Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reviewing - The September Issue

I bet you all didn’t know there is this facet of me…

I had been writing this review since last year, but was unable to complete it somehow. I decided to just clean up and post whatever which I had written.

Though  “fat”  and  “fashion” does not rhymes, but in recent years, under the  influence  of fashion-related TV shows i.e. America Next Top Model, Project  Runway,  Ugly  Betty  and The Devil Wears Prada, I have taken a keener  interest  in  Fashion.  Not that I have become more stylish as a result  (on  the contrary I have none to speak of), but I have grew more curious about the industry.

2009 seems to be a year dedicated to powerful women in the fashion industry. Earlier showing in Singapore, there was the movie “Coco Avant Chanel”. A movie supposedly about Mademoiselle before she became the legendary “Coco Chanel”. I too had wanted to watch it but did not manage to do so before it went down. Then after that, there was the documentary movie “The September Issue”.

Directed by RJ Cutler, the man who made the documentary titled “The War Room” which famously documented the Clinton’s (Mr Clinton’s) presidential campaign. The September Issue talks about how Vogue editor team worked on and published the largest issue (to date) of magazine in September 2007. Interestingly, the movie also gave a rare insight of how Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of America’s Vogue, run the magazine.

This movie can’t come at a better time, I feel. “The Devil Wears Prada” book was supposedly based on her. There were much speculations on whether she is really as the “devilish” or hard to work with as portrayed in the book/movie. This movie captured her at work, letting us to judge for ourselves on what kind of a person she really is.

Like Anna described herself, she is a very decisive person. I can definitely see that quality of her in the documentary. Anna knows what she wants and articulate her likes and dislikes to her staff clearly. So decisive she was that she will not hesitate to take out a millions dollars worth of photo shoots if it will not work in the magazine. 

She is also very goal driven person. Her father suggested to her that she should be editor of Vogue when she was young and amazingly she never derailed from her father’s wishes since then. Of course, there is also the pageboy bob haircut which she had stick to for decades. I am very amazed by her determination. How many of us can really stick to one thing and hold onto it till the end? It takes a lot from a person to do so.

Despite all the notorious criticisms of her, many of the staff at Vogue had worked under her for years, some even decades. In her own words, if she is really that bad of a person, then her staff must be a glutton for punishment.

While many people had known her to be cold (not sure if it was inherently a Brit thing), but she does have a warm side.  Other than Anna Wintour – The Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, she is also a mother.

I remembered most vividly of the scene where the director interviewed Anna’s daughter, whom she affectionately called “Bee”. Director asked what Bee would like to do as a career which she promptly replied that she is interested in Law. As Bee was elaborating, the camera turned towards Anna. Despite remained smilingly, there is a disappointing look in her eyes. Anna had hoped that her daughter would want to become an editor of Vogue like herself. Perhaps sensing the disappointment from her mum, Bee knowingly turned and apologised to her mum before she continued to elaborate on her choice.

I also remembered the movie ended with interview scene with Anna where she was first asked on what she thinks is her strength, which she had replied “Decisiveness”. When asked of her weakness, she replied in a somewhat resigned smile “My children”.

There is no doubt that Anna Wintour is a talented woman. She had helped to launch many famous designers’ career. That is an unrivaled contribution to the fashion industry. However, it was always conveniently overlooked by others. At times, I cannot help but to wonder whether criticisms were directed to her because of her gender. Would people still be so critical of her if she is not woman?

What do you think?

Check out the official trailer of The September Issue

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