Happy first day of autumn everyone!
I love autumn so much, it is my favourite season of all – weather-wise, fashion-wise, food-wise. It’s the time when the Mother Nature shows herself in all its glory, the weather cools off to the cardigan temperatures (oh, I love cardigans!) and pumpkins are just about everywhere! And I do love pumpkins. I make the best pumpkin soup in the world, I tell you that.
Autumn to me means ‘back to work’ although at the same time ‘slow down a little’. It makes you reflect.. it surely makes me. But I don’t think anything ever fills me with so much joy as the rustling autumn leaves, the golden light and the extra layer of clothes.
Talking of clothes..
Autumn is also a time that’s much more in favour for watching movies after summer mostly spent outside. And The Devil Wears Prada is usually the first one I pick to celebrate the changing season.
I have watched this film more times than I can actually remember and mostly around this time. After all, September is the month of the Fashion Weeks so it’s only fitting, right? And talking of the ‘back to work’ feeling, this is where it works, too.
After the lazy summer months, it’s the one film that provides the much necessary kick. That ‘alright, let’s get back on it’ feeling. Besides a simple cheer-up, this film inspires me, motivates me (and not just to move my ass so I could actually afford the amazing clothes one day!) but especially reminds me of the lifestyle I love so much.
Hectic? Yes. Stressful? Yes. Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? But I do love it. I need a bit of both in my life. Perhaps not long-term. But I still look back at the times of the three most hectic months of the film festival preparations as something super exciting.
Truth is, I perform best when I’m under pressure. It’s like adrenaline of sorts. And I’m addicted to it. I love it. I hate it. I need it. If there’s nothing for me to do at work, I want to kill myself. When there is little to do… well, I do it. But somehow it’s way harder than when there’s plenty. Being busy motivates me.
So watching a film like this not only reminds me of my passions, though lying in a different industry (but hell, who would not want to be part of the fashion world at least for a tiny bit!), but also motivates me to try harder and to not lose track. And with the passing years and the more and more work experience I get, it also reminds me of so many situations I went through at work myself. And that makes it all the more fun.
Watching Andrea (Anne Hathaway), starting out at Runway, is a little like working on a film set for the very first time..
Last year, I spent 6 months working on a tv show as a PA to the Make Up Department. I’ve never worked on a film set before and it’s been one of my dreams to get there. So here I was. Running around all the caravans I only ever dreamed of being allowed to go to. I mean, there certainly have been moments my younger-self was just freaking out.
Seeing the actors having the make-up put on, seeing the actual shooting… chatting with the lead cast members over lunch… I mean, come on! It’s just way too cool!
However, the reality of such life is far from just all that fun and glamour. In fact, there’s nothing glamorous about it at all. That is – unless you’re the star.
That world is ruled by hierarchy, big time, and many people are just spoilt brats if you ask me. Too much money is wasted on whims or simply because it can be. Something I had a really hard time putting up with.
But what you can also find there is the best bunch of cool kids you will ever meet. It’s an environment that’s most inspiring and where I feel home in some sense. But it’s also an environment which makes you wonder why oh why is so much money being spent on something so… unimportant. Yes. As much as I love filmmaking. That world is just a cradle for wasting money at all the ridiculous stuff. Something like when Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) decides the jackets for the September issue are not good enough, a decision that’s gonna cost the magazine $300 000. Not cool.
But yes, let’s talk more about Miranda Priestly – and her ridiculous tasks.
I’ve been there. Last year on set – that’s exactly how I felt most of the time.
So many times I was challenged to get the non-existing thing for my boss, the head of the Make Up Department. When I tried to explain it’s nowhere to be found, I was told I need to try harder. When I tried to say I did my best and it’s simply non-existing, I was told that’s not an answer and I need to provide a solution. When I tried to explain there is no solution… I was pretty much told that he’s not interested in the reasons of my incompetence and was just sent away to find him a solution. I mean…
Many times I was told to call Jim or Jack or Andy… Sure.. but who the hell is.. Andy..?!
And funny thing about life on film set is, that the crew is big and there are departments you never actually get in touch with. So as much confusing as it is to be trying to figure out who that Andy is in your first few weeks there, it turns into pure frustration after 5 months.
Oh, and that ‘where’s the paper I had in my hands yesterday’ thing? Well. I’ve been there, too.
The only difference – a major one though – was that despite all that, I actually adored my boss. Yes, he was moody, but he was nothing like Miranda Priestly. Thank god! We have developed a beautiful relationship – in fact I think I actually need to shoot him an email the minute I finish this!
Truth is, he was a real sweetheart and cared more for me being sick than my own dad (he was his age group, so that’s why the comparison). And when our department got cross with the Accounts he was always on my side, supporting me. I was the Make Up’s girl and no one was letting me be eaten by the account people (= the equivalent of feeding you to one of the models).
He had this wicked sense of humour I absolutely adore and his crew was a bunch of people he put together himself and so naturally shared the same qualities. So as sucky as the job itself was, not fulfilling for me at all, those people made it fun and became precious friends.
But back to The Devil Wears Prada world. As somebody who loves fashion and part of whom always wanted to be part of the fashion industry, it’s just a pure joy to be watching all the beautiful clothes in the film – even if now, sadly, so out of fashion. But I still have a couple of my favourite looks there.
I’m envious of all the glamorous parties where you could actually wear those dresses and those heels. I’m envious of the part of life where you actually get the chance to look your best. Film set? Naaah, forget it.
Surely, fashion is not cure for the cancer. But fashion is art. Fashion is living in art. And for me it’s about trying to look your best. Not trying to be somebody you’re not – just your best. And who doesn’t want to be the best version of themselves, right?
And I suggest every person who despise fashion, should listen to Miranda’s speech during the September cover presentation. Because fashion is everywhere. We all live in it. All of us. If you’re laughing out at fashion, you’re laughing out at your favourite piece of clothes. And I know you have one.
“Oh, okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select, I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on but what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue. It’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns and then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent who showed cerulean military jackets. Then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it filtered down through the department stores. And then it trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out in some clearance bin. However that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs. And it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when in fact you’re wearing a sweater that were selected for you by the people in this room.” – Miranda Priestly
The fashion world might be ridiculous, yeah. As is the film one. But there’s beauty in everything. And we just need to take lessons from it and learn when enough is enough. The Devil Wears Prada definitely is an enjoyable and relatable lesson in that sense. Plus it’s wrapped up in such a cute clothes!