The September Issue (2009): R.J Cutler, Anna Wintour, Thakoon Panichgul
Jenna Levandowski and Liz Miller
The September Issue is an expose into the life of Vogue magazine which centers around the intimidating, successful, and talented editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour. Since 1988, Anna Wintour has held her editor-in-chief position at one of the top and most prestigious and well respected fashion magazines in the United States. She has used the magazine to completely shape the fashion industry and is even quoted in the film as “the most powerful woman in the world”. This documentary reveals what is behind the finished product of the magazine and how much effort and meticulous planning goes into every single advertisement, picture, and article that make up the many pages of the september issue.
When one in ten women will buy a copy of Vogue, the messages and illustrations within the magazine will undoubtedly influence and affect the minds of their consumers. Similarly, if you take into account pass along readership, all the people who skim through the pages of Vogue in a doctor’s office, or at a hair salon, will absorb these same messages creating a magazine that has the power to change the way we think about fashion and its role in society. The advertising and fashion industry, which one can argue are about the same thing, have an immense impact on the way we perceive reality and adopt expectations within our society. As Baran writes, “graphics are used to create meaning” (117) and the meanings become assimilated into our everyday lives. The models, clothing, and products being sold in Vogue sell a lifestyle that we as consumers are told to strive for. Equivalently with the addition of celebrity culture being linked with the fashion world the “reality” that is shown and sold through these forms of media do not accurately depict what is obtainable within our actual society.
From watching the September Issue you see all the work that gets done on the models who are supposed to look effortlessly beautiful, it is revealed that even the beautiful actress who is chosen is not perfect enough to have a picture that is not untouched or photoshopped for the cover. The documentary reveals that these pictures that get absorbed into our brains from being a consumer of Vogue are actually fabrications from what we perceive them to be. Baran writes that, “to enhance the appearance of models’ bodies… contribute(s) to unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image”. (117). The effect of these distortions on paper is that they begin to distort or social perception of reality, if we absorb these images not knowing or being fully aware of the intricately edited pictures, and the differences between advertorials and articles, then as a society we being to believe that these bodies and faces are not only attainable, but considered beautiful, and that the products that fill the pages are there because the company paid for the image not necessarily because it is the best one to recommend.