I ﬁnally saw The September Issue last Monday, a bit after our Christchurch writer, Jolene Williams, who ﬁled the ofﬁcial Lucire review. I agree with her words but need to add one thing: for 90 minutes, I was constantly reminded of work and probably was the only person walking out of the cinema more wound up than before I went in. Si Newhouse and the late Steven Florio looked comparatively relaxed. If youâre in this profession already, consider this a warning.
I was a guest of Harryâs, which time and time again proves to me that itâs a store that understands style. I donât just mean that it has a nice selection of Day Birger et Mikkelsen and many other labels; it oozes that indeﬁnable quality and unselﬁshly shares it with its clientĂ¨le.
Not only did it treat a bunch of its customers to the showing of The September Issue at the Penthouse Cinema in Brooklyn (thatâs the Wellington, New Zealand âburb) to celebrate its ﬁrst anniversary, earlier in the month customers were invited to a dinner at CafĂŠ Polo where stylist Lisa OâNeill spoke, and at the beginning of the month, Alison Bartley came and talked about video art (above) at the 31 Dundas Street, Seatoun (64 4 388-1020) store. Veuve Clicquot was served, which was more than enough to tempt me to opt for an evening of ﬁne wine and art education over a vodka launch the same night. (Nautilus was served at CafĂŠ Polo, and itâs the best mĂŠthode traditionelle I have sampled.)
Harryâs does something that few other shops do. We all hear about âpersonal serviceâ, but as far as most places are concerned, that ends once the cash register is sounded and the goods are taken out of the store. Few try to build up a personalized community, using the serving of good taste as their brand-building means; fewer still exist in the new world. I almost feel as though I am back on the Continent, in my 9e arrondissement neighbourhood stores in Paris.
I donât heap praise lightly, but given that I am running for mayor, itâs an additional pleasure to have truly stylish shops in our city.
Above Stills from The September Issue.
Vogue editor Anna Wintour is likened to the Pope in R. J. Cutlerâs documentary The September Issue. With a divine omnipotence, a single-arched eyebrow reduces ﬂamboyant designers to stuttering school boys. A ﬂick of her bony, bangled wrist condemns a $50,000 photo shoot to the scrap heap.
Her powers are heralded throughout the worldâs fashion industry. But with this respect comes fear, for Anna Wintour is also abrupt, rude and often downright mean.
The September Issue was ﬁlmed over nine months from inside Vogueâs New York headquarters in 2007. It chronicles the ﬁnal days bringing together the September issueâan almighty tome that surpasses all others in size, stature and signiﬁcance.
In 2007, the September Vogue informed 13 million women across America that beige was the new tan, jackets were the new coats and the latest trend was now last seasonâs trash.
This is ripe material for a ﬂy-on-the-wall study. Imagine the drama, cat-ﬁghts and absurd situations inside this high-pressured, but well clad, environment. Vogue, one suspects, is not your typical inner-city ofﬁce.
But Cutler and his crew fail to capitalize on the richness of their surroundings. The footage uncovers a myriad of stories itching to be told. Instead, the ﬁlm-makers seem overwhelmed by choice. The result is a series of half-baked ideas that introduce, but do not explore, these piquant narrative strands.
There is, for example, the taut relationship between Anna and Vogueâs creative director, Grace Coddington. Grace is amongst the industryâs most acclaimed creative heads and is the artistic vision to Annaâs business-savvy management.
Their relationship embodies the tension between art and commerce, emotion and business, personal and professional demands. These are intriguing issues that deserve time for deeper analysis. But the camera moves all too quickly, merely skimming the surface of issues that underpin ofﬁce dynamics.
Graceâs presence in the ﬁlm overshadows Anna as the key player. With her ﬂy-away orange hair and history to tell, Grace is far more interesting and personable than the ﬁercely guarded Anna.
The ﬁlm manages to capture glimpses of the real Anna Wintour. She can be polite, caring and funny. She falls short of revealing personal detail, but tears spring to her eyes when she mentions her over-achieving siblings and their attitude towards the fashion industry.
The hand-held camera creates a sense of capturing unscripted reality. Much like the television series The Ofﬁce, the documentary captures awkward silences, unintentional slips and tell-tale body language.
The September Issue offers a refreshingly honest view of the fashion industry. It downplays the glamour and opulence in favour for the real people behind the magazine. It captures them at work, without make-up and without free designer goodies. Montages of runway shows, models and enormous wardrobes make an obligatory appearance, but the documentary does not rest on ﬂashy imagery to sustain the audienceâs attention for ninety minutes.
The September Issue offers light entertainment and will undoubtedly appeal to female audiences worldwide. But for those expecting something more substantial will ﬁnd its lack of direction wholly unsatisfying.âJolene Williams
Filed under: celebrity, culture, entertainment, fashion, history, journalism, living, Lucire, media, New York, New Zealand, publishing, society
Above Nathalie Rykiel, President and Artistic Director at Sonia Rykiel.
Sonia Rykiel will be the next guest designer for Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the Swedish company announced today.
Rykiel follows a long line of famous designers, including Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld and Viktor & Rolf, who have created accessible collections for the mass-market retailer.
Her designs will be for the winter 2009 and spring 2010 seasons, and will include lingerie and related accessories for the ﬁrst time. The initial exclusive pieces hit the stores on December 5, with the collection being launched in 1,500 locations worldwide.
In addition, Rykiel will make her lingerie collection available in her major boutiques, marking another ﬁrst.
A second collaboration for spring 2010 features a knitwear collection for women and girls aged 1Â˝ to 8, launching at 250 H&M stores on February 20, says the company.
âSonia Rykiel is a true fashion icon who invented a signature style around femininity, Parisian chic and modernityâas well as functional, comfortable, wearable clothes. She has an attitude that inspires admiration among women of all ages around the world,â said H&M creative adviser Margareta van den Bosch in the companyâs release. âWe loved the joyful chic of Sonia Rykielâs 40th anniversary runway showâand in that spirit this collection is all about revelling in great lingerie for its own sake. This is a totally modern, new kind of lingerie look, and when we started to work together with Rykiel on it, we just couldnât stop.â
âThe Sonia Rykiel pour H&M lingerie collection is the ideal way to offer the essence of Rykiel to a great number of women around the world, and a beautiful way to close the year. The knitwear collection is perfect for welcoming a colourful new season,â says Nathalie Rykiel, president and artistic director of Sonia Rykiel.
Sonia Rykiel founded her company in Paris in 1968, with her daughter, Nathalie, joining in 1975. It remains family-owned.
Above Nico Tortorella and Mischa Barton in The Beautiful Life.
We didnât think the CWâs The Beautiful Life would last long, but we didnât expect it to be canned after two episodes.
It didnât help that one of its stars, Anglo-American actress Mischa Barton, sought psychiatric treatment months before the seriesâ dĂŠbut, leading producers (including Ashton Kutcher) to assure the network that there was a back-up plan.
While tabloids centred around Bartonâs health problems, there didnât seem to be that much attention for The Beautiful Life among those who might have checked out a series about the New York fashion scene.
Itâs easy for us to discuss this in hindsight, but the signs were there: the announcement that Elle Macpherson had been cast, which we covered, didnât get many viewers for us. In fact, the BBCâs Material Girl is receiving more interest at Lucireâand thatâs on a site that has many more American readers than British ones.
The network, and Kutcher, had high hopes for the series, and the CW had paired it with Americaâs Next Top Model.
But that might have not been the wisest move, either. Those who watch reality shows might not wish to indulge in ﬁctionalized exploits. The September Issue had shown, too, that in the world of fashion, reality is far more interesting.
The CW has announced that Melrose Place re-runs will take the place of The Beautiful Life. Six episodes were ﬁlmed, but there is no announcement on when the remaining four would air. Viewer numbers had dropped from 1Âˇ4 million to 1 million for the second episode, according to ratings.