The only thing better than watching fashion on the runway is watching it on the big screen. In the past five years, some pretty amazing fashion documentaries have been made about this industry and the people in it.
Learn about some of the biggest fashion houses in the world, along with the evolution of some of the most popular fashion trends alive today.
Here are five must-see documentaries that every fashion lover needs to see:
1. “The September Issue” (2009)
Considered a classic in the fashion world, “The September Issue” documents the production of the 2009 September issue of Vogue magazine. It takes you behind the scenes of the production process, from when the fall clothing is selected off the runways in February, to the selection of Sienna Miller as the cover star. The documentary takes you through creative director Grace Coddington’s thought process when creating photo shoot concepts and Anna Wintour’s selection process for choosing the final content to go into the magazine. “The September Issue” also goes into detail behind both Wintour’s and Coddington’s backstories and how they both ended up in their respective positions at Vogue. This documentary is definitely a must see for any fashion lover or anyone interested in working for magazines.
2. “Bill Cunningham New York” (2010)
This documentary follows the legendary New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. Cunningham is known for his short weekly “On the Street” videos on the Style section of the Times as well as a spread of photos documenting a particular trend. The documentary follows Bill Cunningham’s daily routine, showing the humble habits he has maintained for years, as well as his unique apartment space about Carnegie Hall that houses more boxes of his work than actually living space. A simple man, Cunningham prefers to ride a bike around New York City and uses a film camera, going to develop his film each time he has a spread to make. Bill Cunningham is one of the most humble men in the fashion industry, never having lived an excessive life, but doing what he loves: photographing beauty.
3. “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” (2013)
“Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” tells the story of the history of Bergdorf Goodman in New York, and the process of putting together Bergdorf’s legendary holiday windows. Bergdorf’s remains an institution in terms of department stores, both for shoppers and for designers who wish to sell their collections there. To designers, you have made it big when you get the opportunity to sell your clothing in such a prestigious location, and to shoppers, you are treated like royalty when you shop there, in the hands of their professional sales staff. The documentary also goes behind the scenes of their holiday window displays, from the brainstorming process to when they are revealed to the public. It follows how much work goes into each elaborate window and the reception received when they are unveiled.This documentary tells a great story of a store that started out small and is now one of the most well-known in the world.
4. “Mademoiselle C” (2013)
“Mademoiselle C” follows former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld as she leaves the magazine in an attempt to start her own in New York: CR Fashion Book. Similar to “The September Issue,” it shows all the trials and tribulations that goes along with producing a magazine. With her editor-in-chief experience, Roitfeld starts from the ground up, having to come up with a name for the magazine, which becomes her initials, “CR” and the tone of the magazine, which she describes as wanting to be somewhere between the thickness of a magazine and a book. It is a truly inspiring film that shows how you can reinvent yourself at any age and follow your passions.
5. “Chasing Beauty” (2013)
This documentary is focused on the other critical aspect of the fashion industry: modeling. The film follows two young adults, one male and one female, who are striving to break into the modeling industry in California, while following a real-life model through her daily routine. There are also testimonials from professionals in the industry such as former and current models in addition to consultants from modeling agencies around the country. Chasing Beauty shows also highlights the cons of the industry: eating disorders, pressures, and the rejection that comes with being a model. It is an eye opening look at the world of modeling that is vastly contrasted with what is depicted in America’s Next Top Model.