Art Unravelled: The September Issue

October 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm (Art Unravelled, Fashion Focus)

“Don’t you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists of the century? Halston, Lagerfeld, de la Renta. And what they did, what they created was greater than art because you live your life in it… You think this is just a magazine, hmm? You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls. And what’s worse, you don’t care. Because this place, where so many people would die to work you only deign to work.” [“The Devil Wears Prada”, 20th Century Fox, 2006]

I am interested in fashion (although you would never know that to look at the way I dress). I admit that when I travel, I usually have a bevy of fashion mags in my carry-on. In the supermarket line, I have been known to sneak a peek at Elle or In Style. And in Barnes and Noble, I have even flipped through the pages of Lucky

septemberissueAnd while I’m confessing, I also loved the movie The Devil Wears Prada, mostly because of Meryl Streep’s portrayal of fashion high priestess Miranda Priestly. So, when I saw that the movie  The September Issue was being billed as “the real ‘Devil Wears Prada'”, I high tailed it over to the Galaxy to get acquainted with Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue.

The September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine weighed nearly five pounds, and was the single largest issue of a magazine ever published. With unprecedented access, filmmaker R.J. Cutler tells the story of legendary Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her larger-than-life team of editors, including Vogue’s Creative Director Grace Coddington and American Editor-at-Large Andre Leon Talley.

The biggest surprise of the documentary for me was not the unprecedented access to Wintour, but the artistry of Coddington.

“At the eye of this annual fashion hurricane is the two decade relationship between Wintour and Grace Coddington, incomparable creative director and fashion genius. They are perectly matched for the age-old conflict between creator and curator.” [The September Issue, official movie website]

Coddington’s collaboration with Vogue photographers results in visionary photographs, which taken outside the context of the magazine stand alone as works of art. [Click here to view Coddington’s 1920’s inspired spread featured in the movie] By the end of the film it becomes clear that while Wintour often appears to have no heart, Coddington is the beating heart of the magazine.

While probably better suited for A&E Television or The Biography Channel (the movie ran a little long), The September Issue was the perfect guilty pleasure for a rainy, Monday afternoon.

Readers in Raleigh will have to wait for “The September Issue” to come out on video next February.  To view Grace Coddington’s 1920’s inspired photos (featured in the movie), visit


1 Comment

  1. Kim said,

    Love this write up! When I lived in NY, fashion was everywhere. Here in Raleigh, we have to look a little harder…..but it’s there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: