Great fashion documentaries have the power to spark fantasy and confirm career aspirations. In recent years, cameras have been granted access inside some of the world’s most prestigious maisons and the results are as fabulous as the gowns created within them. Dior and I is an emotive, sensitive look inside the Parisian HQ as Raf Simons prepared for his debut, while The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards is a colourful delve into the wonderful world of Manolo Blahnik. Swot up on fashion history now. Here’s our pick of the best fashion documentaries to add to your watchlist pronto.
Spanning Lee McQueen’s remarkable career, this eponymous film is a rich exploration into the mind of the legendary designer. With a focus on his fashion shows, the documentary explores how this East London lad became the toast of Paris, and the enfant terrible of the fashion world. Starting the process with no access to McQueen archives – both personal and professional – the filmakers have proved a feat with this vehicle that proves a much-watch for anyone with an interest in McQueen and his collections.
The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards (2017)
The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards follows one of fashion’s most acclaimed shoemakers, Manolo Blahnik, as his business continues to flourish. With a who’s who of the fashion industry – Rihanna, Naomi Campbell, John Galliano, Karlie Kloss – singing the Vogue cover star’s well-soled praise, it’s a must-watch for anyone who has or dreams of owning Manolo’s mules and more. The documentary can be watched at Curzon cinemas until the end of October. So, strap on the stilettos and trot along soon.
Filmed over an entire year, Dries is an intimate portrayal of one of the world’s most successful independent designers. Offering an insight into Dries Van Noten’s life in the design studio and at home, it follows his journey creating four of his colour-rich collections. For 25 years, the Belgian designer has been a mainstay on the Paris schedule and this film offers a new perspective on his creative process. A must see for those keen to enter the design side of the industry.
Dior And I (2014)
For a peek inside to the world of couture creations, watch Dior and I, which tells the story Raf Simons’s inauguration at the house of Dior following his appointment in 2012. Faced with the challenge of creating his debut couture collection as artistic director of the house in just eight weeks, Dior and I follows Raf on an intense, high-pressured journey, while paying homage to the seamstresses who help make his beautiful collection come to life.
Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008)
Almost 50 years after founding his fashion house in 1959, Valentino Garavani, one of the world’s most celebrated designers, announced his retirement in 2007. Valentino: The Last Emperor explores the professional and personal life of the designer, paying tribute to his career as he prepares for his final show, and taking a closer look at the relationship between him and his long-term partner in business and life, Giancarlo Giammetti.
Alexa Chung: The Future Of Fashion (2015)
“The Future of Fashion is a mission to uncover the depth of the industry and the huge variety of roles that go towards sending clothes down the catwalk season after season,” explains Voguecontributing editor Alexa Chung, who set out to investigate the truth about the fashion industry with her Vogue Video series by asking the questions everybody wants answers to. From finding out first-hand from Olivier Rousteing how he rose to the ranks of fashion royalty at Balmain, to exploring how to secure a job at Vogue, Alexa brings her signature charm and wit to give an insider view of the ins and outs of the fashion world.
Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer (2015)
The People’s Designer tells Jeremy Scott’s Cinderella story, from rags to riches – or, rather, from small town in Missouri to creative director of Moschino. Originally from humble beginnings, Jeremy endured obstacle after obstacle to get to where he is today; this film takes a closer look at the man behind the flamboyant, tongue-in-cheek designs. Watch out for cameos from a host of his celeb super-fans, including Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora, Katy Perry and the Hilton sisters.
Lagerfeld Confidential (2007)
What does a day in the life of Karl Lagerfeld look like? Lagerfeld Confidential gives you an idea, with its peek inside the everyday routine of the famously private designer. Karl opens up about his German upbringing and early career, allowing the camera to follow him to intimate spaces, from his chaotic Parisian apartment to a flight in a private jet, giving viewers an insight into the man behind the infamous dark glasses.
Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
Bill Cunningham New York portrays the late photographer and longtime New York Timescontributor at work. The original street style snapper, Bill made his name photographing the colourful streets of New York, getting around the city via his trademark bicycle. He was renowned within the industry, beloved by all. As Anna Wintour explains in the film, “We all get dressed for Bill”.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)
Before editors were personalities, before street style stars and bloggers were the trendsetters, there was the vivacious empress of fashion: Diana Vreeland, the editor who helped bring the industry into the modern age during the Sixties. This film takes a look at her life, from society girl, to Vogue editor-in-chief, to mainspring behind the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, telling the story of exactly how she became one of the most legendary fashion editors to date.
Instantly recognisable thanks to her signature oversized Jackie O-style frames and New Yorker-drawl, Iris Apfel’s sartorial flamboyance has earned her a firm place as one of New York society’s most legendary style icons – at the grand old age of 95. Iris is an in-depth portrait of the business woman. At the heart of the film lies her unwavering energy, with her free spirit and vivacious nature reminding us that (as clichéd as it might sound) fashion is fleeting, but style really is ageless.
The Director: An Evolution in Three Acts (2013)
It now seems almost impossible to imagine a Gucci without Alessandro Michele at the helm. But not so long ago, the Italian brand was under the direction of Frida Giannini, from 2006 through to 2014. The Director – the brain child of James Franco – follows the famously press-shy designer, exploring the past, present and future of Frida’s Gucci over the course of three collections.
The September Issue (2009)
The aptly-named documentary follows the making of American Vogue’s 2007 September issue, traditionally the most important issue of the year (interestingly, that particular issue remains US Vogue’s largest to date). At the time, the documentary gave the public unprecedented access to the inner workings of Vogue; although it’s intriguing watching Anna Wintour hard at work, it’s Grace Codington – the magazine’s former creative director – who really steals the show, her flame-red hair and stead-fast passion helping to shatter Devil Wears Prada myths that surround ideas of what working at US Vogue is really like.
In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye (2015)
A few years later, the US Vogue editors returned to screens with In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, commemorating the magazine’s 120th anniversary. Rather than focusing on a specific issue, it takes a look at how some of the publication’s most famous editorials came to life. As well as the editors, many a famous face that has contributed to the magazine’s legacy makes an appearance, with the film featuring interviews with design talents such as Marc Jacobs and Nicolas Ghesquière, and Hollywood stars including Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Kidman.
Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue (2016)
To celebrate British Vogue’s centenary, the BBC was given unprecedented access to the goings on behind the closed doors of our Hanover Square HQ. Expect to get up close and personal with key members of the Vogue team, and spy some of fashion’s most beloved faces, including Kate Moss, Edie Campbell and Mario Testino.
Inside Dior (2016)
Following Raf Simons’ exit last year, this two-part documentary goes behind the scenes of the hunt for a new creative director, following in the footsteps of Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano and, of course, Christian Dior. Celebrating the brand’s 70th anniversary, the series offers a unique insight into the luxury French fashion house and this transitional period between designers in the lead up to the appointment of Maria Grazia Chiuri, who was previously at Valentino.
Taken from Vogue. Read the original here.