Review: September Issue

I wanted to see this movie since it came out in 2009. It was impossible as it wasn’t shown in cinemas in Poland nor came out on DVD. But thanks to my best friend who owns it, I got a copy only recently and saw it twice. First time I just watched and dreamed. For the second time I took it to pieces and learned (quite a lot actually).

The movie, or rather a documentary, shows a long process of putting together the biggest issue of Vogue (and any monthly magazine) and the action (if we can call it like that) takes place in 2007, starting during Mercedes Benz NY Fashion Week. We learn that it takes approximately five (!) months and consists of a lot of aspects, all of which are consulted and personally supervised by Anna Wintour.

But – from the beginning – I love the opening of the movie in which Anna Wintour says: ” I think what i often see it that people are frighteened about fashion. Because it scares them or make them feel insecure they just put it down. On the whole people that may say, the meanny things about our world I think that’s usually because they feel, in some ways, excluded or, you know, not a part of ‘the cool group’ so as a result they just mock it.” It geniuely applies to every aspect of our lives – we fight what sceares us, put ourselves in defensive position while sometimes there’s no need to. And then we also hear Anna basically repeating herself: “There is something about fashion that can make people very nervous”.

Whole documentary contains a lot of interesting and insightfull interviews with Vogue main staff, designers and even Anna’s daughter.

Candy Pratts Price (creative fashion director) says that “it’s a church and Anna’s a pope” and continueing that “Vogue is a bible in fashion world” what ultimately becomes the keynote of the movie. Alongside the statement that “September is the January in fashion”.

We learn (or rather confirm ourselves in the belief) that what Anna says and thinks ultimately becomes ‘it’, a trend (“- It’s texture!, – Well, not for Anna.”). Seasons ago she put furs back in fashion, in this documentary we learn how jackets became ultimate clothing for AW 07/08. Also we find out that she credits growing up in London in 60s for her love of fashion, that she dislikes black colour, that she gives advices to biggest designers before fashion weeks  and that September Issue is all about unique stories.

From what we can see in ‘September Issue”, I think that Anna’s ‘nickname’ – Ice Woman – is well exaggerated. She’s a very busy woman, extremly professional, doing her business. She doesn’t need to be particulary nice and friendly with everyone, and she says what she thinks and is stubborn and adamant (all features which make her who she is now – most influential person in fashion industry). Yet when shot with her daughter she seems to be really nice person, actually quite warm.

Absolutely highlight of the movie, hilarious quote (for me) was told by Bee Shaffer (Anna’s daughter) if she’s ever gonna work in the industry: “It’s a really weird industry to me and it’s just not for me. She wanted me to be an editor (…) I would never want to take it seriously. Some of the people in there act like fashion is life. It’s just… really amusing and you can make fun of them but that to be your career… it’s just… you know… there’re other things out there, I think.”

However the best quote from professional point of view (if you wish to work in fashion) is probably one said by Grace Coddington (creative director): “you have to demand because otherwise you’re gonna be left blamed. Don’t be too nice (…), honestly, because you’ll lose.” And she continues that you have to make yourself important and irreplaceable.

Also during the almost 1,5 hour long documentary we learn how Anna helped Thakoon booked Gap designers line, how she makeed everyone nervous about closing the issue and how cover photoshoot of Sienna Miller by Mario Testino almost ended up as a disaster (and many more!).

This movie is simply a must-see for everyone who wants to force his way through to the top (or somewhere near it 😉 ).


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