5 Fashion Movies to Fall in Love With
Fashion is one of those art forms that really benefits from the film medium; fashion, like film, is all about what one can view with the eye, appreciate with the senses, and fall in love with from first glance.
For these five style-minded movies, it’s all about seeing with a more careful eye and just falling in love with fashion all over again (or for newbies, for the first time). From inside an esteemed couture house to the streets of New York, these five films are sure to give you a second look at one of the most socially relevant art forms in the most beautiful, behind-the-scenes way possible.
1. “Valentino: The Last Emperor” (2008)
This was my first foray into fashion documentaries, and while I’m neck deep in favorites now, this was the first movie that really changed the way I saw fashion. With a very intimate look into the last year of Valentino Garavani’s time at the head of the couture house that bears his name, “Valentino: The Last Emperor” isn’t just about him or just about his clothes; it’s about the teams of seamstresses, artists and creators behind every single one of his exquisite pieces.
With incredible artistry, sumptuous materials and a grandiose finale, this film proves that there’s so much more than a pretty face behind one of the world’s great art forms but heart, soul and true workmanship as well.
2. “The September Issue” (2009)
“The September Issue” was the first film to show the world what the inside of the Vogue offices looked like; it is definitely one of the reasons fashion has continued its meteoric rise to the forefront of the social consciousness. Documenting American Vogue, Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington as they build the September 2007 issue, this film is a must-see for anyone who hopes to work in the hallowed halls of Condé Nast’s most famous production.
From photographing locations to the editing board and chopping block, this film gets unparalleled access to the beloved magazine that has shaped American fashion and society since its inception.
3. “Bill Cunningham New York” (2010)
Starring one of the most renowned New York Times photographers in the world, “Bill Cunningham New York” gives an inside look at what it takes to get the best picture. The film documents photographer Bill Cunningham’s relentless photo and editorial take on the street fashion of New York City.
Offering commentary from friends and colleagues, including Tom Wolfe, David Rockefeller and Anna Wintour, this documentary is less about the curated pages of a fashion editor and more about the gritty fashion from wearers on the street. For any street style maven, this documentary is a must-see, as it launched the ever-popular obsession with what real people are wearing on the street.
4. “Neon Demon” (2016)
This much-anticipated film is not necessarily one that provides any truths about fashion, but it’s avant-garde look at how one face can change an industry is something akin to “The Devil Wears Prada”—you know it’s not necessarily real, but that doesn’t make it any less fanciful and fun to watch. Starring Elle Fanning as the fresh-faced 16-year-old Jesse looking to make it in the fashion world, “Neon Demon” is one that provides glitz, glamour, light and action, as well as a surreal amount of thrills along the way.
From the famed director of “Drive,” this is fashion-meets-horror includes a lot of stereotypes of the fashion world that may not ring true, but it also glitters like an editorial and sparkles with wit—and isn’t that what we love about fashion in the first place?
5. In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye (2012).
“In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye” is one of those documentaries for someone who's not just looking for an inner eye into the secret world behind all the clothes but for an explanation and an introduction to fashion's key players. Filmed as an ode to Vogue's 120th anniversary, “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye” breaks down the magazine’s famed editors’ methods of madness—or, in short, what makes them tick—as well as the huge landmarks that have occurred in the publication’s timeline.
From Grace Coddington to World War II, this film puts the women and their world in the forefront to show how fashion and, in particular, Vogue has shaped our society since its inception. You can catch the film in its entirety on YouTube. International viewers can get around the geo-location block with a VPN—no Redbox renting or Netflix login needed!
Whether your aim is to dress well or dress other people well, these movies are the perfect education in all things beautiful. So sit back, relax and get into your best fashion frame of mind because from the moment you press play, anything goes!
Love these five fashion titles? Leave a comment below. We’ve got about a million and one more style-minded adventures for the fashion lover.
About the author of this post: Cassie lives to be a fountain of knowledge on any given subject, using movies and books as resources. From fantasy literature to fashion, she’s determined to be as well informed as any one human can be from watching and reading the best that’s out there.