The title really says it all, and gives the audience a powerful insight into the movie’s setting. In The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep plays Miranda Priestly, a fictional character created to represent real-world Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Streep makes an incredible transformation into a fashion goddess and does it by wearing high-name brands. There is so much focus on looking absolutely perfect, extremely trendy, and embodying a particular persona. Anne Hathaway’s character Andie, is desperately trying to fit in with all of her colleagues. At first, she struggles as the heavier, clumsier, plain-faced intellect. Then, once she gets a makeover, she suddenly blossoms into a successful and chic employee. This inherently suggests that fashion and clothing affect status. All of the apparel and accessories are staged to look elite and ultimately, convince people that satisfaction can be achieved in the material world (Image-based Culture, 3). Our society is already cursed into believing that the path to good-life is laid upon purchases (Image-based Culture, 4) and the notion that more is more. Less is simply a bore! The rise in social media also contributes to an increase in images and aesthetics. We are taught to care about the way that things look.
The film draws heavily to gender display. This refers to the way that men and women should act according to their gender. There are particular conventions for each (Image-based Culture, 5). For instance, the movie implies that to be a true woman, one must be elegant and fashion-forward, slender and beautiful, ambitious and high-powered. Perhaps it’s insinuated that once the appearance is there, everything else will come along with it.
The movie in general presents many arguments to its audience. A strong argument of ethos is not only evident via the talents of Streep and Hathaway, but furthermore through big names like Prada, Chanel, and Marc Jacobs, among other designers. The names in the film have incredibly prestigious reputations so their association with the story and characters offers a lot of credibility (Everything’s an Argument, 56-59). This may combine with a logical appeal, suggesting that patrons of high labels will enjoy the film. Moreover, an emotional appeal is created by all of the fashion focus. All of the beautifully arranged outfits – from the lavish coats to the bags to the intricate shoes – likely inspire viewers to want the same fashion sense, to go shopping for new wardrobe additions, or maybe spark a greater interest in the mentioned designers. The characters show so much admiration for their Chanel boots and so it makes the audience feel the same way. When Andie gets her makeover and goes through the closet to choose all of her things, we naturally wish we could do the same thing. Who wouldn’t want a free wardrobe full of the newest styles?
It is still seemingly interesting that Prada would care to collaborate with a so-called chick flick. It is very atypical for very high fashion designers to appear in popular media, perhaps because the mainstream qualities of most movies take away from the elusiveness of their brands. This is not to say that Prada lost some of its own value, but it is out of normal character. It still feels like an unequal partnership in that the movie definitely got more out of the collaboration. Prada is such a big designer that it does not need any mention in a movie to maintain success. Overall, this partnership gets two/three from me. I don’t think Prada ever needs mainstream publicity, but The Devil Wears Prada definitely benefited.