For one star-studded evening, it seemed like the good old days of 2007 for the beleaguered New York fashion world. Designers, models and actresses strutted along the red carpet to honour the most powerful figure in their industry – Anna Wintour, the legendary British editor-in-chief of US Vogue.
They were attending last week’s glitzy premiere of The September Issue, a fly-on-the-wall documentary by film-makers given unprecedented access to the hallowed portals of the fashion bible and the famously formidable force that leads it.
Designers such as Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Sean “Diddy” Combs and actresses Sienna Miller and Renee Zellweger joined a clutch of statuesque models, assorted fashionistas and Manhattan power players for the splashy event.
Peering out from beneath her distinctive pageboy haircut and occasionally donning her trademark dark sunglasses, Miss Wintour, 59, was also there, of course.
The behind-the-scenes footage follows Miss Wintour and her team for eight months during 2007 as they put together the September issue – traditionally, the most important of the year as the magazine is packed with adverts aimed at autumn shoppers.
The edition turned out to be the biggest in industry history, weighing in at a whopping five pounds and 840 pages, included 725 of glossy premium-cost ads. It confirmed the magazine’s behemoth status.
And the cover boasts the sort of mass appeal articles – “Stylish Steals and Smart Splurges” and “Fall Fashion Fun” – that have previously been anathema to the unapologetically elitist Miss Wintour during her two-decade reign.
There is little doubt that McKinsey will recommend much deeper cuts and job losses, although the New York Post reported on Friday that for the French fashion shows, Miss Wintour will be staying at the Ritz in Paris as usual, with little expense spared for her entourage.
With less than three weeks before the start of New York Fashion Week, the mood in the world fashion industry capital is grim. The event was once synonymous with extravagance, excess and self-congratulation, but now insiders are focused on simple commercial survival.
So the release of The September Issue, with its reminder of a now apparently halcyon epoch, so recent yet so remote, is providing some much-needed relief for the industry. It might also offer some valuable ammunition for the bean-counters of McKinsey.
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