A great fashion documentary transports you as a viewer, and you emerge not only more knowledgeable but also feeling inspired. Documentaries on fashion icons, designers and more abound and show that Fashion Week tents aren’t the only shortcut to a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion industry. We have compiled a few can’t-miss documentaries from as far back as 1995, on fashion that not only get up close to the day-to-day processes of the industry, but remind us why we love fashion in the first place.
Before every fashion designer was the subject of their own documentary, Unzipped took a behind-the-scenes peek at one of the biggest fashion shows of the 1990s - Isaac Mizrahi’s fall 1994 collection. With appearances from supermodels including Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista, this documentary was one of the first to look behind the curtains at the creative process of a collection.
Lagerfeld Confidential (2007)
Karl Lagerfeld is not only the incredibly creative designer behind powerhouse fashion houses Chanel and Fendi, but also a notoriously private. Lagerfeld Confidential provides an up-close-and-personal look into the life and creative process of the storied German designer as he travels and discusses his work.
The September Issue (2009)
This documentary gives an unprecedented look into the historic September 2007 issue of Vogue, which weighed five pounds and was the largest magazine ever published. Following Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington and other Vogue editors, the documentary shows the various processes that went into creating the legendary issue.
Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
Bill Cunningham is more than a New York Times photographer; he has chronicled trends for the newspaper’s Style section for years. While Bill Cunningham lives humbly and stays out of the spotlight, fashion insiders from Vogue Editor-in-Chief to Paper Editor Kim Hastreiter acknowledge his enduring impact on trends and street style. The documentary provides a fascinating glimpse into the life and influence of this singular photographer.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)
This documentary looks into the incredible career, influence and legacy of Harper’s Bazaar editor Diana Vreeland. The creator of the iconic “Why Don’t You…” column has an influence that is still felt in the fashion industry today, and was a pioneer for a new approach to fashion that was about creativity and spirit just as much as stunning clothes.
McQueen and I (2011)
On the anniversary of the British designer’s death, this documentary documents the eccentric and darkly intellectual designs of Alexander McQueen and his tumultuous relationship with his muse and patron Isabella Blow. This British documentary gives a look into the troubled designer’s process and genius.
Advanced Style (2014)
Following seven stylish New Yorkers whose eclectic and enthusiastic approach hasn’t dulled with age, Advanced Style is a documentary that proves a unique spirit is the best medicine for staying young at heart. Inspired by Ari Seth Cohen’s street style blog of the same name, the documentary focuses on women aged 62-95 whose ostentatious approaches to fashion challenge conventional notions of beauty and aging.
Dior and I (2014)
When Raf Simons took the helm at Dior, he had eight weeks to craft his first haute couture collection rather than the customary six months. Dior and I follows the process of creating the incredible collection with appearances from celebrity fans of the brand like Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Lawrence. The documentary gives an unparalleled peek into the pressure and teamwork behind a couture collection.
Iris Apfel isn’t your average 94-year-old - the style icon known for her circular glasses, brightly patterned clothes and armfuls of bangles makes for a fascinating subject of this documentary by Albert Maysles. The film tells the story of the flamboyant nonagenarian from her upbringing in Queens during the Great Depression through her time as an interior designer and subject of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Iris tells the story of a truly unique, creative style icon.
Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer (2015)
From fashion school reject to helming Moschino, few designers have had such a fast career arc and pop culture impact as Jeremy Scott. This documentary, which is in theaters now, follows the designer through several Fashion Weeks as he discusses his Midwest background, struggles in the fashion industry, creative process and muses including singer Katy Perry.
Written by Chloe Lauter
Edited by Anne-Isabelle Saint-Pierre
Photo courtesy of imdb.com, hollywoodreporter.com, snookmagazine.com, newnownext.com