US vogue september issue 2007
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the finished product

I made time in my schedule recently to go see the movie “The September Issue”. I did so because I feel it’s an important movie for folks in the beauty/fashion/magazine/etc aspect of the creative industries to go see. For those who don’t know, “The September Issue” follows the creation of an issue of American Vogue magazine, specifically the september issue which is the largest issue of the magazine yearly.

Musician Michael Penn was once said (in a different documentary that I saw recently) that most people are not fans of music so much as they are fans of trends and of popular culture. Kurt Cobain was quoted as saying there are very few true fans of music and those who are generally become musicians. I think there’s real truth to both of these statements and that these sentiments apply to fashion as well. A lot of people who love fashion – in my opinion – are followers of trend, and pop culture particularly these days celebrity culture. And that’s great. That said, this is not the movie for that fashion follower. If you are, however, interested in fashion history and the art and commerce of high fashion this is film is a treat beyond compare. The movie is slow paced, methodical, relatively quiet… this is no fast-paced, fast-cuts, loud and flashy music video like so many other film relating to fashion. Also refreshingly absent from “The September Issue” is the typical sneer and jeer, faux-fabulous bitchery that is so often associated with today’s fashion world. In a way, this movie is a throwback to another time in fashion, and there’s a very specific reason why…

“The September Issue” closely follows names who any fashion-conscious person knows but would never have normally have access to. And surprisingly, people are quite themselves and are seemingly not putting on a show for camera. At the forefront of all of this is, of course, editor-in-chief of American Vogue – Anna Wintour. In addition to Ms. Wintour, however, is the unexpected “star” of the movie – creative director, Grace Coddington. Ms. Coddington is probably not known by name to the average observer of fashion, but she’s been at the forefront of dictating fashion trend for 20 years. Nearly 40 if you include her years spent working for British Vogue. Without going into why and thusly spoiling the plot, Ms. Coddington really is the movie and lets just say art prevails in the end.

Anyone already in the business or who aspires to be in the business owes it to themselves to see this film. It is rare, indeed, to have an opportunity to see the reality behind the illusion of an important aspect of the fashion industry.

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