‘September Issue’ offers insight into fashion world

Posted 9/26/09

Film director R.J. Cutler is especially known for “The War Room,” his documentary about Bill Clinton’s campaign, and his latest film, …

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‘September Issue’ offers insight into fashion world


Film director R.J. Cutler is especially known for “The War Room,” his documentary about Bill Clinton’s campaign, and his latest film, “September Issue” records precise strategies too. The documentary, screened at Sundance and other prominent film festivals prior to wider release, is about creation of the September issue of Vogue magazine, a glossy, thick “Bible” for an industry that inspires not only creative involvement, but considerable scorn.

It is a fascinating, in depth look at a world unfamiliar to most, at how the mega issue is created, and at the geniuses involved— regardless of one’s political view of the fashion world, brilliant minds are involved.

Central to the story is legendary editor Anna Wintour, daughter of a British journalist, said to be cool and abrasive. (Think Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada,” fashioned after Wintour’s reputation). While she is clearly firm about her vision, she also has vulnerable moments, including introductory comments about attitudes towards the $300 billion dollar global fashion industry.

The annual September issue of Vogue spells out what’s in style and also looks at current art and ideas. The film follows production of the four-pound 2007 issue, the biggest ever with 840 pages, over eight months. (The 2009 issue contains 584 pages).

Creative director Grace Coddington, the one who dares to disagree with her editor, works intensely through the process with flaming shoulder-length red hair flying, seeing amazing photo layouts created under her vision. A former model, until injured in an accident, she is probably the star of this tale, which is particularly about the relationship between two remarkable women and the other employees who feed ideas and various special skills into the final product.

Following an initial by-invitation screening by The Gilt Groupe at the Landmark Theatre in Greenwood Village, the film opened at several art theaters (currently the Esquire) and is being promoted nationally. Gilt Groupe is a rapidly growing national multi-million dollar company that offers daily sales of designer fashions and luxury items online to 1.3 million registered members at discounts of up to 70 percent. It was founded in 2007 by Alexis Maybank, an early e Bay employee and partners and has attracted capital investment. (See www.gilt.com for a look at a new business model).

Maybank spoke briefly at the screening and appeared at an after-party at Jing, organized by local members Amanda Bennett, Lauren Brownstein, Lauren Cannon Davis, Auna Jornayvaz, Sharon Castrow Leone and Monica Owens.


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