64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2009
Great and fun documentary! What a treat to see inside this magazine. I went to learn more about Anna Wintour and I came out of this movie feeling like I developed a nice understanding of her - as much as one can from a film. She has a tough job. She is in a brutal industry (two actually: Fashion and Publishing) and she clearly cares about fashion and Vogue. Frankly. I see men who act FAR tougher than she, and no one gives them frosty nicknames. So what if she does not smile all the time? Half that industry has so much Botox, there is not too much smiling going on anyway.
Grace is the one who you come out of the movie wanting to have dinner with. She is talented, brilliant, warm, tough, and her photo shoots are amazing! There were moments where she just radiates warmth and insight so effortlessly, even when she is just taking in a gorgeous view of Paris. You can see how such an interesting person can produce such great art. The cost of the movie ticket was worth it just to see some of her photos that did not make it into the magazine. I hope they make a movie of her life, with plenty of her in it!
The bottom line: Anna sees fashion as an industry. Grace sees fashion as an art. Both are correct. There are only brief scenes with people from the fashion industry, and only slight glimpses of fashion shows... but that is fine. This is a film about Vogue, not designers.
ANY artist in any field can appreciate this film. It is about passionate artists who are doing great things.
89 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2010
...something very important, and that is THE THIRD DISC.
I am not going to review the movie, but the DVD itself. The extra material is superb. It is fantastic actually, and these are for the true admirers of fashion and VOGUE. Could there be even more? Yeah, sure... They could have included the basic bios of the subjects, more pictures, VOGUE through ages, pivotal photos from the magazine archives, even more footage with the fashion designers and models etc. Still, over 90 minutes of extra material is just great.
But you know what is even greater than this version?
The THREE DISC VERSION that Barnes&Noble has to offer.
This elusive third disc in question includes a 25 minutes of footage from the preparation of the legendary Costume Institute Gala. It is just amazing. You get a lot of Anna here, and no Grace actually. However, you get to witness the MET event preparation including the decor, some peacocks, even Naomi Campbell, Cate Blanchett and Michael Bloomberg, and more of Anna being fashion's true 'Eminence Grise'. Her influence is immense, but this third disc truly proves how prominent she is, outside the high walls of VOGUE or the intimidating fashion shows. amazon.com version of the DVD doesn't include this third disc. I suppose the moviemakers and studio cut a deal with B&N, for an even more special and exclusive release just for them.
I have learned about this edition and got excited. And I went to B&N today, and picked up my copy. It is more expensive than the 2 disc amazon edition -understandably- but so worth it.
Some extra materials
Extra materials (with Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Andre Leon Talley, Thakoon etc.)
Footage from Costume Institute Gala preparation/red carpet
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2010
The success of television shows devoted to fashion and of websites that follow the runways is ample proof that when it comes to our appetite for fashion, more is more. The handicap that this documentary faces is that we think we know more than we do. Take Anna Wintour, who was so memorably caricatured by Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada." Anyone would probably pale in comparison to a fictionalized representation of herself by Meryl Streep, so if Wintour emerges from this film as less interesting than you had assumed, it's not her fault.
It may be the fault of the director, however. Surely the world that Ms. Wintour orchestrates is a complicated place, and everyone on screen agrees that Wintour's influence is far-reaching. But no one, least of all the director, seems to be able to say precisely why. Instead, R.J. Cutler's direction gives us redundant shots of Wintour at runway shows or studios (always with dark glasses, which begs the question of whether she can actually see what she is supposed to evaluate) or of her capriciously nixing shots that her staff has spent many hours - and even more dollars - to create. There are a few scenes where we think we will get a glimpse of her fabled powerbrokering (a meeting with the head of Neiman Marcus, for instance), but even then we see few specifics. At times Wintour speaks directly to the camera, revealing, among other things, her siblings' dismissal of what she does professionally, but these moments don't cast her in a particularly sympathetic light. Even her daughter says on screen that she cannot take the industry seriously, and nothing about what Wintour says or is shown to do makes a compelling case for why her daughter - or we - should think otherwise. The film takes as a given the premise that fashion is important and that Wintour is its most important person. Lovers of fashion will go along with the premise, but even they might be troubled that time and again people in the film - Wintour included - betray a fear that fashion is viewed only as a guilty pleasure for stupid people. Wintour's decision to begin putting celebrities on the cover of Vogue is mentioned as a concrete example of her genius (she understood early where our fixation with celebrity in this country was headed), but even that "achievement" is undercut in the film by the sad photoshoot of Sienna Miller.
Ironically, the real heroine of this documentary's story is someone who at first glance does not embody high fashion: Grace Coddington. Ms. Coddington is Vogue's creative director, and her wrinkled face, frizzy hair, and plain black clothing belie her importance in a world that is celebrated for being skin-deep. Through the story Cutler shows us, however, Coddington is revealed as the long-standing source of the magazine's best material. She works tirelessly at the photo shoots she oversees, explaining to those around her the choices behind the textures of the fabrics or the concept of the lighting. Her visions are cohesive and gorgeous, but most importantly, they are intelligently articulated. Under Cutler's direction, the camera lingers over Coddington's tired face and the beautiful images of fashion that she creates, letting us see a highly creative mind at work. That she puts such thought into photographs that are so often blithely thrown out by Wintour (without good explanation as to why, at least on screen) makes her all the more sympathetic. Cutler, perhaps unknowingly, sets her up as everything that Wintour is not, and the comparison is not kind to Wintour. Where Coddington explains her vision and justifies her artistic choices, Wintour simply pronounces her final judgements. Coddington is kind to the models, bringing them treats and asking whether their outfits are too tight, while Wintour jokes about people's weight and demands that fat be photoshopped (even on non-models). Coddington seems to care deeply about the clothing and its details, especially at the couture shoots in France, whereas Wintour often just looks bored. Cutler peels away at the many levels of Coddington, letting the viewer know only gradually that she herself was once a model on the pages of Vogue, and that she suffered a disfiguring accident that required facial plastic surgery. Her story is far more interesting than Wintour's, but that's probably because it is told better.
Ultimately it is Grace Coddington who emerges in this film as the "author" of Vogue, the creator of the very things that readers love most. The "inside" look at Anna Wintour and her control of the magazine sticks to the surface of its supposed primary subjects, and while a focus on the surface of things may be fine for the business of fashion, it won't do for documentary filmmaking. Where the film does triumph, however, is its showcasing of Coddington, who quietly, stubbornly, and convincingly makes the case for fashion as art.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
'The September Issue' is a superb piece of work. I watch a lot of documentaries...this one ranks near the top (though Leon Gast's When We Were Kings still holds the crown). I expected no less from R.J. Cutler, producer of The War Room, but it exceeded my expectations. More than any film I've seen, it captures the hard work and relentless attention to detail that goes into making an enterprise like Vogue (1-year) a world leader.
Cutler's film also humanizes Vogue's editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, who lets us in - if ever so slightly - to her world. We see her with CEOs, world-class designers, Conde Nast corporate staff and, delightfully, at home in a relaxed conversation with her daughter. We also see Anna as industry hub and power broker, here placing up-and-coming designer Thaksoon into a deal with The Gap. [It's emblematic of the many similar deals that Ms. Wintour has swung, Thom Browne + Brooks Brothers being one of the better known examples.]
Cutler also skillfully juxtaposes Wintour with Vogue senior stylist and director, Grace Coddington. Though ostensibly Wintour's star turn, it's the talent, drive and guts of Ms. Coddington that make her the film's heart.
How did Vogue come to be the hub of the fashion world? Watch this film to see how.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Marvelous look into the making, design and people who put the September Issue of Vogue out to the public. The fashion magazine that is a part of our culture and gives us the in depth study of fashion around the world.
Anna Wintour is the the influential editor of 'Vogue' and everyone is reverential to her. Heads of fashion studios do her bidding, they understand she can make and break their careers. In fact, Anna likes to control those around her, Anna wants all of her people to be in shape and to be healthy. Several of her staff mentioned that she has suggested they go to the gym. We are shown a little bit of Anna's personal life. She speaks of her two brothers and sister, all very successful in their lives, and she says her family thinks her job is 'interesting'. She feels her job as editor of Vogue was predestined- she made a list of what she would like to be as a child, and she said work for Vogue. Her father chastened her and said 'Editor of Vogue and here she is, fulfilling her father's wish!
Grace Coddington is the creative director and a more down to earth, realistic woman. She Was a model in the 60's and 70's and later went to work in the field of fashion, working her way up the ladder at Vogue. Anna Wintour considers her a genius in her field. Grace has long red hair, one of her trademarks. I kept thinking throughout the film that her stringy, frizzy hair really needed a shaping and cutting. Grace seems to love color, but is found wearing black much of the time. We can tell as we watch her work that she has an eye for fashion and creative design. Her scenes are fabulous, and this film is as much about her as it is Anna. They admire each other and have found ways to work with each other, but I suspect, Grace suffers more stress as her work is deleted.
The two of them, Anna and Grace together, are formidable. Each knows and understands they job, and they do not deal with fools easily. Anna is known as the 'ice lady' but she is the head of the company and the success of each magazine rests on her shoulders. She has power and uses it wisely from my perspective. In her home she shows a softer version, and when she looks at her daughter you can see how proud she is of her daughter and how much she loves her. But, it is often the severe Anna we see, the fashion designers' hands tremble in her presence. One large jolly fellow is, André Leon Talley, Vogue's resident jester, who wears a different bizarre suit, coat and hat every time he appears. The characters who are and surround the staff are all excellent and excel,and God help them if they make an error.
Anna Wintour claims that "fashion is not about looking back, it's about looking forward. This is a documentary that was fun and informative and took us into the world of fashion. Large, overblown, but always beautiful- Paris, Rome and New York City, how exquisite!
Highly Recommended. prisrob 02-26-10
Front Row: Anna Wintour: What Lies Beneath the Chic Exterior of Vogue's Editor in Chief
Grace Coddington & Didier Malige: The Catwalk Cats
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2010
Well, this was a mistake, and it shows that not all fashion industry films are anywhere near as good as "Valentino". At the end of Valentino, you grasp what made the man tick. At the end of "The September issue" you understand nothing about either famed editor Anna Wintour or the September issue of Vogue, the most important one of the year. Wintour has a mixed reputation, I think it's fair to say, for being brilliant at what she does while interacting coolly with others. Yet this film does nothing to examine or explain how she has stayed at the top of her trade for so long. She comes across as cold and capricious with a strong desire to say as little as possible of interest and the documentary crew doesn't seem to know how to handle her. So we watch her in endless boring meetings about the issue and, about every five minutes or so, she's in the small white-walled room where they examine the proofs for the pages. Her long-suffering creative director complains endlessly about how Wintour is throwing away thousands of dollars of work and yet stays in the job. Nowhere do we deepen our understanding of how Wintour does what she does or what makes her tick. We move from New York to Paris to London to Rome and back to Paris and then return to New York and learn little at any of the stops. This is a seriously shallow and boring documentary.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2009
"The September issue" (2009), directed by RJ Cutler, is a behind-the-scenes documentary about the production of the September 2007 Vogue issue. Of course, this documentary is also about Anna Wintour, the woman who has been Editor in Chief of American Vogue since 1988, and that is also rumored to have been the inspiration for the "boss from hell" in the film "The Devil wears Prada".
Cutler's crew was given ample access to Anna Wintour's meetings with her staff, and went with Anna to many activities that are part of her job, for example fashion shows and visits to fashion designers. The director was also granted final cut rights, and it is easy to see that in the result he achieved, this interesting and somewhat hard-edged documentary, where elegant clothing and caustic remarks are similarly pervasive.
"The September issue" provides the spectator with a glimpse into the hard and extremely competitive world of the fashion business, where only the fittest seem to survive and even photos of very beautiful women need to be digitally enhanced. This documentary also allows us to know a little more about Anna Wintour, probably one of the more influential women in that world, and someone who happens to be rather scary when she thinks that her staff's efforts are below the standards of excellence and innovation expected from them.
On the whole, I can say that I enjoyed watching "The September issue" and that I can recommend it to you, provided that you are at least remotely interested in the fashion world and the way it works.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The September Issue is a superficial look into the making of the September 2007 issue of Vogue. Many of the shots consist of various photographers, art directors and members of the editorial staff behaving in a groveling and subservient way around editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. The one exception is stylist Grace Coddington, a confident and gifted woman who does superb creative work and isn't afraid to stand up for herself. Her work really is the backbone of the magazine. Once she leaves, Vogue is on a fast ride downhill. Wintour's insights, as she looks at and discusses potential fashion spreads, seem fairly prosaic. She must have gotten the job by game-playing and the usual machinations of the business world. Outside of standing back somewhat and letting Coddington do her work, I don't see what she contributes to the magazine except for making her staff feel compulsively insecure.
I enjoyed the few scenes that show her with her twenty-something daughter, who wants to be a lawyer. She clearly has the ability to "get" to Wintour that no one else in the film does. Good for her. Wintour talks about her father and siblings, but neglects to mention her American mother, an interesting omission. Wintour is a lonely character, in a way. There's a revealing scene of her in the back of a town car clutching a Starbucks coffee and staring straight ahead. She's off in her own world most of the time.
As is to be expected, no one on the Vogue staff actually wears the outlandish clothing featured in the magazine. Wintour wears flattering silk dresses, Coddington dresses in various frumpy black outfits and the staff and photographers wear practical work clothes. The exception is Leon Talley, the only member of the staff who truly buys into the fashion myth. Since Wintour reveals so little of herself and the filmmaker is as deferential to her as the rest of her intimidated staff, ultimately "The September Issue" is an elegantly made film with no emotional heart.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2013
I've only recently become aware that these people exist and I was riveted. Grace Coddington now ranks among my heroes, and as a fashion industry outsider looking in it was so fascinating to see her in action behind the scenes of the shoot. Grace's shoot side-by-side with Mario Testino's was a masterful juxtaposition- Testino is the court jester to Anna Wintour's queen (Where is Grace in this image? Supreme Goddess in the clouds away from the nonsense below). I think that the light Anna is cast in is a little harsh- I admire her self-confidence and calm. While seemingly cool and nonchalant about her dismissals, I think it is important to remember that she has seen a lot and has selected people to provide the best possible material to work with. She does know what she's doing, and she is not dismissive of many opinions of the also talented men and women that she hires. She is honest in her praise and critiques.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I suppose if you want a real life look into the putting together of a fashion magazine this might be the movie for you. If you also happen to love film though, be warned, this documentary is like watching paint dry. There is nothing glamorous about putting together Vogue magazine. The endless meetings involved are mind numbing. If I am going to watch fashion, I would prefer watching the raw creativity of the project runway entrants who are actually trying to create something. If Anna W was really the inspiration for Meryl Streep's character in the DEVIL WEARS PRADA, you would never know it from this film. She is drab and colorless. If you are expecting an interesting personality like Karl Lagerfeld (from his documentary), abandon all hope! I think this might be a real good film for someone to see who wants a job editing a fashion magazine as it operates at a real life pace and spares you nothing of the day to day detail of working there.
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