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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Top 10 Fashion Films and Shows

Fashion Week was awash with inspiring, entertaining and frivolous shows but if your passion for fashion has not been appeased check out these in vogue films.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)

“Vogue always did stand for people’s lives. I mean, a new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later?” - Diana Vreeland

This documentary centres around editor Diana Vreeland, the originator for fusing fashion and fantasy. Vreeland’s is certainly a story about defying the norm and breaking the standards of conventional beauty despite being known for her work at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.

The documentary makes the fashion world look as fanciful and glamourous as Zoolander. Designers from Diane Von Furstenberg to Jimmy Choo are on camera to tell their antidotes of the frantic and forthcoming editor. However, this also includes testimonies from Vreeland’s sons who reminisce that living with a highly creative person is not as enjoyable as watching them from the sidelines.

The True Cost (2015)

The fashion industry is "a perfectly engineered nightmare for the workers trapped inside it." - Andrew Morgan

Filmmaker Andrew Morgan travels the globe to explore the consequences of fast fashion. This is a wonderful documentary that shows how cheap and disposable fashion continues to rise while the environment and our health decline as a result. The film highlights how the resources, lack of fair-trade and a relentless turnaround of clothes cannot continue forever.

Whilst looking into the future of fashion with sustainable clothing, alongside big businesses that have begun to monopolise the distribution and materials within the industry, this film will make you pause for a fashion thought, maybe even long enough to reconsider your next purchase.

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

“You know what they say about women who wear glasses?” - Marilyn Monroe

This chick flick begins with a grand orchestra and doesn’t let up. The three lead women (Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe) bring extravagance and exaggerated performances to a New York fantasy world filled with high-end desires.

This superficial storyline and its Cosmo-esque how-to-guide for finding a rich husband as an independent woman must have been the blueprint for Sex and the City. You may even see a remake of this classic as Nicole Kidman bought the rights to How to Marry a Millionaire under her production company Blossom Films in 2007.

Iris (2015)

“I don’t like pretty, the rest of the world isn’t with me, but I’m still here.” - Iris Apfel

The now 93-year-old interior designer has travelled the world and amassed a collection of distinct fashion pieces. Iris is a lover of the unique and her approach to styling at times appears haphazard. However, her accessories and use of colour have helped her develop a brand that has thrived for generations, with a collection slowly being donated to the New York Museum of Modern Art. Iris’ story is a personal look at fashion through the lenses of a woman with respect for its history and craftsmanship.

The September Issue (2009)

“Nobody was wearing fur until Anna put it back on the cover of Vogue, back in the early 90s. And she ignited the entire industry. If we get behind something, it sells.” – Tom Florio

We follow Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and creative director Grace Coddington behind-the-scenes to witness American Vogue’s largest annual issue in production. The documentary spotlights Wintour’s influence on designer’s future trends and the interweaving of fashion and pop culture.

Exploring how Vogue stays as up to date as tomorrow, it appears that unexpected talents and unique photo shoots have been increasingly side-lined due to our celebrity-driven culture which forces the magazine to use stars of the moment. Although Vogue continues to push the boundaries of high fashion, using its stars in big budget, fairytale photoshoots, it is clear that there is no going backwards from a post-Kardashian culture.

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens (2008)

“Famous for taking pictures of famous people but she’s been doing it longer than anyone.”

Despite being written and directed by her sister Barbara Leibovitz this documentary is not a personal retelling of Annie Leibovitz life. Exploring why the rough and ready artist has transitioned from Rolling Stone magazine to more mainstream glossy publications; this is a retelling of her iconic imagery.

The film skims over her relationship with Susan Sontag and her drug addiction like a skipping stone to keep us focused on the visual artist’s creations. If you are a lover of photography, it reflects how those phases of her life allowed her to capture the last candid moments of John Lennon's life with Yoko Ono and her stunning ongoing work with Vogue.

Bill Cunningham New York​ (2011)

“We all get dressed for Bill.” - Anna Wintour

If you are looking for a personal story from a heavyweight in the world of fashion, look no further. Bill Cunningham is a down to earth enigma who has searched for beauty in the ordinary for over 50 years. As a street photographer the 87 years-old trend spots for genuine, personal style amongst the regulars traveling to and from New York.

The film follows Bill around as he covers events for his New York Times fashion column and continues to adapt to the times. Like his candid photography, there are unique moments in this documentary that capture Bill’s unique life and the impact of the unconventional.

About Face: Supermodels Then and Now (2012)

“A world of wonderful people, also very eccentric, the hairdresser and makeup artist, I don’t think they can live in any other place but the fashion world.” - Isabella Rossellini

HBO documentary About Face asks the original supermodels to converse about beauty and aging. Many tell the story of starting young and spending the rest of their time attempting to fresh-faced. However, the now fifty to eighty-year-olds have open dialogues about their careers, aging, plastic surgery and the fashion industry.

Including Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Marisa Berenson, China Machado, Beverly Johnson, Carmen Dell'Orefice, Paulina Porizkova, Jerry Hall, and Christy Turlington et al.

L.A. Frock Stars (2013 - )

“Fashion trends are fleeting, but good vintage garments last forever.”

L.A. Frock Stars is a television documentary series on the Smithsonian Networks. The reality show is set up in a similar way to ‘Pawn Stars’ as the boutique ‘The Way We Wore’ buys and sells high-end vintage clothing while educating its viewer on the history behind many of its pieces.

The show takes place in Los Angeles and features a few influential stylists, costume designers and actors who have a love for pre-loved clothing. (Available on ITunes, Amazon Instant Video and Google Play.)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

“Rudeness is merely an expression of fear. People fear they won't get what they want. The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved, and they will open up like a flower.” - M. Gustave

This Wes Anderson comedy is not about fashion, but it evokes all things style. Any Wes Anderson film could be listed here as his attention to detail and nostalgia leaves impactful imagery. Anderson’s costume, make-up and hairstyling merit higher ranking than Zoolander or The Devil Wears Prada. A non-traditional fashion film, but the story of a framed concierge has never looked so good.

Honourable Mentions

Funny Face (1957)

“A magazine is like a human being, if it comes into the home it must contribute.”

Working for the fictional ‘Quality’ magazine and emulating Harper Bazaar’s editor Diana Vreeland; this rom-com musical is a bright and fun take on the fashion world. It is a classic tale of a nerdy girl being transformed through fashion, although Audrey Hepburn doesn’t wear glasses, she does work in a library.

HBO Sex in the City - Sequels 1 & 2

“I spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes.”

On mute these films are like watching Vogue Magazine come to life. Set piece after set piece of beautiful clothing and stunning scenery alongside some feel good music. On the other hand, if you’re a stickler for a storyline that won’t offend you or question how a film with so little plot could last for so long, you may want to give Sex in the City 2 a miss.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

“I’m the same person, better clothes.”

This movie is known as having one of the most expensive wardrobes in film history. Great performances with a relatable story that is set in an environment where fashion is life. It is the go-to favourite for fashion lovers and its only flaw is adding rom to its com.

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