Friday, July 15, 2011

Just finished watching The September Issue, about Vogue and what it's like to create a monthly fashion magazine. And what it's like to work for Anna Wintour, the editor in chief, widely known as the meanest woman in the world.

She doesn't come off as the meanest woman in the world in the film.

However, this lady up here, Grace Coddington, who is (oh, let me grab a copy that's lying around here somewhere) (Because if there's not a Vogue, a New Yorker and a cookbook somewhere around, it must not be my house.) Anyway, Ms. Coddington is the creative director, and the film turns into a meditation on her - her art, her eye, her history, the way she sees fashion. She comes across as a down-to-earth woman navigating a sea of laregly manufactured drama, an artist among merchants, a sensitive soul and an island of charm and good humor.

She clomps around in flat shoes, loose at the heel - the same shoes in every scene, with every utilitarian black ensemble - and walks like a truckdriver, as so many models do. She was raised in rural Wales, and won an amateur modeling competition in 1960, which led to her work at British and then American Vogue. She's marvelous.

The other thing I LOVED about this movie was the way it was shot, and the fact that, though it's documenting a project with deadlines (and in fact, communicating a sense of urgency is very much part of the filmaker's job here) , the film lingers wonderfully over a designer's process of creating a garment, and shows the beauty and excitement of couture showings in a really, really excellent way. Yeah, I'm a sewer, so a nicely-felled seam and an interesting pair of shoes really does it for me. But this is a beautiful film.

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