With New York Fashion Week kicking into high gear in a few weeks, it is the perfect time to get ready for the wonderful whirlwind that only true fashion aficionados love to get swept away in. With a full runway schedule ahead, here are 11 superb fashion documentaries refuel your love for fashion with some of the best fashion stories of our time!
From legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (GREY GARDENS, GIMME SHELTER), IRIS pairs the late 88-year-old filmmaker with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. Available on Netflix.
2. Everyone Gets A Shot
Okay, let me get this out of the way. Richard Renda a.k.a. Mr. Totally Cool rocks! I have been a huge fan of his for years and had the wonderful pleasure of meeting him at the 3rd Annual Women & Fashion FilmFest in November AND got to take a picture with him on the red carpet (now framed and sitting in my office). Mr. Totally Cool’s philosophy is simple – Everyone gets a shot. He is known as the International Press Core Ambassador, at New York Fashion Week, a self appointed, and important role, Richard Renda, aka Mr. Totally Cool, has been fulfilling for decades, benefiting designers and media alike. This charismatic character has created a sense of community among the Fashion Media, which he rules. This is New York! Available on Vimeo.
3. Advanced Style
Directed by Lina Plioplyte and Ari Seth Cohen, Advanced Style examines the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging. These ladies definitely proving that they get better with time. Available on Netflix.
4. Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s
Whose breath has not been taken away just by walking by their infamous windows? This documentary peels back the curtain at Bergdorf Goodman, the iconic New York store that’s been launching design careers for more than a century. Key creative personnel and fans such as Joan Rivers and Candice Bergen discuss Bergdorf’s appeal. Directed by Matthew Miele. Available on Netflix.
5. The Director
This intimate portrait of Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini, spends 18 months inside the walls of the iconic Italian fashion house, exploring the intricacies of a quietly brilliant woman whose evolution as the creative force behind the brand is as nuanced as the storied company itself. Available on Netflix.
6. Bill Cunningham: New York
Bill Cunningham, one of the mainstays of the New York Times, has been a contributor to the renowned newspaper for many decades. He’s also an incurable and eccentric chronicler of fashion, tirelessly snapping photos of and writing about interestingly attired celebrities and ordinary New Yorkers he spots on the street. This exhaustive profile of Cunningham and his work includes interviews with friends — and often subjects — Tom Wolfe, David Rockefeller and Vogue magazine’s Anna Wintour. Available on Netflix.
7. Madamoiselle C.
Blazing your own path is necessary, no matter who tries to block your growth. A documentary focused on former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief and fashion stylist Carine Roitfeld as she moves to New York to launch her own magazine. Directed by Fabien Constant. Available on Netflix.
8. The True Cost
Each purchase comes with a cost, no matter what the price tag says its worth. The True Cost is a feature length documentary film that explores the impact of fashion on people and the planet. Directed by Andrew Morgan. Available on Netflix.
9. Make It In America: Empowering Global Fashion
If we can consume, we can create change. Exploring the decline, evolution and re-invigoration of U.S. fashion manufacturing. Available on Hulu.
This behind-the-scenes documentary takes a lighthearted look at the fashion industry through the launch of New York City designer Isaac Mizrahi’s 1994 fall collection. The film explores the inspirations Mizrahi drew from to create the line — which include Eskimos and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” — while revealing the harried reality of mounting a major fashion show. Along the way, a number of bold-faced fashion icons and actors crop up, including John Galliano to Richard Gere. Directed by Douglas Keeve. Available on Netflix.
11. Material Success
Marching to the beat of your own drum is an unpopular journey among many in the fashion industry. Bruno Ierullo is an extraordinary eccentric designer whose belief in writing your own story is the only way to define success for yourself – no matter what the rest of the world is doing. Take a seat and watch how this creative talent readies his first runway show after a personal tragedy inspired him to risk everything on a career change. Directed by Jesse Mann. Available on Hulu.
WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Tate, editor-in-chief