On a rainy Friday afternoon, I scoured the Internet for a theater in the city showing the A&E Documentary, September Issue. Appropriately, it was playing in Chelsea. Off I went, Fiance in tow (on one of his rare day off this summer.) 90 minutes of pure cinematic bliss.
The documentary opens with an intimate shot of Anna Wintour, sitting in her home answering questions into the camera. She tells us that people who take care in selecting the clothes they put on their bodies are no less intelligent than those who prefer ordinary pieces from 'Kmart.' (There really isn't any condescension when she says 'Kmart', rather she equates the brand with 'ordinary', as in the prevailing, everyday choice for millions of Americans.)
For those moviegoers anticipating a dramatic plot, replete with suspense, life lessons, and endless glamor, you may find disappointment. September Issue is a raw view inside the bowels of a worldwide entity. There is glamor (a plethora of sumptuous frocks, feathers, brocade) and there is heartbreak (the kind that afflicts Grace Coddington, creative director of Vogue, when her painstaking shots are repeatedly 'killed' by Anna). There were times I felt a chill (perhaps from Anna's icy gaze when head designer of Yves Saint Laurent informed her that he was feeling all neutral, no color for his fall collection) and times I felt inspired (to organize my abounding issues of Vogue, Elle, and Harper's into chronological stacks in a chic white-washed bookcase). We see Anna's humanity in several scenes, one with her teenage daughter (who feels fashion is 'funny' and has no intention of getting into the industry) and again with designer Thakoon, where she wished him well with his successful partnership with retail giant the Gap.
Anna is a savvy business woman, who knows what she wants, and knows how to create a magazine that millions of women will read. (I might suggest she steps down to the streets of Manhattan a tad more often to comprehend the true needs of the modern woman, and include more affordable designs in her pages.) Overall, I loved the experience offered by September issue. I will see it again with anyone who wants to go!