Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Soul Purpose

Review of The September Issue: The Vogue Documentary Film

The September Issue is far from your conventional ‘chick flick’. If it is ‘It’ bags, Prada dresses and Christian Louboutin heels that you are looking for you have come to the wrong place. The September Issue is in fact a documentary; a real life, factually objective film. So one can make one’s own mind up as to what the fashion industry stands for.

For some, The September Issue will illustrate the publishing house as materialistic, pretentious, and trivial. Those same old demeaning adjectives used by people that just do not understand what fashions about. Anna Wintour opens up the documentary with a polemical protest for fashion, setting the tone for the rest of the piece: ‘Just because you like to put on a beautiful Carolina Herrera dress or a pair of J Brand blue jeans instead of something basic from Kmart - it doesn't mean that you are dumb person.’

For others, The September Issue is a chance for eager fashionistas to have a snoop at what really goes down in Vogue head office. And it seems – thank the Lord – the magazine is not run by a clique of privileged L.A. princesses, but a group of middle-aged men and women with their heads firmly screwed on. Behind the glossy glamour and the couture clothes sits a team of hardworking artists and academics that work conscientiously for a cause that they truly believe in.

So what is this cause? Well The September Issue does not exactly answer that question, nor does it seek to do so. However, the documentary does illustrate the artistic depth and conceptual meaning behind fashion design. It is cleverly constructed to get its audience to reassess the importance of fashion in society, and the integral role it plays within identity construction.

The magazine is marked for its standard of excellence both editorially and visually. Vogue has published some of the most significant, influential and imaginative photographic shoots in contemporary art including writings on the arts, culture and politics. Thus, the issues Vogue are from inconsequential. Alan Behr and Julie Hackett Behr state: ‘can it really be just about vanity, or is something else, something deeper and more resonant, at work?’ The way in which we portray ourselves every morning is intrinsically linked to identity, self-representation and character definition. Clothes are the art that we wear every single day. For Grace Coddington (Vogue’s Creative Director) fashion is not just about clothes but about the fantasy that they inspire within us.

If there is one thing that The September Issue seeks to portray, it is the essence of beauty attached to the fashion industry. At the heart of Vogue is a relationship with fashion and clothes intrinsically linked to the soul. Thus, next time you pick up an issue take the time to understand the Vogue philosophy.

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