Caught in a summer rut and need some relaxation? Grab some low-cal popcorn and get inspired by these 11 famous fashion dvd’s every fashion-lover should own.
1. In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye: Drawing on Vogue’s exceptional archives, the film features behind-the-scenes interviews with editors who have contributed to the magazine’s legacy, including current editor-in-chief Anna Wintour; fashion editors such as Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman, Polly Allen Mellen, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Camilla Nickerson, Phyllis Posnick and Babs Simpson; celebrated Vogue subjects Nicole Kidman and Sarah Jessica Parker; industry icons such as Hamish Bowles; and fashion designers Alber Elbaz, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang (herself a former Vogue fashion editor), all of whom share their experiences collaborating with top photographers and image-makers of the day.
2. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel: During Diana Vreeland’s fifty year reign as the “Empress of Fashion,” she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie Onassis, and established countless trends that have withstood the test of time. This movie is an intimate portrait and a vibrant celebration of an enduring icon whose influence changed the face of fashion, beauty, art, publishing and culture forever.
3. Bill Cunningham New York: “We all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue editor Anna Wintour. The Bill in question is 80+ New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. For decades, this Schwinn-riding cultural anthropologist has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends he spots emerging from Manhattan sidewalks and high society charity soirees for his beloved Style section columns On The Street and Evening Hours. A personal top favorite inspirational movie of mine.
4. The September Issue: Fashionistas finally get a glimpse of the mastermind editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour, in this documentary. The title refers to the fattest monthly edition of the fashion bible, and the sheer creative and financial efforts it takes to stage and publish it. Wintour is revealed to be both more open and human than her carefully cultivated persona, but still guarded and tough to read. There’s less focus on any possible megalomania on the part of Wintour, and more on just what an endeavor it is to produce that issue of Vogue and its impact on the fashion world, yet have her impact realized on such a vast scale.
5. Unzipped: This documentary about fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi begins with Mizrahi reading mixed reviews of his 1993 show of new outfits and then follows him for the next year as he seeks inspiration for his next public showcase. Sardonic, witty, and immensely likable, Mizrahi sets about finding his new muse, which turns out to be a lively but unlikely marriage of “’50s cheesecake meets Eskimo fake fur.” Some of the best, bitchiest stuff is in the way the busy models deal with the presence of the director’s cameras: Naomi Campbell comes across as a crab while Cindy Crawford could easily be anybody’s swell, flirty pal. Shot mostly in black and white, with color stock reserved, quite wisely, for the climactic big show.
6. Christian Dior, The Man Behind the Myth: Christian Dior’s name is a myth. Yet, the man who totally changed the face of haute couture from 1947 to 1957 has nothing of the usually extrovert and flamboyant fashion designer. Christian Dior is a reserved, conservative looking man who never envisioned working in the fashion business. He’s even uncomfortable with the mundane character he has to play, this director of dreams for the high society, the boss of a large company with 900 employees depending on his creations for a living. Then, what are the reasons for his success, what are the roots of his impeccable taste, his unbelievable creativity?
7. Valentino: The Last Emperor: A critically acclaimed look into the life and times of legendary fashion designer Valentino. The film documents the colorful and dramatic closing act of the fashion icon’s celebrated career, tells the story of his extraordinary life and work, and also explores the larger themes affecting the fashion business today. But at the heart of the film is the unique relationship between Valentino and his business partner and companion of 50 years, Giancarlo Giammetti.
8. L’Amour Fou: Few, if any, changed fashion like Yves Saint-Laurent did in the 20th century. His legacy upon his death in 2008 was more than his contributions to fashion; it included one of the great collections of art in the world – and the man he built an empire with. The film follows the indelible icon through the eyes of lifetime love and business partner Pierre Berge from his early days as a design prodigy for Christian Dior through his decades as the face of a fashion empire. This touching documentary captures the complete life of the man behind the monogram, whose private struggles with depression and substance abuse often underscored his triumphs and innovations.
9. Lagerfeld Confidential: For the first time, Karl Lagerfeld, the innovative designed who has ruled the House of Chanel for more than two decades, agreed to trust a director to create an artwork based on his life. After three years of crosscrossing the globe filming the outspoken icon, Rudolphe Marconi unveils the inner workings of the influential and enigmatic star.
10. Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton: No camera has ever been allowed to film Vuitton’s and Jacob’s creation process yet the film unravels an economic and artistic system in a lively manner, maintaining the accuracy of the facts and the glamour, with maximum pleasure for the viewer. The narrative is not only the classical suspense that builds up before a collection, it is also a demonstration of a new way to make fashion, a very modern mix of chaos and glamour.
11. Seamless: A behind-the-scenes look at the intensely competitive world of the fashion industry. Like a grittier version of the reality-television series Project Runway, the film follows ten fashion-design hopefuls as they vie for top-prize in a contest created by Vogue magazine and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Focusing equally on the art of fashion design as well as its more cutthroat business, this thought-provoking doc includes cameos from Anna Wintour, Vera Wang, and Isaac Mizrahi.
What are some of your favorite fashion and style movies?