Bonus scenes including these -- and many more -- could make the DVD release of "The September Issue" the hottest must-have fashion accessory since the Birkin bag.
StyleList recently caught up with R.J. Cutler -- director of the stylish documentary that chronicles the making of Vogue magazine's biggest issue of the year -- backstage at the Rag & Bone show during New York Fashion Week. (He's filming a Starbucks-sponsored series of video shorts about the label's Fall 2010 show.)
Along with giving us the scoop on all the extras you'll find on "The September Issue" DVD (out Feb. 23), Cutler spoke about getting to the know the real Wintour (yes, what you see in the movie is what you get in real life), what surprised him in filming the Vogue story (Wintour's incredible influence on the industry), breakout star Coddington (and the back and forth relationship between her and Wintour) and what's up next (hint: Coddington, cats and animation. Oh, my!).
"I was very gratified and it was something I was very proud of," Cutler says of the positive response he's received surrounding the film. "You know, we shot it for a year, we edited it for a year and people responded to it not only across America, but around the world."
Here are a few reasons why:
Was the Wintour captured on film the real Wintour?
"Yes, absolutely, and it's not just that I feel it, I know it," Cutler says. "When you spend a year with somebody, you get to know them very well and the way we film -- which is to really get to know our subjects as people and have them get to know us as people, and spend a lot of time with them day in and day out -- it's a process that is designed to be able to see your subject. Whether your subject is running a presidential campaign or is going through their senior year of high school or is editing Vogue magazine, it's designed to see them as they really are.
"So many people who have known Anna for 10, 20, 30 years have come up to me at screenings for the film, or I've been introduced to them under other circumstances, and they've told me how they were amazed at how accurately I was able to capture who she really was," he says.
Wintour's Far-Reaching Influence
"It's one thing to see the influence she has as an editor on a designer -- it's not just on the world's most prominent designers, but she's able to help inform young careers, and you see that in the movie -- from Thakoon to Oscar de la Renta, her influence is equally impactful," he says.
"But then she's also impacting, sometimes directly, what is going on the shelves at retailers. And her influence is so extensive that Burt Tansky, the chairman of Neiman Marcus, was actually asking her for her help in shipments of clothing.
"I've always thought that you can make a film in Hollywood without Steven Spielberg's blessing, and you can publish software in Silicon Valley without Bill Gates' blessing, but the thing that was striking to me after spending this time at Vogue, it became very clear that it's almost impossible to succeed in the field of fashion without Anna Wintour's blessing," he says. "It's very difficult to think of another figure who is that singular in their industry as Anna is in hers."
"When I make a movie, I look for relationships to tell stories about, because that's what movies are," Cutler says. "And so, when I first enter into an environment, the question on my mind is what is the essential defining element in this environment? It became very evident to me very quickly upon starting to film that that defining relationship at Vogue, at that time, was between Anna and Grace.
"These two women ... appear to be polarized and to embody all of these contradictions: fire and ice, art and commerce. ... And yet, as I got to know them, I realized that ... they're not really in conflict. ... Their relationship is a symbiosis in which they are driving each other to greater and greater heights. They're always challenging each other and they've been doing this for 20 years and their track record is quite extraordinary."
The Stuff You've Yet to See
"The movie is my film," Cutler says. "It's exactly the movie I wanted to make and there's nothing that I ended up cutting from the film that I wanted to include in the film."
However, Cutler says, the DVD includes 90 minutes of extra footage that fashion fans will want to see.
"There are a lot of scenes of Anna in the office doing her work," he says. "There's a great sequence of Anna and her daughter spending the night at the Seventh on Sale benefit that Anna hosts every couple of years. There's an enormous sequence -- really a short film that's 30 minutes long -- about the Met Ball and how Anna puts the Met Ball together."
(A limited edition DVD is available through Barnes & Noble that includes the 25-minute bonus featurette "The Met Ball.")
"There's great stuff with André Leon Talley -- you haven't lived until you've spent the day shopping with André in Paris and the entire sequence is included and is wonderful," Cutler says. "There's an awesome speech that André gives to a graduating high school class. In the film, there's a great moment where André is with Vera Wang and he declares that there's been 'a famine of beauty' and an entire six-minute scene around that moment is included on the DVD.
"The entire sequence of Grace Coddington's couture shoot is included on the DVD which is great, also a lot of time with Grace at home, with Grace and her beloved cats and great stuff with Thakoon," he says. "I would say if you enjoyed the film, you're certainly going to love this stuff. If you love fashion, you'll just go crazy for this stuff."
Cutler says one of his many current projects in the works involves Coddington -- an adaptation of her book with Didier Malige, "The Catwalk Cats."
"The story is a year in her life as if it were lived by her cats, and it's adorable and it's fun and funny and really all about love and family," Cutler says. "It's a great adventure and I thought it would make a terrific animated film.
"You know, they put rats in the kitchen and made 'Ratatouille,' so I saw no reason why you couldn't have cats in the fashion world in 'Catwalk Cats.' Even while we were making 'The September Issue,' I told Grace I thought that would be a great idea and then when we finished it, we decided that we'd work on this as well. So we're really excited about it."
And so are we.
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