Sundance Review: The September Issue

January 17, 2009
I know we've got some Vogue devotees out there, so listen up: The September Issue is not -- I repeat -- NOT to be missed. If you're here at Sundance, make it a point to see a screening. If you're stuck in your hometown, this film is sure to get a distribution deal, so sit tight and wait for it to hit theaters soon. The September Issue is a new documentary from R.J. Cutler. It follows high priestess of fashion (and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue) Anna Wintour and her staff as they prepare for the biggest issue of the year. (Note: If you're a fashion novice, it may be helpful to know that Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada is based on Wintour.) Cutler and his crew were given unprecedented access to the Vogue offices in New York City and followed the magazine's fashion editors and stylists on shoots around the world. They shot 300 hours of film in nine months, which were whittled down to 90 minutes to make this unique and compelling film. At the heart of the story is the struggle between Wintour and Grace Coddington, Vogue's creative director with a reputation of being one of the best -- if not the absolute best -- stylist working in fashion today. Both women have worked at the publication for 20 years and both have strong points of view, but ultimately, Wintour is the boss, so if she wants to cut Coddington's work from the magazine, she will -- and seemingly without a pang of remorse. Also featured in the film is Vogue's editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, an unabashedly fabulous gentleman with a larger-than-life persona. Talley is fashion and offers quips and opinions with a biting but always funny bent. A favorite scene is watching him play tennis decked out in designer gear with a Louis Vuitton towel draped just so around his neck. The best of the best in fashion are peppered throughout The September Issue, with appearances by Vera Wang, Jean Paul Gaultier, Mario Testino, the design houses of Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar de la Renta, and many many more. Get a taste of what the doc has in store by checking out this sneak peek at the film (and get to know R.J. Cutler!)