Fashion and documentaries are two worlds that are strongly intertwined. Fashion uses documentaries to communicate its story and documentarians are always happy to step in in the fascinating world of fashion.
There are many documentaries about fashion that one can watch, so we have made a selection of titles that can compose a pertinent must-see list.
The 1989 documentary “Notebook on Cities and Clothes” explores the creative process and struggles of Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. In this film, directed by Wim Wenders, the fashion designer discusses cities, identity and the cinema in the digital age.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
“Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” is most likely one of the best documentaries related to fashion to have ever been made. Presenting the personality of the woman who transformed fashion from what it was in the 1930 to what it is today, the film is not only a lesson in history, but also a touching story. The main reason why the documentary is so relevant is because it focuses on the way in which fashion can be a job and on how fashion and social life intertwine.
BBC’s The Look
The 1992 six-part series “The Look” created by the BBC makes a great overview of the fashion world and the concepts that lie at its basis. These documentaries are definitely useful, as they present fashion from different angles and explore the different ways in which fashion impacts society. On a meta level, “The Look” is a great series to watch if you want to engage in a comparison between the fashion world of today and the one of the 1990s and explore which aspects have changed (runways, etc.) and which have remained (the relevance of luxury).
When Carine Roitfeld of French Vogue decided to create her own magazine, she might have not known how hard it can be to launch your own media venture. “Mademoiselle C” is a great film documenting the launch of the very first CR fashion book. While the movie is lacking a bit in the technical department, it is a very compelling and captivating story.
In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye
As Vogue magazine celebrated its 120th anniversary, HBO together with WOW released a truly magical documentary focusing on the fashion editors of the iconic magazine. The interviews with fascinating people including Grace Coddington, Anna Wintour, Babs Simpson, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele and more tell an intricate story of what Vogue really is and why it is such a big part of global culture.
In 2014, Iris Apfel became the subject of a documentary directed by Albert Maysles, in which he explored the mind of the iconic style icon. This documentary is all about creativity and the ability to influence the world while maintaining a low key.
The First Monday in May
The First Monday in May is a 2016 documentary directed by Andrew Rossi. The movie follows the organization of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibit ever, namely the 2015 art exhibition called “China: Through the Looking Glass” by curator Andrew Bolton at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The film gives good insight into the complex ways in which fashion works and the attitudes of its movers and shakers.
The Secret World of Haute Couture
This 2007 film is a more obscure reference, but it is nevertheless one of the most fascinating fashion documentaries. Focusing on the clients of haute couture clothes, this movie is a fascinating incursion into a secret world that will never be open to sharing itself with the world.
Dior and I
The 2014 documentary “Dior and I” offers a privileged insight in the Christian Dior fashion house back when Raf Simons’ created his first haute couture collection for the brand. Widely acclaimed by the public, this movie is a good close-up of what high fashion is today.
Bonus: We Are Fashion
While not a feature film, our own web documentary “We are Fashion” launched in 2014 is an insight into the views of fashion bloggers from all continents of the world. With over 2 million fashion blogs in the world, Attire Club was interested to explore who these people are and what their views of fashion and style are.
Documentaries, while currently on the decline as a genre, are a great way to learn about the world on the way in which people want to present themselves or a certain concept. Documentary films are a great tool, as they are always a great way to discover worlds beyond your own.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. We want to hear from you! Which is your favorite fashion documentary? Why? Which is your favorite fiction film about fashion? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!