Fashion Movies for True Fashionistas

What better way to immerse yourself in the world of fashion than a good ol’ movie? Take off the Louboutins, relax with a nice glass of cabernet and get lost in a tale of True Fashionista glamour, and perhaps mystery, on the screen. Hollywood has long delved into the world of fashion via the silver screen in both fictional and nonfictional form. From Meryl Streep’s memorable take as demanding fashion mag publisher Miranda Priestly (mirroring Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour) in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) to the Met Gala heist plot of 2018’s Ocean’s 8 (mere coincidence that Anne Hathaway stars in both? Hmm . . .) and the recently-released Crazy Rich Asians, fictionalized movies enjoy the freedom to paint a larger than life portrait of fashion industry creatives and the lifestyle of those surrounding them. Not that they’re so much larger.

“I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.” —Ralph Lauren

“Somewhat” is itself a relative term, as we are privy to the extraordinary lives and talent of fashion icons portrayed in the countless documentaries that have been made about them. The Met Gala, fashion’s arguably hugest night of the year, is True Fashionista showcased in Andrew Rossi’s The First Monday in May (2016). Starring the industry’s brightest, like Ms. Wintour, costume designer John Galliano and a jam-packed room of Hollywood and music celebrities, the viewer is privy to a behind-the-scenes look at how it all comes together. The night is so big that it spawned its own documentary surrounding Guo Pei, designer of Rihanna’s now-famous yellow dress (Apparently it broke the internet due to its strange similarities to a very familiar egg dish!)  from Met Gala 2015.

Yellow is Forbidden (2018and the subsequent vault-to-fame of its Chinese-born designer Guo Pei, is directed by veteran documentarian Pietra Brettkelly. Guo’s career is confronted with a myriad of opposing forces, from breaking the mold of Chinese custom and traditions to prejudice vs acceptance and the pressures China’s economic rise puts on its artisans.

Fashion photographers get their time in the spotlight as well, with Director Richard Press’ Bill Cunningham New York (2010). Known for his unique talent for spotting trends, New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham rode his bicycle through the streets of New York capturing the essence of style and fashion for close to four decades before his passing in 2016 at age 87.

Fashion is such a hot topic that you can find a documentary on virtually all famous and up-and-coming designers, like Christian Louboutin (In Louboutin’s Shoes, 2015), Yves Saint Laurent (L’Amour Fou,2010), Karl Lagerfield (Lagerfield Confidential, 2007), Christian Dior (Dior and I, 2014), and what’s said to be the forerunner of the True Fashionista designer documentary format, 1995’s Unzipped about household name Isaac Mizrahi. And, good news! Most if not all of these docs can be viewed online via streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu, or find them on YouTube.

But back to the pretend world…For a real treat with star appeal and a nice slice of fashion, here are a few more to enjoy: Ben Stiller’s “really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking” model character at the end of his career in 2001’s Zoolander is a nice slice of entertainment. Funny Face (1957) features Audrey Hepburn costumed by legendary designer Hubert de Givenchy. Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), Sex and the City in 2008 and its follow-up two years later also make for some entertaining evenings soaking up the sights and sounds of things fashion-forward. IMdB’s got a solid list of both fashion-focused fiction and documentaries. Ready, set, binge!

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