9 Must-Watch Films to Kick off Fashion Month with Flair

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If you’ve been practising the Blue Steel pose in the mirror, you’re all set for the start of Fashion Month – almost. There’s just one more thing left to do, and that’s catching up on the most memorable fashion-centric films of all time. Whether they’re portraying characters that are real or fictional, charismatic or cringeworthy, these movies teleport you onto the runway, inside designer ateliers, behind fashion editors’ desks, and beyond. Here, Savoir Flair introduces nine must-see films that depict the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of an industry we can’t get enough of.

1

Bill Cunningham New York 

“We all get dressed for Bill” were the words famously uttered about the late fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, one of the most influential and beloved fixtures of the fashion industry. Dubbed the “Godfather of street-style photography”, he chronicled the fashion scene of the Big Apple long before the likes of Scott Schuman and Tommy Ton appeared on our radars. This 2010 documentary follows the legend – a 35mm camera in tow, of course – across the streets of New York City and gives viewers a very surprising look inside his home.

Watch it here.

2

Chasing Beauty

A staggering 25 percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize – a disturbing statistic highlighted in this award-winning documentary that explores the ugly side of being pretty through interviews with models, agents, designers, photographers, and even psychologists. Directed by former Ford model Brent Huff, Chasing Beauty reveals the dark (and often depressing) side of the modeling world, providing audiences with a rare glimpse into the relentless and often unattainable demands placed upon the men and women who aspire to front the glossy covers of fashion magazines.

Watch it here.

3

Coco Before Chanel

As the film’s title suggests, Coco Before Chanel is the story about the early and highly formative years of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Starring Audrey Tautou as the legendary fashion designer, it follows her journey from her time in an orphanage (where nuns taught her how to sew) through to her liaison with textile baron Étienne Balsan, who gave her an entry into French society and a chance to develop her gift for designing increasingly popular hats – all culminating in her becoming the enduring symbol of style, strength, and freedom that she is today. Eye candy aplenty comes in the form of Chanel dresses featured throughout, while Karl Lagerfeld himself supervised the creation of accessories and costumes.

Watch it here.

coco before chanel movie scene tailoring cigarette
Photo: Courtesy of Ace Showbiz
4

Dior and I

The storied world of Christian Dior is one that many only dream of entering, but this surprisingly candid documentary helps make it slightly more accessible for the everygirl. Described as a “breath of fresh air” for breaking the rules of typical fashion documentaries, Dior and I chronicles the introduction of Raf Simons to his new atelier, the challenging transition process, and the creation of his first-ever haute-couture collection – pre-runway show tears on a Paris balcony included. While it centers on the notoriously private Belgian designer, it’s safe to say that the fly-on-the-wall film moonlights as a truly heartfelt tribute to the charismatic and hardworking team of seamstresses at Dior.

Watch it here.

5

Funny Face

Cinematic magic occurs when the endlessly appealing Audrey Hepburn comes together on screen with legendary dancer Fred Astaire, original tunes from the George Gershwin Broadway musical of the same name, and a collection of custom-designed gowns by Hubert de Givenchy. Considered a classic to this day, the musical stars Hepburn as a frumpy bookstore clerk turned reluctant model and Astaire as the fashion photographer who discovers her. Fashionados will love the character of fashion editor Maggie Prescott, who is loosely based on the iconic Diana Vreeland.

Watch it here.

funny face scene audrey hepburn red dress
Photo: Courtesy of All Clip
6

L’Amour Fou

Look past the fact that there are subtitles involved and you’ll be greeted with a biopic like no other, one that is rife with mad love, demons, and immense design talent. A celebration of French couturier Yves Saint Laurent through the eyes of his life and business partner Pierre Bergé, this rather melancholic film explores 50 years of his financial successes and failures, extravagant living, art collecting, and crippling bouts of depression that were only eased when a new collection was shown. Despite the fact that Bergé isn’t the most emotional of men – as evidenced by the film – you’ll find it virtually impossible to hold back tears during the scene that depicts him delivering a eulogy at Saint-Laurent’s funeral in 2008.

Watch it here.

7

The Devil Wears Prada

“Fashion is not about utility. An accessory is merely a piece of iconography used to express individual identity” – words of wisdom from what is inarguably every fashion girl’s favorite film to date. If you haven’t already seen Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of aspiring journalist Andy Sachs who lands a job as an assistant to tyrannical editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (brilliantly played by Meryl Streep) at the “fictitious” Runway magazine, get on it immediately. There are countless reasons to love all 110 minutes of this film. Not only does it hilariously expose the occasionally odd norms of the fashion industry, but it also features costume design by Patricia Field, guest appearances by the likes of Gisele Bündchen and Valentino Garavani, and an array of quotable phrases – in addition to reminding us that not everyone knows how to spell “Gabbana”.

Watch it here.

8

The True Cost

Who pays the price for our clothing? That is the question answered by The True Cost, a documentary that takes a grim and highly sobering look at the rapidly growing “fast fashion” industry through narratives and interviews with factory workers and designers such as Stella McCartney. With the camera alternating between high-street retailers and the Indian slums in which those garments are created, every scene is a reminder of fashion’s detrimental effects on people and our planet – factory fires, building collapses, and diseases continue to kill factory workers in Cambodia, Bangladesh, and beyond while soil-toxicity levels and land contamination is on the rise thanks to mass production by retail giants worldwide. Yes, it’s seemingly impossible to avoid shopping at your high-street favorites entirely, but this eye-opening documentary may just induce you to pause before buying yet another wallet-friendly pair of jeans.

Watch it here.

the true cost fashion documentary poster
Photo: Courtesy of The It Girl
9

Zoolander

Our list couldn’t possibly be complete without the inclusion of a film that pokes fun at an industry filled with “really, really, really ridiculously good-looking” people – and that’s why we’re ending on a light note, courtesy of Zoolander. The premise of the film is as ridiculous as it is hilarious: Dim-witted male model Derek Zoolander, who has found success thanks to his trademark “Blue Steel” look, and fellow model Hansel McDonald put aside their rivalry to take down villainous designer Jacobim Mugatu, who plans to assassinate the prime minister of Malaysia. While there is absolutely no substance whatsoever to speak of, that’s exactly its appeal; think of Zoolander as the film equivalent of comfort food. And with cameo appearances by Victoria Beckham, Tom Ford, Gwen StefaniTyson Beckford, David Bowie, and even the divisive Donald Trump, who are we to complain?

Watch it here.

Rather watch a movie about the food industry instead? Five top recommendations await here.

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