This morning, had you woken me up and asked me whether I had heard of Mark Jacobs and Jimmy Choo, you would have received the kind of verbal lashing which the Devil reserves for those special occasions when his minions fail to bring him new souls. However, had you persisted (being in a particularly foolhardy mood) and informed me that people had been known to sell their soul (to the Devil, of course) for a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, you would have definitely piqued my interest.
You see, both Jimmy and Mark are big names in the world of haute couture; a world where size two is the new four and zero is the new two (don’t let those numbers trouble you, dear reader – we are in this boat together, you and I, all of us Fashion-Challenged).
This is Runway magazine where fashion is taken very seriously, where anorexic divas clack around in their stilettos, where the average diet consists of a small cube of cheese taken when one feels faint, where cerulean is not just another shade of blue and where Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the editor-in-chief, rules with an iron fist.
In walks a size six (the new fourteen we are told) Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) – a fresh graduate with dreams of making it big in the world of journalism, to whom Gucci could as well be Gucky (she is in the same boat as you and I, gentle reader).
But being Miranda’s second assistant could open up a lot of doors for the ambitious Andy. She is reminded again and again by the first-assistant Emily (Emily Blunt) and the ever-helpful Nigel (Stanley Tucci), that a million girls would kill for this job. And so, the determined Andy goes about reinventing herself and fulfilling every one of Miranda’s highly unreasonable demands (including getting a copy of the yet-unpublished Harry Potter Book 7 for Miranda’s twins).
Midway through the film, the highly appropriate lyrics of U2’s City Of Blinding Lights popped up in my head:
The more you see the less you know
The less you find out as you go
I knew much more then than I do now
Neon heart dayglo eyes
A city lit by fireflies
They’re advertising in the skies
For people like us
After a while I realised that the lyrics were not only in my head, but were being belted out by Bono and Co through the speaker system of the movie theater. As Andy finds her footing in this glamorous world of high fashion, she loses sight of what was really important to her – her friends, family and a career in journalism. Have all the lights really blinded her?
Slick dialogues, a solid script and some brilliant performances prevent this movie from becoming just another fashion guide for dummies. Meryl Streep as the boss from hell proves yet again why she is considered the greatest actress of our times. And where would Hollywood be without character actors like Stanley Tucci? His Nigel is both endearing and entertaining.
But the real scene-stealer here is Emily Blunt. Her frantic rushes to be at the beck and call of Miranda 24/7 and her advice sessions to the ‘new Emily’, Andy, make for some of the funniest scenes in the movie.
And for all of us Fashion-Challenged folks, this movie also provides an opportunity to get to know Donatella, Tommy and Calvin on a first name basis. As Miranda Priestly would have said while dismissing her minions: That’s all.