Put These Fashion Documentaries on Your Radar, Now!


I have a weird rule that I only like to watch movies ONCE, but fashion-related documentaries are 100% the exception to the rule. Always fascinating, and full of insight and inspiration, I've found that they've contributed greatly to my understanding of a fashion icon, a trend, an era, and a side of the business that I haven't explored (yet).

There's a blockbuster set of them coming out this spring that made me want to revisit the subject and compile the ones to check out in a theatre near you, or at home.

Iris: A documentary by renowned documentarian Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens) takes us into the world of life-long New Yorker and style icon Iris Apfel, who worked with her husband in the textiles business for decades, and is revered worldwide for her unique personal style, spawning an exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute along with collaborations with brands as diverse as MAC Cosmetics and eyebobs eyeglasses, to her own accessories line for HSN. Screenings begin April 29th in New York City.

Dior and I: With only eight weeks to go before his first collection debuts for Dior, newly minted creative director Raf Simons certainly has his work cut out for him! This documentary finds new ways to tell the tale of this storied house, gracefully interweaving Christian Dior's story with Simons', with rare behind-the-scenes footage of the atelier as they prepare his first collection for the brand. Screenings in the USA have already begun, with more viewing options in theatres globally, right now!

Photo via Dior and I

Photo via Dior and I

Older Documentaries NOT to be Missed:
Inside the Mothership Although it's a hair under 15 minutes long, this behind-the-scenes look at Fendi as the brand readies itself for its spring/summer 2014 is directed by one of my favorite fashion documentarians, Loic Prigent, and features a Karl Lagerfeld cameo. Need I say more? See link above to view it on Fendi's You Tube channel.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel Legendary Vogue editor and fashion icon, Diana Vreeland led a fascinating life and career in fashion, and possessed unusual and pioneering qualities. Definitely a tinge of The Devil Wears Prada can be found in her biography! Available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon.com to rent/buy.

Advanced Style The blog by the same name is inspiring and enlightening, but the documentary, featuring some of blogger Ari Seth Cohen's most beloved subjects brings aging and style into full view. It's a glorious revelation through these women's eyes—and clothes. Available on Netflix and Amazon.

Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston It may feel a it kitschy and contrived at first, but barrel through the beginning to get to the heart of Halston's success, demise, and untimely death, told to Whitney Sudler-Smith by Halston's close friends and muses, including Liza Minelli and Patricia Cleveland. Halston lead the way in many aspects of fashion, from fabric innovation to the high-low collection collabarions so popular today. Available on Netflix and Amazon.

Marc Jacobs + Louis Vuitton I've probably seen it no less than 10 times, but no matter; this is still my all time favorite documentary! Also directed by Loic Prigent, this one juxtaposes the world of Marc Jacobs to that of his work for Louis Vuitton, revealing the creative process behind the shows he produced for each, practically simultaneously,  or years. Most fascinating, at least for me, is to consider where inspiration may come from, and how an inkling of an idea has the potential to quickly blossom into a striking garment and/or accessory.

Are there are any fashion documentaries you'd like to add to the list?

[Photo via Magnolia Pictures]

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17 Responses

  1. Heather Pool

    I’ve only seen The September Issue and LOVED it. Now i’m watching everything on this list!

  2. Kali

    Bill Cunningham New York – I cry every time I watch it. A beautiful portrait of a beautiful man.

    Valentino: The Last Emperor – the chance to look into the Valentino archives made me want to jump through my TV screen.


  3. Brooke

    Wow! I haven’t heard of any of these yet, so I’ll be on the hunt for them to see and learn more about the fashion industry. I always love seeing what is behind a designer’s point of view and where their inspiration comes from. Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to see these documentaries.

  4. Raquel

    That is so funny that you posted this because I’m seeing “Dior and I” this week in theater and I am getting tickets next month to see “Iris”! They should both be fab documentaries 🙂

  5. Melody

    “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” is another great fashion documentaryt. It celebrates the NY store and designers it carries. Michael Kors talks about how the store gave him his big break. It also shows all of the magic behind those infamous holiday windows.

    I also loved “Advanced Style” and got the chance to watch a screening and hear Ari Seth Cohen speak about the process live! Its a touching movie to watch with your mother and grandmother.


    • Anastasia Nicole

      Completely agree about Scatter My Ashes. It gave a great look behind the scenes not only at Bergdorf’s but how the majors operate in general.

      I recently saw The Eye Has to Travel and Mademoiselle C both of them are must watches for girls who want to get in the editorial game. Full of so much style and old school wisdom.


  6. Tracy Ann

    Agree 100% with Chantelle Pidgley! I love Mademoiselle C. my fav right now. And Iris looks quite inspirational. Thanks for the heads up