Monday, September 14, 2009

Last night I saw The September Issue, a documentary following the creation of the September 2007 issue of Vogue and its editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour. Either the movie wasn't heavily promoted, or I am just that out of the main stream media loop, because this weekend was the first I'd heard of it. I thought it was fascinating, really and truly. While I was watching the movie, I kept thinking of all the great discussion points that could be generated not only about the movie, but about the world behind this fashion empire in general. I found myself wanting a book-club like wrap up session in the theatre afterwards. So...go see the movie and then come back and tell me what you thought.

Here are my thoughts:
  • As a friend pointed out and I agreed with, it's fascinating to see a place like Vogue, which has been mystified into this larger than life dream world, as just an office like all the rest of ours, with unclear feedback, nervous idea pitches and catty chatter.
  • I loved that as everyone else was touting about how Anna is the most influential person in the fashion world, she was pulling out cover spreads to ask the opinion of her 20 something daughter. It just made her seem so....normal.
  • The dynamic between Anna Wintour and Vogue's Creative Director, Grace Coddington was fantastic. It was so interesting to see two very strong willed women working together, who didn't always agree, but respected each others work and artistic talents.
  • A second note on Grace. I thought it was also fascinating how other individuals in the office would automatically defer to Anna's opinion regardless of whether it matched their own. Grace unequivocally spoke her mind (professionally and tactfully) and encouraged coworkers to be stronger in their opinions as well. I admire both her courage to do this in the workplace, and the idea of having the sense of job security to disagree strongly and hold true to your convictions. Whether this holds true for everyone in the office, I won't attempt a guess, but having worked in offices where this was not the reality, it was inspiring.
  • Please look people in the eye when speaking. It terribly disconcerting to the other person when you don't. This was a discussion point on the way home. Is this part of what gives Anna her elusive power, that is often referred to? Not in my opinion. In my opinion strong confidence and leadership is commanded with eye contact. But I'm not the editor-in-chief of Vogue, so you can take it or leave it with my opinion. Thoughts?
  • Always edit ruthlessly. It's a far overlooked talent in life.


  1. I saw this movie friday and loved it as well! I thought the most interesting aspect of it for me was to see how a magazine is produced (down to the printing!)
    The film makers obviously had formed a bond with Grace and created her as a very sympathetic character, while Anna seemed a bit heartless (except for the scenes with her daughter which I adored!).
    Now I just need to see Valentino the last emporer and my fashion movie watching for the year will be complete!

  2. I saw it in Chinatown. I don't know if it's playing at E Street.

    I still haven't seen seen Coco, so I'm playing a little catch up with my fashion movies this fall! Yes, Valentino is next on the list too.