The September Issue

One extremely positive thing about autumn in Toronto is that it signifies the arrival of Doc Soup. I love my monthly documentary dates at the Bloor Cinema and adore their popcorn, best in the city by far.

This month’s documentary offering was The September Issue, about Vogue magazine’s telephone book sized tome that is the most anticipated glossy of the year. The film is a behind the scenes look at what goes into developing the magazine, offering a glimpse of terrifying ice queen Anna Wintour in action.

Clad in a grubby old t-shirt, I dug into my extra buttered large popcorn, prepared to roll my eyes and guffaw at pin-thin models. I expected to do a lot of smirking at self important fashionistas pontificating about the importance of fashion, how it is high art and is changing the world.

I have to grudgingly admit that I have a new regard for the hard work and artistry that goes into Vogue magazine. The photo shoots looked beautiful and every detail is examined with a  fine toothed comb. I was in awe of creative director and genius Grace Coddington, a feisty redhead who refuses to tremble before the force that is Anna Wintour. It was intriguing to witness the power struggles between these two strong women which stood in sharp contrast to the other minions too afraid to voice any opinion not already sanctioned by the mighty Anna herself. Grace also seemed to be the only one wearing comfortable footwear. She was like a cool hippy grandma among a sea of uptight, coiffed sycophants.

Anna Wintour’s reputation as a frosty figure remains intact. Meryl Streep’s portrayal of her as a terrifying ice queen in The Devil Wears Prada seems to be accurate. She has intimidation down to an art with her stony silence and withering stare. I am certain I would turn into a pillar of salt if I came within a two block radius of her, but I came away from the film with a lot of respect for her as a decisive editor. Maybe our focus should be on Anna Wintour the brilliant editor rather than her icy persona. An arrogant blowhard male mogul would be judged first by his accomplishments. His personality would not be scrutinized or derided to the same extent that it is with powerful women like Anna Wintour or Martha Stewart. I may not want to go shopping at Goodwill with Anna, nor would I want Martha to come over for dinner, but they are certainly worthy of respect and admiration for thriving in male dominated industries.

Overall the first Doc Soup offering was a success. The popcorn was stellar, the movie was fantastic and I came away with a new found respect for scary Anna Wintour and acceptance that fashion can be art after all.

One Response to “The September Issue”

  1. Astra Says:

    I always enjoy your doc reviews! Keep ‘em comin’!