For as inept as I am when it comes to makeup and clothes – if it were socially acceptable, I would go around barefoot wearing hippie skirts and never brush my hair – I am nonetheless fascinated by fashion and the world that has been created around it.
This is mainly because I’m a sucker for tragedy. The runways are filled with hungry young women – hungry for fame, money, love, acceptance, and perhaps most of all, a big fucking sandwich.
Even more interesting are the people who helped create this artificial, impossible standard of female beauty. And no one can argue that one of the main culprits is Anna Wintour.
Vogue editor-in-chief since 1988 and famously aloof bitch, the skinny 60-year-old’s trademark dark sunglasses and severe bob have become iconic, as has her tendency to overuse the one F word that seems to matter more than any other in modeling. In her position of power, she has the last word in what is considered "in." And each year, it all starts in September, the "January of fashion."
The 2009 documentary The September Issue follows Wintour and the Vogue team as they plan and shoot the largest issue in Vogue history, weighing in at nearly five pounds and being hailed as the "Bible" of fashion.
As a documentary, September is most revealing in what it ignores: most people aren’t chauffeured to Starbucks each morning, taken seriously for saying things like “I’m really feeling whites this season,” or aware of who designed their gym towels. The only outsider’s perspective comes from Wintour’s daughter, a 20-something law student who feels "there’s more to life than fashion."
Despite Wintour’s apparent obliviousness to the fact that most designer clothes are not accessible to anyone who is not both rich and thin – the documentary opens with her saying most people avoid or poke fun of "her world" because they are "afraid" of it – there is something to be admired in the singularity of her vision. She knows what she wants, and she knows how to present it in a way that inspires both interest and desire.