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> Monday, March 29th, 2010 > Lifestyles > Wintour clearly inspiration behind film
Wintour clearly inspiration behind film
Click here to read more Interrobang articles written by Alyssa Pageot
Published: Monday, March 29th, 2010
Iím a little embarrassed to admit this, but for the first time this weekend I watched the movie The Devil Wears Prada. Yes, I know itís one of the most famous fashion movies out there and shame on me for not renting it sooner, but Iím just really bad with movies like that. There are so many blockbuster hits Iíve never seen. For example, I just watched Scarface for the first time about a month ago. Anyways, Iím glad I waited until now to watch it; I know a lot more about fashion now than I did in 2006, when the flick came out- and I feel a lot more able to critique it.
I think it is obvious that the character Miranda Priestly is based on, at least loosely, is editor-in-chief at Vogue Anna Wintour. The book The Devil Wears Prada was published in 2003 by Lauren Weisberger; a former personal assistant to Wintour. Weisberger however denies that the character is based on Wintour, and rather states that Miranda was concocted from experiences her and her friends have had in previous jobs. Still, her stint at Vogue must have evoked something for her to write the best-selling novel. There are a million questions Iíd love to ask any former assistant to Wintour, but my goodness; I have to wonder what Weisberger specifically went through while working at Vogue to get the urge to write a book on a legendary fashion icon like Wintour.
I donít know if Anne Hathawayís character - Andy Sachs, was supposed to be based on Weisberger or not - but my first criticism must be that I find it highly unlikely that in the real world someone like Sachs, with no knowledge of the fashion world, would be hired as Wintourís assistant. I donít care how ďunexpectedĒ this editor-in-chief is fabled to be; not having read a single issue of a magazine you strive to work for would make you downright laughable.
Something I find quite humorous about the film is the number of designers and personnel in the fashion world that did not want to be a part of the movie for fear of displeasing Wintour. Doesnít this reinforce the whole concept in the movie about the fear she evokes into people? The exceptions were scarce. Valentino and Gisele Bundchen were the most famous.
Iím not a big Meryl Streep fan as is. She does a decent job, but I somehow didnít believe her to be that fashion guru she was supposed to portray. I do like the fact that they did not try to copy Wintourís physical image. The typical bob haircut and sunglasses, but rather gave Streep her own identifiable look. Again, people involved in production as well as Weisberger wonít admit there is any correlation to Miranda and Wintour, but I know that art imitates life and there was no coincidence to the way magazines were spread out on Mirandaís desk, or her request for steak at lunch, and especially the strikingly similar office design; down to the octagonal mirror on the wall, exactly like Wintourís real office at Vogue.
Some praise I will give the film is that the wardrobe was dead on, and the amount of money put into the costume design was just phenomenal. Streep was indeed dressed in quite a bit of Prada, in particular her shoes, but also lots of Donna Karan, and Michaele Vollbracht for Bill Blass, delivering us the perfect rich and classy woman. It certainly made for a glamorous movie to watch.
I donít think the film should be overly analyzed anyways, because as costume designer Patricia Field stated: ďIf they want a documentary, they can watch the History Channel.Ē When it comes down to it, the movie does what itís supposed to, it entertains us, and as Wintour stated herself about the film: ďAnything that makes fashion entertaining and glamorous and interesting is wonderful for our industry. So I was 100 per cent behind it.Ē I sincerely hope even those who know little about fashion learned a little more after watching this movie, and maybe itís given Vogue that extra exposure so that when I mention Wintourís name around certain people, I wonít have to bury my head in disbelief when nobody knows who she is.