Feelgood Friday Film Club: The September Issue
- Nikki Baughan
- 29 May 2020
The latest in our series of feelgood streaming suggestions to help see you through lockdown
Think about a typical 'feelgood' movie, and a documentary may not immediately spring to mind, not least one about Vogue's indomitable editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and her efforts to pull together the legendary autumn fashion issue in 2007. Yet, over a decade after its making, 2009's The September Issue remains one of the must-see films about the media industry, and a fascinating, inspiring peek behind the scenes of the creative process.
With her sharp bob and steely stare, Wintour is a natural counterpoint for filmmaker RJ Cutler and, despite the fact that she is famously enigmatic, he does manage to shed some light on the passions and motivations behind the take-no-prisoners attitude. And, with the camera by her side at team meetings, catwalk shows and other events, her laser focus and unrelenting work ethic is certainly something to witness.
Yet Wintour doesn't dominate proceedings; Cutler spends plenty of time with her then-colleagues, including the flame-haired Grace Coddington, the former Welsh model turned Vogue creative director, who choreographs astonishing photo shoots and frequently butts heads with Wintour. Also present is the bombastic André Leon Talley, who was then editor-at-large at Vogue and whose encyclopaedic fashion knowledge and style know-how is revered by everyone, including Wintour herself. (The doc was, of course, filmed before the pair's relationship famously soured – his tell-all memoir detailing why has just been released.)
Indeed, the most compelling thing about The September Issue is that you don't have to be a fashionista to appreciate its charms. Moments in which the team pore over the flatplan, or engage in heated discussion, are just as enthralling as the outlandish outfits that eventually grace the pages of the magazine. As the whole team come together to shape this gargantuan issue, each bringing their own talents and opinions yet always working towards one singular vision, it's a triumph of collaborative endeavour.
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