by Beth Wiffen
From the bestselling book to a beloved film, The Devil Wears Prada holds a special place in people’s hearts. However, this story may not be as ‘fictional’ as author Lauren Weisberger would have you believe; speculation suggests that Miranda Priestly is based on Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour. The similarities become apparent when you compare the Devil Wears Prada to R J Cutler’s documentary The September Issue.
- Weisberger worked as an assistant to Wintour before writing the ‘The Devil Wears Prada’.
- Weisberger has never publicly admitted the character is based on Wintour.
- The September Issue was released in 2009, three years after the film version of Devil Wears Prada.
In shot by shot comparisons of the two films, it is hard to deny that they are linked.
These early shots show offices full of artistic decorations and souvenirs of the women’s successes, highlighting their prominence in the fashion industry.
Wintour, who describes herself as ‘stubborn’, is called the ‘Ice Woman’ by her employees. Throughout the Devil Wears Prada, we see Miranda’s no-nonsense attitude and cutting words. ‘By all means move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me’ is a favourite quote of mine and embodies this attitude. Her ruthlessness is also evident in the ‘run-through’ scene:
In both shots we see the critical nature of the editors, but also how the employees understand the value of their opinions: these women have the final say on everything to do with the magazine.
The resemblance between the two films is almost uncanny, and suggests The September Issue was deliberately referencing frames from The Devil Wears Prada. The magazines are clearly important to millions of people; Vogue is a ‘bible’ and Runway is ‘a beacon of hope’. The films portray these women with respect and almost gratitude, alongside being ruthless in the editorial process. Despite the similarities that Weisberger’s cut-throat leading lady shares with her, The September Issue presents Wintour as inspiring. Now, audiences can appreciate the work that goes into creating one of the most popular magazines of all time. The devil may wear Prada, but Wintour is first and foremost the embodiment of a successful business woman.