Sunday, October 4, 2009

Movie Review: "The September Issue".

Yesterday I saw the movie documentary "The September Issue". It narrates the inside making of the September issue of Vogue magazine, traditionally their biggest issue of the year, mostly because of all the adverts and because it features all the new fall/winter trends.
The movie gives a great insight into the work and personality of Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Andre Leon Talley, Mario Testino and other major players in the fashion industry.
I saw a lot of similarities with situations that have arisen in my life.
For many years I have asked myself, Why Anna? Why HER?
I have also read her biography (Front Row: Anna Wintour: What Lies Beneath the Chic Exterior of Vogue's Editor in Chief by Jerry Oppenheimer) and it shocked me in a way. This woman is disputably the most powerful one in the fashion industry and she has done NOTHING right.
She dropped out of High School. She dropped out of fashion school. She is KNOWN for being problematic, political and not getting along with others. If you look at her with completely objective eyes, she does not have the best personal style, really.
She is not congenial, caring or even very innovative. All she did was scheme, and put celebrities on the covers and maybe increase advertisers but I am not thinking that was that much of a stretch of the imagination as far as strategic thinking is concerned. I mean she does NOT write, edit, style, ANYTHING. She just vets the incredibly good hard work of others including the incredibly talented Ms. Coddington.
I have always thought that in order to run any business, you have to be able to do all of the jobs of the people working for you except you have to be able to do them better so you can tell them how to improve the work.
In my career in medical writing and marketing I have so far encountered several of these women who cannot do ANYTHING on their own yet through politics, intrigue and backstabbing maintain high positions of power without any talent or hard work to back it up. It drives me crazy because I am one of the Grace Coddingtons of the world. I graduated and toiled through degrees in Biomedical Sciences AND Writing AND Fashion. I CAN write and edit. For any audience I choose. I CAN style, Geezus, I can kick Rachel Zoe's bony, non-existent arse, because I can style on-trend for a size 18, 20 or 26!!! I can sew. I can do make-up. I can edit and use word and powerpoint like nobody's business. I am, like Grace Coddington, a nice, classy, cordial, ethical, decent human being who plays FAIR. I believe in moving up in your career because of what you have accomplished not who you blackmail, who your Dad is or who you slept with and in treating people with kindness. And I KNOW you can run a successful business under those principles because one of my best supervisors operated by them.
What I came out of the movie thinking is that Anna Wintour is a genius at getting others to submit to her authority unquestioningly (or at least questioning it very little) and at surrounding herself with very talented people.

Andre Leon Talley is a trip and a half and as over the top as you would expect him to be. Louis Vuitton monogram EVERYTHING including towel and what not. And who is Anna to comment and dictate on the body shape and size of everyone who works there?
I have followed Andre's weight saga and I think the poor man is a Luther Vandross waiting to happen. All the yo-yo dieting and dysregulation of glucose homeostasis is going to eventually kill him. Not the weight. If he embraced HAES and sent the "thin is better (or healthier)" mentality to hell he would be just fine.
It is a good and very entertaining movie and it gave me a great insight into what goes into publishing a major fashion glossy. I also got to get a glimpse into the work of incredibly talented and inspired people like Mario Testino, Miss Coddington and Patrick Demarchelier.

Here is a clip of the movie.... If you are a fashion person, it is a movie that it would be worth getting on DVD. And yes, the clothes are to die for!


Angie said...

Me encanto leer tu nota. Durante mucho tiempo yo la admire sin cuestionarlo y ahora reflexionando tus palabras tienen mucho sentido.
Igual algo debe hacer bien, porque mantener semejante poder a traves de los anios no debe ser sencillo.
Gracias por la reflexion!

Milla said...

A mi tambien me pasaba lo mismo Angie.
Hasta que lei la biografia y investigue mas su vida y su carrera.
Pues si, lo que hace bien es mantener su poder rodeandose de gente muy talentosa y por medio de movimientos politicos.
Y claro muchisimo dinero e imagen de por medio.
Pero yo pienso que tal vez alguien que operara con mas transparencia y que tuviera mas aptitudes avanzaria mas el mundo de la moda y le abriria la puerta a mas gentes con talento pero tal vez sin las conecciones o posicion social. Eso llevaria la moda a una posicion mas democratica y pienso que ayudaria a que se respetara mas como ambito.