Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Thank God for Grace Coddington! She alone could have and did carry this film. I was mesmerized by her commitment to the magazine and her work at Vogue. She was an incredible force, so brilliant and so real. Having read countless reviews before finally seeing the film, I was expecting lots of brittleness from Anna Wintour. I wasn't disappointed. She was what I've always suspected. Her remoteness was so much so that she basically cancelled herself out. The treat was to see the real cheer leader within that team. Her name is Grace and she is the definition of her name. The scenes of her as sittings editor shooting beautiful spreads were really something to behold. Her Creative Direction was that overused word:awesome. The understanding of how to tell a story with clothes and models and a photographer was nothing short of visual poetry. I could have listened to her and watched her no nonsense humanity for hours.
The other players in the cast were more caricatures than anything else. The audience in the theater were participants in the viewing. The laughs,groans and guffaws were hilarious. Candy Pratts Price was a new definition of pretension, and her brand of hyperbole had absolutely no punch. Andre Leon Talley was little more than the court jester. I was uncomfortable watching him edited to look like an ineffectual clown, which he is anything but.The trembling editors timidly showing their wares to Anna were like lambs going to slaughter. Anna's visits to the YSL studio and Gaultier studio before their collections to preview them was like watching a dentist work without novocaine.Mario Testino was nothing short of an idiotic,self absorbed poseur.
What was most over played was the way too much footage of Thakoon and his Gap glory. It was b-rated design and d-list entertainment. Most fascinating in regards to him was the back room maneuvering that Anna and Oscar de la Renta did to secure this kid a high level position for the Spanish owned chain Mango. It was actual footage of their putting their pets in plum jobs. Good for Thakoon, not so good for Mango. He benefited the most from this film with the exception of Grace. It was light entertainment and only reinforced my feeling that the Vogue machine is like so many other businesses. Their interest is commerce, not fashion. Certainly not fashion for the 13million readers they talk about. It's beyond aspirational imagery but the manipulation of the market place. But that was then. There's an awful lot of water under the bridge since then. Now the rivers have shrunk to streams and times call for a different measure. As long as Grace stays on the masthead, there's hope. The magazine was hers. So was the movie.