Her Grace

9.1.2009

By Bill Keith

R.J. Cutler's documentary The September Issue goes deep inside the offices of Vogue magazine as Anna Wintour and her minions assemble their biggest issue ever. We talk to Wintour's creative director (and former Vogue model), Grace Coddington, the film's not-so-unlikely star.

You seemed to really enjoy having the film crew in your office.

They were all so charming and nice. They really seduced me. Or believe me, I wouldn't have been in it. I used them to my advantage wherever I could.

After seeing the movie do you think viewers will find the fashion world more or less sympathetic?

I hope they see the hard work that goes into it. Ugh, if one more person mentions The Devil Wears Prada! Can we get over it?

Did you see it?

I can't even remember whether I saw it or not because there was so much talk about it. How could [author Lauren Weisberger] take a job working with Anna and then write that? I feel that's so disloyal and cheap. But, you know, the girl made a fortune. Hey, what can I say?

How would you characterize your dynamic with Anna?

We understand each other very well, and we know how far to push each other. She doesn't want things to come easy. She constantly challenges you. I think you have to be quite cold and harsh about decisions to edit. And that's what somehow she does.

Is there anything missing from the film?

No, I think it's very real. If they had shown more, it would have become repetitive. We do spend an awful lot of time standing looking at a rack of clothes. But I would have liked to see my cat. They came to my house, and they filmed my cat, and I swear [the director] said, 'Oh, he winked at me, and I got it.' But I didn't see that in the movie!

Don't tell Anna, but you're totally the star.

Well, I'm big and red. You can't miss me!

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