Documentaries and fashion are two of my favorite things. A documentary is a movie that provides a factual record. Fashion is a popular trend, especially in styles of dress. Therefore, a documentary about fashion is a factual record about a popular trend and/or a person who created popular trends. Perfect!
These films focus on the meticulous detail that goes into making a couture gown, the eccentric personalities of our favorite designers, and the creative process versus the corporate profits.
In celebration of New York Fashion Week, which takes place in September, these eight amazing fashion documentaries open the door for a peek inside the high stress, high stakes, world that is high fashion:
- Scatter my Ashes at Bergdorf’s – This iconic Manhattan department store is a world of it’s own! Situated on one of the most desirable blocks in the city, Bergdorf’s is more than just a store; it’s a destination for the jet set. “Scatter my ashes at Bergdorf’s” was supposedly said by a Bergdorf regular. Not gonna lie, I wouldn’t mind having some of my ashes scattered there as well one day. Preferably in the shoe department.
- Unzipped – This film was made in 1995 which was the decade of the supermodel! As Isaac Mizrahi prepares his fall collection that year, find out what inspired him, and see his dynamic personality at work.
- Iris – This documentary follows Iris Apfel, the 93-year-old fashion icon with big spectacles and an even bigger personality. It’s hard not to fall in love with this wonderful woman and her love of high fashion and cheap, and not so cheap, plastic accessories.
- The September Issue – The documentary follows Anna Wintour as she prepares Vogue’s gigantic September issue for print. This rare look at the woman who inspired The Devil Wears Prada will give you an idea why that issue weighs ten pounds, but also how much work goes into it. Creative Director, Grace Coddington, became a bit of a celebrity herself after the release of the film, which prompted her to write Grace: A Memoir. I recently finished reading it and LOVED it!
- Yves Saint Laurent: His Life and Times – One of my favorite fashion designers, this documentary follows Saint Laurent and introduces him through a series of interviews, as well as interviews with his friends and family. He’s French, so it’s subtitled.
- Valentino: The Last Emperor – Following Valentino during his final two years as a designer, you get a sense of how difficult it was for him to retire. Not only that, he loves pugs and his cute little dogs go everywhere with him.
- Bill Cunningham New York – Bill Cunningham recently passed away, so this documentary is an extra special look at his life. The New York Times contributor was a mainstay around New York City, snapping photos from his bicycle, and writing about fashionable celebrities and anyone else he encountered on the street who was interesting. He left behind his memoir, which no one knew he had written, Fashion Climbing: A Memoir with Photographs.
- Dior and I – When Raf Simons takes over as Creative Director at Dior after the tumultuous departure of John Galliano, he only has eight weeks to pull together his first collection. Watching this, even I was nervous for him!
P.S. – Let’s take a moment to remember the days of NYFW being held in a tent in Bryant Park…