Now if fashion people hate cameras, how did RJ Cutler manage to get all of this on film? Making a documentary, especially one like The September Issue, can be tricky business. While fashion people may spend their days on the sets of photoshoots, it’s another matter entirely when they themselves are the focus of the camera’s lens. It was a wonder that Cutler was even able to capture the relationship between Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour. According to Cutler, Coddington vehemently declared that she would not be a part of the documentary when she saw the cameras around the Vogue office for the first time. It took nearly a year for the director to gain her trust.
Wintour herself could have been, Cutler said, “an easy target.” The September Issue could have been a revealing mockery of Anna’s power and status in the fashion industry, which would have easily destroyed her reputation. But according to Cutler, trust was the key to getting the story he wanted. “It really is about being who you say you are,” he said. His intentions were not to bash Anna or Grace in the first place,
ANNA WINTOUR & GRACE CODDINGTON
But regardless of how stubborn Coddington may be, Wintour, as the editor in chief, always gets the last say in what goes to print. What keeps viewers watching the movie is seeing the dejected frustration in Grace when Anna unapologetically cuts her best work from being printed in the issue. It’s a relationship that mostly everyone can relate to, Cutler said.
and it was important to build a basis of trust on that notion between him and the office. As the months of filming went on, the dynamic between Coddington and Wintour became apparent. The relationship between the romantic, idealistic stylist and decisive, practical editor was something that no one had seen before – but definitely one that everyone can can relate to, Cutler said. Grace is just as influential in the fashion industry as Wintour; one editor at Vogue remarked to Cutler that when Grace gives up her position at the
magazine, the whole of the fashion world will change. But it was her tenuous relationship with Wintour that became the crux of the movie. Another stunning moment in the movie was the interview with Wintour in which she remarks on the way her family members – many of whom also work in print media – react to her profession.
“They are very amused by what I do,” Wintour said in the movie. I’m sure most other fashionistas wondered how Cutler was able to keep that scene in the movie and keep his head at the same time! It seems that he got the Ice Queen of fashion to thaw out a little bit, if only for the sake of the documentary. Sarah Khan
FRV Issue 1