On Enjoying The September Issue (2009)

...for the issue is not about bad taste!

A half demystification, if there is even a half or any at all in films and documentaries nowadays, has been running around the Anna Wintour myth since the dawn of The Devil Wear Prada (2006). We suddenly hear the words Vogue, Fashion, Anna, Wintour and the bunch of it circulates on a dense series of films with a streak theme about the fashion industry, as my friend calls them, fashion films. The September Issue is a fashion film with a documentary eye. This is part of the surge of films and TV shows with the theme of fashion and luxury after the release of The Devil Wear Prada last 2006. We all might remember that three Coco Chanel films were made after 2006: one, a television film entitled Coco Chanel (2008) starring Shirley MacLaine directed by Christian Duguay. Two other French films were released in 2009: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky directed by Jan Kounen which graced over Cannes Film Festival 2009 as a Closing film and Coco before Chanel directed by Anne Fontaine starring Audrey Tautou. Much of the acclaim went to the latter than the former. Also in 2009, Bruno (2009) by Sasha Barren Cohen was released with a mocking statement about fashion. Sex and the City (2008) solidified by their television influence were also part of the this 'wave' of films with a fashion sense. Valentino Garavani also has his own documentary, Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008) which graced during 2008 Venice Film Festival. A year before Sex and the City premiered in America, Gossip Girl has its pilot released in American television last September 2007. In a series of films and TV shows, numerous references to Anna Wintour and Vogue were made.

Not only that The Devil Wears Prada started the whole pandemonium of fashion films and TV shows popping around the world (as much as fashion blogs like that of Bryanboy and Sart ripped their positions as the blogosphere's top fashion destinations), it created a different treatment to fashion. As in The September Issue, the somewhat documentary version of The Devil, the toppling down of the fashion myth has occurred unprecedentedly. Directed and produced by R. J. Cutler, The September is shot in cinema verite style, much of what Cutler (and many documentary filmmakers would agree) wanted to do. No other cinematic styles were explored although the film maintained three levels of tone: melancholia, euphoria and tension sustained surprisingly not by Anna but by Grace Coddington, the creative director of Vogue that the documentary is simply thrust towards Grace more than Anna. An unflinching scene when Grace gaze over the 'Marienbad' garden at Paris gave out the best convergence of emotions.

The September Issue is a good film to defamiliarize suing the Neoformalist approach and an enjoyable documentary, an enjoyment similar when one gets a sweet cake and hot cocoa during lazy Sunday afternoons while reading a magazine. Vogue Magazine, that is.

The gut! "I need to go to the gym!"