cover of British Vogue with Coddington as model
A '60s cover of British Vogue with Coddington as model
Grace Coddington
Grace Coddington

Visually – and in my book any film about fashion should be smack-in-your-face striking, visually – it didn’t hold up. I’ve seen those images many times over already. I’m tainted. More valuable were the pages that didn’t get in.

It wasn’t a Valentino: The Last Emperor from a while back, parts of which still remain in my mind’s eye and reactions from which are still in my inspirational memory bank.

It was a good film – just not a brilliant one.

Watch the trailer.

Image sources: film poster, Grace cover, Grace now.

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