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VOGUE ON FILM — AT LAST: Filmmaker R.J. Cutler may not have intended his film about Vogue, “The September Issue,” to chronicle the last hurrah of the luxury boom, but as it turns out, his eight months of inside access to Anna Wintour and her team as they prepared Vogue’s biggest issue ever, September 2007, came just before the economy (and the magazine industry’s ad pages) took a nosedive. The film, which draws from 300 hours of footage, screens at Sundance this weekend, and Wintour will attend the premiere. “I’m thrilled she’s supporting the film, which is a reflection of how she feels about it,” Cutler told WWD.
Cutler has said it was Wintour’s idea to frame the film around the creation of the September issue, and that he had final cut over the footage. “My observation with the creativity in the hallways and offices is that Vogue is like the mist. You don’t think it’s raining and all of a sudden you’re soaking wet,” Cutler said.
In addition to exploring Vogue’s work process, “The September Issue” delves into Wintour’s relationships with her late father, legendary British newspaper editor Charles Wintour, and daughter Bee Shaffer, as well as with creative director Grace Coddington. Cutler said Coddington was particularly resistant to the camera crews at first. “She couldn’t throw us out of the building because she’s not the boss,” he recalled. “Anna’s the boss and she had invited us in. But she was unhappy to see us. And when Grace is unhappy to see you, that’s not the place anyone wants to be. God bless her, she [eventually] gave us a chance.”
Thakoon Panichgul has a particularly prominent role, and there are appearances by Oscar de la Renta, Patrick Demarchelier, Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière, Jean Paul Gaultier, Stefano Pilati, Phillip Lim and Isabel Toledo, among others.
There is a moment in the film when Wintour contemplates the end of her career, the subject of more than one recent — and oft-denied — rumor. Cutler was cagey: “I have to let the film speak for itself on that.”
— Irin Carmon