Day by Day



17 July 2006

The Devil wears no underwear...

I saw it. The great Glenn Close (sorry, Meryl Streep) movie, The Devil Wears Prada. Citizen Une suggested the flick and (having dragged her to more than a few very weak testosterone fests) I readily agreed.

The evening was sponsored by the efforts of der uber Citizens (my folks) who were wending their way through our humble town. Nothing says I love you like taking care of grandkids.

The movie was well crafted, scene after scene featured realistic and rich interiors and capable acting. This was particularly true for all the secondary charatcers on the fashion side of the house. There was such a realism that I suspected each of them had lived for a time in that VERY tight circle that is international fashion. The origins of the story are more interesting in and of itself.

The movie (unlike the book - two primary characters are completely remade for the purposes of liberal, sanitary Hollywood), is at its heart, a fairy tale. Young upstart form the Midwest arrives in big bad Manhattan to make her mark. Complete with the Mark O Mod 1 Hollywood cadre of friends (and by that I mean completely balanced from a diversity perspective and with a range of entry level Manhattan jobs), our heroine dives into the dark world of hyperactive executives commanding far too much in the way of spending. Her friends are worthless and her chef (hello children) boyfriend appears to have the easiest restaurant schedule on the planet.

I did not find Ms. Close (sorry - Ms. Streep) that awful. Her understated manner was very convincing. To be certain she was a bit of an abusive jerk, but at her level of autonomy she was somewhat entitled. I doubt anyone in the heavy duty publishing (advertising) field is too far off that mark.

So in general, a solid "B" for entertainment. Anne Hathaway is easy on the eyes and the pace never lags. There are some interesting secondary stories about product placement in the movie. Ultimately, I found the movie to be dated. In the era of the Internet and micro-trends, the old standby fashion magazine no longer reigns as the crowning source of all fashion. The fashion industry itself is relatively small in impact (despite what the movie would convey) across the globe and may in fact be a larger contributor to its misery than say, fast food providers.

Waht is missing is any complexity to round out the story or any realization by the main character that her pursuit of all that is fashionable reflects a part of her own desires for success and fame.

6 comments:

Scootmaroo said...

Philistine.

Miss Close cannot hold a candle to the wonder to the wonder and talent that is Ms. Streep. How dare you suggest that they are interchangable!One is a gret commedienne (Postcards from the Edge, Prairie Home Companion, Death Becomes Her), the other likes to think that she is (Cookie's Fortune, 101 and 102 Dalmations.) Let's see...one has four oscars, the other has....two? one? I don't remember. And when was the last time you heard Glenn Close attempt anything other than a southern or english accent?

Streep is becoming our generations Katharine Hepburn.

After playing her once too often, Close is becoming Norma Desmond.

Citizen Deux said...

So tell me, oh wise and noble one...what was your take on the set of four friends (Andrea, Nate, the Corporate Guy and Lily the gallerina)?

Scootmaroo said...

Um. I have been in England It hasn't opened there yet. It is raining. I will go see it today, oh smarmy and quirky bastard...

(BTW, can anyone tell me how to use the HTML tags? I always get tag not closed........)

Citizen Deux said...

Make sure the open in and closing are in side the sideways carats.

Andreas said...

I came across this post through a search for the speech that you so disagree with on google. I , for one, side with the devil in this. While no one contends that Oscar de la Renta invented cable-knit sweaters or the color cerulean, what is worn is largely influenced by the fashion industry. The mere fact that at the moment, jeans and t-shirt are becoming increasingly appropriate at the workplace has been advocated by runway designers that put jeans in their haute-couture shows years ago. To cite the jeans as fashion that has survived through the ages is somewhat misguided i believe. it has not been steadily the most popular item at clothing since their conception at all. they have started to trickle into the mainstream since the 1950s. Again, nobody is claiming designers invented the jeans, but the styles, colors and cuts that you will choose from today as opposed to the styles from 50 years ago are around because high fashion came up with them. Andy in the movie is wearing a cerulean sweater, and not one of the other million colors there are because she had a limited selection - and fashion magazines make that selection. Ignoring the facts doesn't exempt you from the system really.

Citizen Deux said...

Well put. I concede your point regarding the "selection" aspect. I don't think the more "extreme" aspects of fashion have the impact that designers would like to think. No more than the marketing of any product has on the population.

I don't think I am ignoring the facts, I just think we are in a system which is driven by the "lead steer" theory. A theory put forth by Joel Stern of the NYU School of Business regarding investment.

It seems to apply to fashion as well. Thanks for such an erudite post! Drop by some of the linked sites, I think you will enjoy some of the thinking!