Washington’s fashionistas get a slice of the Big Apple at the premiere of “The September Issue”
By Kevin Chaffee
Photos by Tony Powell
It may have been the doggiest of the dog days of August but that didn’t prevent local glitterati from turning out for the Washington premiere of “The September Issue” Wednesday night. ?
Invitation e-mails were sent only a few weeks ago for the much-anticipated event hosted by the online shopping website Gilt.com at the Landmark E Street Cinema, which was filled to capacity to see Vogue editrix-in-chief Anna Wintour in action as she forged the famed September 2007 issue of her magazine from scratch over a sixth month period. Why famed, you may ask? Answer: the 800-plus-page issue was the largest in Vogue’s history and the cause of much celebration in those pre-recessionary times. ??
Guests enjoyed the behind-the-scenes action as Wintour and her staff forge ahead to final deadline, arguing over photo spreads, dismissing carloads of expensive designer duds as “simply not for us,” tossing out $50,000 fashion shoots, and making snide comments behind each other’s backs. Much to everyone’s surprise, the real star of the show wasn’t Wintour at all, but the magazine’s longtime creative director, Grace Coddington, a fabulously frowsy redhead in her late 60s who couldn’t care less how she looks in a mirror or anywhere else. The flamboyant Andre Leon Talley also captures a few scenes, all of which he plays for laughs. My personal favorite: the obese Talley futilely trying to lose weight on a tennis court as a hunky instructor lobs balls his way. Biggest surprise: the total non-role played by European Editor-at-Large Hamish Bowles, who never gets a single word on camera.??
The W Hotel is Washington’s new oasis of chic, and the 200 or so guests who showed up for the post-screening party must be commenced for their effort to replicate the height of New York chic (mile-high heels, short skin-tight dresses) despite the sticky weather. Spotted sipping rose Champagne and taking the tiniest little bites of lobster: White House staffer Mona Sutphen, Biden communications director Courtney O’Donnell, deputy social secretary Sally Armbruster, CNN’s Michelle Jaconi, Fox Channel 5 anchor Will Thomas, Katie Rost, sports reporter Lindsay Czarniak, Amy Baier, Anais de Viel Castel, Paul Wharton, Annie Groer, and Mary Barth.