We’re all about actors, films, TV and everything else in between here at Anglophenia… but what about the world of fashion? We think we can learn a thing or two watching these behind-the-scenes documentaries about everything from top designers to the making of Vogue, and what’s considered by some fashionistas to be the department store “mother ship,” Bergdorf Goodman.
1. House of Z
Designer Zac Posen, the subject of Sandy Chronopoulos‘ 2017 documentary House of Z, saw the finished film for the first time at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It was a three and half year process to bring the passion project to the big screen. Posen spoke to Anglophenia’s Sharon Carpenter at the screening saying, “What was very important to me, was to really have the trust… and give up final cut and final edit… and trust somebody to go out there in the world and piece together a story.” The film is awaiting a release date, adding a bit of mystery to the young designer’s story, but in the meantime, you can find out what to expect from Posen and Chronopoulos in the below.
This film takes us back to 1994, when Isaac Mizrahi was about to launch his “comeback” fall collection. We get a good sense of Mizrahi’s fiery personality when we see him reading the unflattering reviews of his previous line in the below trailer. Unzipped is a wonderful romp through the fashion world as it looked more than 20 years ago. So where’s Mizrahi now? He’s still on the scene. You may even have shopped his price-friendly line at Target, though he’s since departed the one-stop chain store to revamp Liz Claiborne and now can be regularly spotted on QVC.
3. The September Issue
You may remember “the book” from The Devil Wears Prada, when the first assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) has to deliver the final proof of Runway fashion magazine to her home (it still gives us a chill). 2009’s The September Issue is the real deal, showing us what it takes to get out an issue of Vogue magazine, through the lens of its formidable editor in chief, Anna Wintour… it’s not nearly as scary as the fictionalized version but a fascinating watch nonetheless.
4. Scatter My Ashes at Berdorf’s
Have you ever walked into a store and thought to yourself — even said out loud — “I want to live here.?” The 2013 film Scatter My Ashes at Berdorf’s embraces that sentiment, even going a bit further: “I want to spend eternity here” is more like it. While the title might sound a bit morbid, the film itself is very upbeat and full of life. Through first-person interviews with designers like Isaac Mizrahi (see above!), Vera Wang and Diane von Fürstenberg (who is credited with creating the wrap dress), we find out why people love this NYC store just so much.
5. Fresh Dressed
Some of us dress just to get from here to there, and it’s all about functionality, but not for those featured in the 2015 documentary Fresh Dressed. The film examines the growth of hip hop — from its beginning in the 1970s, to the explosion in the ’80s and ’90s, landing in the 2000s — particularly the way people were dressing. Being “fresh” dressed — from sporting brand new sneakers every day to wearing jeans several sizes too big — was directly associated with success; it was all about looking the part when out and about.
6. L’Amour Fou
In 2002, designer Yves Saint Laurent said in a retirement speech, “I understand that the most important encounter in life is the encounter with oneself.” Who ever said fashion designers are humble? The 2010 film L’Amour Fou, introduces us to creative genius Saint Laurent, who became a fashion legend.
7. Notebook on Cities and Clothes
Filmmaker Wim Wenders joins designer Yohji Yamamoto in Tokyo, Japan, to explore the creative process of making fashion in the 1989 film Notebook on Cities and Clothes. You’ll notice the trailer for the film is a little cryptic… which may be indicative of what to expect in a doc that, it seems, has a rather profound mission: to explores the juxtaposition of fashion and identity.
There’s that expression, “If you’re the most interesting person at the party, it’s time to leave.” Designer Iris Apfel (who passed away aged 100 in 2015) wasn’t concerned about going to the party, or being at the party, it was getting dressed for the party that was important to her. The 2014 film, simply called Iris, examines her 75 years as a fashion and interior designer, and the impact she had on the industry as a whole.
9. Dior and I
Fashionista magazine described 2014’s Dior and I as, “One of the most realistic fashion films we’ve seen.” And, if you’re a fashionista yourself, you’ll relish the chance to watch a fashion house bring a couture line to fruition, with designer Raf Simon working on behalf of Christian Dior SE. You’ll also spot a few actors in the doc who we regularly report on at Anglophenia, like Marion Cotillard (Allied) and Jennifer Lawrence (Passengers).
10. Bill Cunningham
You’ll recognize some of the individuals featured above, like Anna Wintour and Iris Apfel, in the documentary about famed photographer Bill Cunningham. Wintour says in the film, named after the subject, “I’ve said many times that we all get dressed for Bill.” Well, that’s quite a testimonial. Cunningham was a long-time photographer for The New York Times but made his mark early on in his career documenting street fashion. And, from the sound of it, it was something that just came instinctively. Here, we’re able to learn about trends through his eyes — and camera.
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