Screen Editor Aaron Mesh hilariously (and probably accidentally) managed to miss both preview screenings of The September Issue, so Allison Ferre has stepped in with a review:


The September Issue

September is the January of a fashionista's calendar, the month when new trends are set and designers reveal their fall collections. And if any one publication guides it all, it's Vogue, ruled by the perfectly coiffed and notoriously cold Anna Wintour. In The September Issue, director C.J. Cutler gained unprecedented access to track the creation of Vogue's September 2007 issue, the largest and heaviest ever to hit newsstands. (Spoiler warning: Cover model Sienna Miller was almost airbrushed into oblivion.) The look that viewers get behind the office doors of New York's fashion Mecca is sharply comical and richly creative.more

Wintour, who notoriously influenced Meryl Streep's The Devil Wears Prada character, causes shakes in the most confident designers and gives stares that equate to a public bitch-slap, but her colorful supporting cast offsets her curtness. Creative director Grace Coddington is the unsung pack-mule of the operation. She continually turns out beautiful spreads featuring trends ahead of the curve, and behind her talent, she's actually likeable. Editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley makes several cameos to add volume to Coddington's subtle humor. The flamboyant, sashaying caricature of the fashion industry goes to play tennis draped in Louis Vuitton and wears kaftans and sunglasses indoors.

It's clear that the reach of Wintour's tentacles goes far beyond the fashion world. An advertisers meeting at the Ritz eerily resembles Zoolander's fashion mafia—Wintour is asked to influence shipment times. The film credits her as pioneering the fusion of fashion and celebrity and as being "controversial" in the '90s for her choice of cover models.

The staffers understand that people on the outside mock the $300 billion dollar industry, but Wintour dismisses those people as "frightened" by fashion. It is her passion. No one could put in the nine months of labor to create that issue if she didn't believe it had a profound impact. Though the liberal spending to produce never-published spreads is baffling, the film effectively peels back the glossy cover of Vogue to tell the compelling story of its industrious creators. But that is the paradox of the fashion industry: absurd artistry. PG-13. Opens today at Fox Tower.