Friday, 2 September 2011

Blast from the past: Must See - The September Issue

I think it is safe to say I love the world of magazines and newspapers and am fascinated by the print publishing industry, news and all things media. I would love to work for a well-established publication one day, and trust me, I am trying my best to get there!

One must see documentary for all wanna-be and current magazine journalists, who have a particular interest in fashion, is 'The September Issue' by R.J. Cutler. At my current place of work, we are often faced with creative differences, advertising issues and feature changes so I find it fascinating to see that all of these problems occur at the most famous fashion magazine as well as small publishing houses in urban Lincolnshire. Again, I have revisited an old post of mine from the old LC Issue and re-published the blog below - enjoy!

2nd January, 2010

"Fashion is a religion. This is the Bible."

One item I received for Christmas that I was ecstatic about was The September Issue, a documentary looking at the behind the scenes action of the most successful issue of Vogue magazine. I did not expect this present at all and as a trainee journalist who loves fashion more and more every day, this was perfect!

The September issue of 2007 reached 13 million people around the world and broke world records for the most pages in a monthly publication (847 pages and weighing over four pounds). The magazine itself is known as the fashion bible to the $300 billion fashion industry with world renowned Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour, leading the way.

The documentary, directed and produced by R.J. Cutler, shows us the hard work that goes into making one of the most influential magazines in existence, from production meetings and photo shoots to visiting fashion week and traveling all across Europe to get the right front cover image. It has appearances from some of the world's top designers from Karl Largerfeld, the creative director of Chanel and Oscar De La Renta as well as interviews with key members of the Vogue team including Grace Coddington, the creative director, Editor at Large Andre Leon Talley and interviews with Anna Wintour herself.

(Left: Grace Coddington (left) and Anna Wintour (right) at Fashion Week)

Anna is known for her trademark bob hairstyle and oversized sunglasses and having a strong opinion when it comes to the content and styles that appear in her magazine. In this film we get to see the woman behind the image, the way she works, how she manages her team and the influence she holds over the fashion industry. After growing up in 1960s Britain and experiencing the dramatic change in the fashion world, Anna worked in numerous magazines from Harpers and Queens magazine in London, to Harper's Bazaar in New York, back to London to work as Editor in Chief of British and eventually becoming Editor in Chief of American Vogue in 1988. She has also been awarded for her charity work, being involved with fundraisers for Aids charities raising $16 million dollars for Aids research. She has been awarded a Life Time Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and is also responsible for launching magazines under the Vogue brand Teen Vogue in 2001 and Men's Vogue in 2005.

Another character that is integral to the team is Grace Coddington, the creative director of Vogue. Her romantic style that she brings to the spreads makes her one of the most respected directors in the industry. Like Anna, she has worked for British Vogue before taking up her current position at American Vogue in 1995. She also modeled for Vogue after winning a competition in 1959. In this film you get to see her passion for the images portrayed in the magazine and the imaginative way she styles the clothes.

(Right: Vogue Magazine September 2007)

One reason why this documentary is fascinating because it shows the creative differences between the team but yet the most anticipated issue of the year is produced and breaks world records. We get to see how cover girl Sienna Miller is retouched, how Anna chooses the images and can call for re-shoots at the drop of a hat and how Grace feels about the rise in celebrity culture and the direction of fashion images. Even though there are some differences that occur it is inspiring to see the respect that they have not only for the publication but also for each other.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this documentary. As a journalism student it is fascinating to see how one of the worlds most respected magazines comes together as well as seeing the styling of the clothes, the models, the photo shoots and final designs. This documentary, I believe, is a must see for any fashionista out there.


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