Film Review: The September Issue (2009)

19 Sep

the september issue review

As predicted, the audience for this film doesn’t disappoint. A clutch of suburban tweenagers teeters in to the cinema at Chadstone (it’s the fashion capital), their ‘pleather’ Louis Vuitton bags carried in the crooks of their arms (in the manner of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onasis), their inane chatter and giggling only welcomed when it drowns out the feminine hygiene ads that dominate the previews.

The film starts terrifyingly, with an extreme close up of Anna Wintour’s face, stitched and puckered like a baseball. The Vogue editor’s skin stretches and contorts around pockets of collagen as she spits out directions and icy criticisms in an indeterminable accent that at once sounds regal and businesslike, with vowels that manage to transcend both sides of the Atlantic. As the magazine staff busy themselves preparing for their largest ever issue, differences of opinion abound. Tempers barely flare (that would be uncouth), but hearts are ripped out and trodden on, the fatties of the world are maligned, grown men are reduced to babbling, dithering messes and Sienna Miller’s hair is hung out to dry like Jesus on the cross.

Undoubtedly the hero of the documentary is Grace Coddington, Vogue’s creative director, whose pleasingly wild and unrefined appearance is more reminiscent of a harried high-school drama teacher than a fashion prodigy. We share her pain as we witness her constant battles with the caffeine-soaked skeleton and her entourage of spineless and vapid flunkies, and we admire her frank and unassuming reflections on the industry.

why so sad?

why so sad?

While The September Issue hardly covers any new ground, and lacks the wit and drama of other fashion documentaries (such as the funtastic Signe Chanel), this film’s magic lies in its ability to sensitively document the ordinary dramas of an extraordinary workplace.

Virginia Mannering once fancied herself as the editor of a top flight magazine, unfortunately 2 kids, a house in Caroline Springs, and an addiction to Cheezos intervened.

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2 Responses to “Film Review: The September Issue (2009)”

  1. Mike Childs September 19, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    Good review. Agree Grace Coddington is the star of this strangely compulsive doco. It’s not just Sienna’s hair that’s hung out to dry, it’s her face, teeth and pretty much everything else that can (and was) airbrushed! But I also admit to a grudging admiration for Ms Wintour’s absolute power over her empire, and the fawning, simpering accolytes, designers and other assorted fashion types.

  2. Ronan Macewan September 21, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    I’m not scared of Anna Wintour.

    But my fashion choices are beyond criticism, so it’s unsurprising that i’m immune to her.

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