The Devil Wears Prada built a legacy — not just great reaction gifs. It’s one of Meryl Streep’s best performances. It also helped launch Emily Blunt’s career. The Devil Wears Prada gave us plenty of great performances, some interesting fashion choices, and a look at the dark side of the fashion magazine industry.
Released in 2006, the film became an instant classic. I first saw The Devil Wears Prada on cable at a time when streaming services didn't dominate our lives, and it had been many years since I last watched it. With The Devil Wears Prada coming to Broadway and the movie celebrating an anniversary, I knew it was time for a rewatch.
These were my thoughts as I rewatched The Devil Wears Prada.
Andy Lucked Out Being Hired At Runway
I dream of a world where you can go into a job interview without researching the company or your potential boss and still be hired. In my opinion, it’s highly unlikely that Andy (Anne Hathaway) would have been hired at Runway.
No, not because of her fashion choices, but because she didn’t do the most basic research. She also forgot to lie about reading the magazine. Her speech, though cute, didn’t feel like anything more than what most people say in interviews. Aren’t we all hard workers with a dream and moxie?
Later in The Devil Wears Prada, I connected with Nigel (Stanley Tucci) for channeling the spirit of Kim Kardashian and telling her to get her “ass up and work.” He didn’t say it so bluntly, but it’s implied. After this speech, it’s clear to see what Miranda (Meryl Streep) saw in Andy when she hired her.
The 2006 Fashion Scene Was Crazy
I can’t say the fashion in The Devil Wears Prada isn’t accurate. Sadly, it is a sobering reminder that we thought we were killing the fashion game in 2006. We were not.
Miranda’s style is timeless. The clothes Streep wears throughout the movie could fit in almost any decade. Now, Emily's (Emily Blunt) fashion choices...definitely have not aged well. Maybe separately some of those pieces would work today, but together, they feel like a bit much.
Even some of Andy’s fashion choices (after her makeover) wouldn’t work by today’s fashion standards. They sometimes look like a bunch of clothes were just thrown together and called a look. It’s fun to see the fashion in The Devil Wears Prada to see how much it has changed and what parts have stayed. I’m not exactly a fashion expert — I definitely still own a few newsboy caps. Also, I know that New Yorkers are known for embracing whatever style they see fit, so who knows? Maybe people still dress like Emily.
Miranda Is An Icon; Emily Is A Problem
I think we’re supposed to hate Miranda? And maybe when I originally watched The Devil Wears Prada, I wasn’t a fan. However, now, I kind of understand the character. Do I think she needed to be that mean to her assistants? Absolutely not. Someone should have reported her to HR.
The magazine and fashion industries are hard ones in which to create a legacy. Add the pressure of being a woman on top at a time when it was much harder to succeed, then her tough exterior makes sense. I also think Miranda is a victim of her own self-sabotage. She’s devoted so much time to her career that she basically has no life beyond it. She’s made it her one true love, which makes her almost incapable of showing that type of love and vulnerability to others.
I understand Miranda. I don’t understand Emily.
In the beginning, Emily is just nasty without a real reason. She almost gets pleasure out of making someone else feel lower than her. We also don’t know if she has any ambitions. It just feels like she does this job for the perks, like free clothes, which makes her even more unlikable. If she at least wanted to get to the top, like Miranda, or start a writing career, like Andy, or even had fashion industry aspirations, she would be more tolerable. Some could argue that Miranda treating her like crap has made her cold but I think that isn’t a valid excuse for her behavior.
Because the film doesn’t develop Emily enough, she just comes off as irritating. Nevertheless, this is one of Emily Blunt’s best roles, because I may not like the character, but she does a great job of giving her life.
The Fashion Industry Has Really Evolved For The Better Since This Movie’s Release
It’s no secret that the fashion industry used to only showcase very skinny models. Even knowing this, I still can’t help but cringe every time they shame Andy for being a size 6. Even calling it the new size 14. Andy, herself, declares that she’s “not skinny” and is even called fat a few times.
In no world is Anne Hathaway not skinny, let alone fat. There are also a lot of jokes about starving oneself to be skinny. I don’t think The Devil Wears Prada is in any way encouraging this lifestyle, but trying to make fun of the fact that the fashion industry is so obsessed with thinness. In 2022, the fashion industry has come a long way from these days.
It’s a lot more inclusive. Fashion brands now try to make clothes that fit many different body types. The runways and fashion shows also have more diversity and inclusion.
Luxury brands and the fashion industry have become more inclusive but it still needs a lot of work. There are still many brands that avoid making clothing for plus-size women. However, compared to when the Devil Wears Prada was made, the fashion industry has become slightly more welcoming of those above a size 4. It may be slow progress, but it’s something for now.
Nate Sucks, But Makes Some Valid Points
The internet has a lot of opinions on Andy’s boyfriend, Nate (Adrian Grenier). I share that annoyance with Nate. He comes off as quite pretentious and unsupportive throughout the film. However, as The Devil Wears Prada screenwriter, Aline Brosh McKenna, points out in an EW interview, his intentions aren’t bad, but his execution kind of fails. He’s worried about Andy making all these sacrifices for a career that she doesn’t really want.
She’s always talked about being a writer, but she’s so focused on being Miranda’s assistant. This caused her to lose focus on her writing goals. This is why Nate is upset. He just doesn’t communicate this well, which makes it seem like he’s judging her for enjoying fashion — something that he may not respect.
New York Shines In The Devil Wears Prada
I am not a New Yorker. I’ve also never been to NYC. Clearly, I’m not an expert on the city, but for the little I know, it seems like The Devil Wears Prada does a great job of showcasing the city. It doesn’t try too hard to make New York a character or have someone constantly saying something to remind you it's set in New York. Instead, it gives subtle nods to the city and what makes it special. It may not be one of the best New York City movies, but it’s a good one for effortlessly incorporating the spirit and character of the city.
The Devil Wear Prada had a lot to unpack. So here are some of my other thoughts.
- Anne Hathaway really is the queen of getting a makeover. Couldn’t help but want to watch The Princess Diaries after seeing the makeover scene in this film.
- It was fun to see actual supermodels included in The Devil Wears Prada cast.
- All the Northwestern University references made me so happy, especially since Andy and I own the same sweatshirt.
- The Harry Potter manuscript scenes gave me the same adrenaline I would get watching an action movie. I definitely cheered when she handed it to Miranda.
- I also enjoyed every time Nate complained about the food costing a lot, but still buying it. That’s relatable.
- Yes, the “Potential Breakup Song” played in my head during Nate’s birthday scenes.
- My heart broke when Miranda screwed over Nigel. It was the first scene that made me truly annoyed with her. Justice for Nigel!
The Devil Wears Prada is currently available to stream on Hulu.
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Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.