The Devil is in the detail

The Devil Wore Prada, the movie version of the somewhat bitchy book by a former editorial assistant to Anna Wintour, the British editor of Vogue, did better than many expected at the box office at its opening weekend in the US, taking $27 million – around half the figure for the new Superman movie.

Many critics had suggested the movie, keenly anticipated by the magazine industry, would not do too well.

Much of the criticism, though, focused on the clothes worn by the actress playing the fictional magazine editor’s assistant. The movie shows her in dresses made by Chanel and Valentino.

For example Diane Salvatore, of Ladies Home Journal, complained “The assistant was better dressed than most editors I know.” And in the view of Lois Johnson, fashion and beauty editor of More magazine, Meryl Streep, the actress playing the editor of the fictional magazine Runway, just doesn’t look right. Her hair is too “wiggy”. Also she wears the wrong colour dress to a fashion event – black, when she should be in white or gold.

There was also a criticism that the editor’s office, as portrayed in the movie, is not messy enough. “More like a museum than an office,” comments Salvatore, whose own office is adorned with photographs of her with the Bushes, the Clintons Madonna, Terri Hatcher and Diane Sawyer. To which Joe Dolce, editor in chief of Star magazine added “There are filers – and pilers. “

Dolce, who once worked at Vogue, says that Wintour (whose father, Charles Wintour, for many years edited the Evening Standard and briefly UK Press Gazette) is a filer – whose desk is actually much neater than the editor’s desk portrayed in the movie.

Wintour herself seems to be taking all this in her stride. She declined to make any comment when the book originally came out. She did however turn out – appropriately dressed in Prada, it was noted, for the movie’s American premiere “Very entertaining” was her only comment.

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