- THE SEPTEMER ISSUE
- DIRECTED BY: R J Cutler
- STARRING Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington
Thanks to the Meryl Streep-starring The Devil Wears Prada – a movie in which a high-end fashion magazine is presided over by Streep’s Miranda Priestly, an icy, editorial monster – we probably think we know a lot about Vogue magazine, and its editor, Anna Wintour.
As RJ Cutler’s documentary reveals, Wintour is an infinitely more complex character than that. Centred on the production of Vogue’s flagship issue, that points the way for fashion’s next twelve months, The September Issue interviews and follows Wintour (actually a not especially waspish or witty person) conducting her business, ably assisted by her team, chiefly stylist Grace Coddington.
It’s the relationship between these two intransigent British women that’s the backbone here. As work begins, Coddington, a 60-something former model, forced to retire after a car accident, presents her ideas for the mag to Wintour. So commences a chess-style game of patience, and ultimate ruthlessness, with concepts like “texture” and “colour-blocking” the major battlegrounds.
The image of Anna Wintour, however, is a sympathetic one – though invincible at work, she’s vulnerable at home. However successful she is professionally, she seems to doubt that anyone in her family takes fashion, her calling, particularly seriously. A particular strength of The September Issue is that it does so.