As The Devil Wears Prada is one of my favourite movies of 2006 (especially given Meryl Streep’s amazing performance), and Vogue’s September issue is one of the few fashion magazines I regularly buy, I was excited to hear about a movie called The September Issue, which chronicles the making of the 2007 edition of that very issue.
Unfortunately, the movie is not nearly as thrilling as I thought it would be. It's supposed to be a documentary about Anna Wintour and not just any September issue, but rather the 2007 September issue of Vogue, which happens to be its biggest one to date. This is saying a lot, since the September issue is already Vogue’s biggest one of the year. And I suppose that, seeing how Anna Wintour is so private, it probably was rather difficult for the producers to get into her bubble.
And while the movie is interesting (how could it not be?), it falls flat in achieving its goal of showing how Vogue’s September issue came together, and Anna Wintour’s role in its production. The movie itself is visually captivating and well shot, taking us into places most of us have never and will never visit ourselves (amongst others, it gives us a great inside view of what the New York offices of Vogue look like). The soundtrack is also well chosen and greatly enhances the scenes. The first disc in this two-disc set contains the film itself, along with five deleted scenes.
But rather than being a ride into the bowels of the making of said issue, the movie feels more like a haphazard series of clips filmed during the months before its publication rather than a well thought-out series of chronological clips showing Vogue readers as well as other viewers how the process starts and how it comes together. The movie goes off on interesting yet irrelevant tangents that detract from its main objective.
Consequently, The September Issue feels more like an episode of The Office: Vogue rather than a standalone documentary. One notable aspect is the fact that nowhere in the documentary do you see anything that has to do with the written content of the magazine. It might not be as glamorous a process as the various gorgeous photo shoots that were done for the September issue of Vogue, but the quality of the writing in the magazine (from the topics chosen to the articles themselves) certainly doesn’t come without a lot of hard work that is barely touched upon. And so, the movie left me with a vague sense of dissatisfaction, as I still don’t know how the September issue was put together and only have a sense of it.