Fashion Documentaries You Need To See


This actually just arrived in my inbox from The Zoe Report. These are some of my favorite fashion films, and some I haven’t seen before.

If we are going to be completely honest, I read through this post on the Zoe Report and couldn’t decide where to save it so that I wouldn’t lose it. I have endless things bookmarked (that I then forget about), I have so many emails flagged so that I can come back to them (that I then forget about), I have lists for days of things like this list of movies (that I then forget about), so I’m re-posting this on the blog in the hope that don’t lose the list!

I used to binge watch fashion movies over Thanksgiving and Christmas when I would have to hand over my son to his dad and then come home to an empty and very quiet house. I would light tons of candles, open a good bottle of wine and curl up with a great fashion documentary. Now he is with me all the holidays these are no longer my November-December go to’s.  But how perfect for a summer evening!

If you are looking for something to watch on Netflix, many of these are available for streaming. If you are one of my current or former pro-makeup students every one of these movies will give you a greater insight into the fashion and into the industry.


This Is The Next Cult Fashion-Girl Film

Just because Haute Couture Week has ended, it doesn’t mean you have to be in a style rut until September. If there’s anything that can reignite your passion for fashion (other than a shopping spree, of course), it’s a good dose of inspiration from the film gods of style—and considering the visual nature of the industry, fashion documentaries have a reputation of being actually interesting to watch. The new Manolo Blahnik doc, for example, might be the ideal film to reignite your passion for fancy footwear (as if it could ever falter)—the trailer alone is inspiring. To jump-start your weekend, here’s a roundup of the best fashion documentaries that’ll give your movie nights a serious makeover.
Manolo Blahnik

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards

An exploration into the life and work of the man whose name is synonymous with Carrie Bradshaw’s closet essentials, Manolo paints an intimate portrait of legendary designer Manolo Blahnik. The biopic, to be released in NYC on September 15, includes interviews with top insiders, editors and celebs (think Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell and SATC author Candace Bushnell—the list goes on). Watch the first official trailer here., Inc.


Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel

The Eye Has to Travel may be one of our favorite films of all time—we put it on whenever we’re in need of a little pep talk of sorts, as Diana Vreeland has so many inspirational and motivating things to say. The late Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue editor was responsible for publishing the first photos of both Twiggy and the bikini, if that gives you any sense of her impact on the fashion industry as well as on pop culture in general. You can find The Eye Has to Travel on Netflix.

Bill Cunningham New York

The world lost a legend last year when fashion photographer Bill Cunningham passed away at the age of 87. Bill Cunningham New York was made before his death, in 2010, and it delves into the life of the influential and iconic photographer, who began chronicling street style long before everyone else jumped on his bandwagon. Cunningham was so influential that Anna Wintour famously says in the film, “We all get dressed for Bill.” You can find Bill Cunningham New York on Netflix.

L’Amour Fou

According to those interviewed, Yves Saint Laurent, who suffered from depression, was happy only two days per year: those on which his collections were shown. This documentary, the third made about the designer, focuses largely on his relationship with his longtime partner (in business and life), Pierre Bergé, and is based on memories from Pierre himself. L’Amour Fou is available on Netflix.

Mademoiselle C

Mademoiselle C follows former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld as she leaves the publication after a decade to start her own magazine, CR Fashion Book. The film is a must-watch for anyone as obsessed with Carine as we are—it’s available to stream on Netflix.

The True Cost

If you can’t help but feel that designer goods are overpriced so as to be elitist, The True Cost may be worth a watch. It documents all that goes into making the inexpensive pieces we all love from fast-fashion chains—many of which rip their designs from the runway—and the revelations are not pretty. You can stream The True Cost on Netflix.


The September Issue

This film follows the inimitable Anna Wintour and the Vogue staff as they produce the September 2007 issue of American Vogue—if you’re going to pick one film from this list to watch, The September Issue should be it. You can stream the documentary on Amazon for free with a seven-day Tribeca Shortlist subscription.

Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston

This film chronicles the rise and fall of designer Roy Halston Frowick, who rose to fame after dressing Jacqueline Kennedy for the presidential inauguration of her husband in 1961. You can watch it on Netflix.

Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s

We love that someone had the chutzpah to make a feature-film-length love letter to a department store—we feel this director so hard. You can stream Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s on Netflix., Inc.


Chasing Beauty

We may not be sure why we’re fascinated with models, but we are. Chasing Beauty presents us with the startling statistic that 25% of American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than a Nobel Peace Prize. (Yikes!) You can stream Chasing Beauty for an insider look at the modeling industry, now on Netflix.


This film follows Isaac Mizrahi as he designs and shows his 1994 collection. The way in which he’s depicted by the filmmaker—who was also his boyfriend at the time—was so unsavory to the designer that the couple split after its release. You can stream Unzipped on Netflix.


Dior And I

This film enters into the house of Dior as Raf Simons is installed as its new artistic director. He was given only eight weeks to put together his first collection, and we break out into hives just thinking of the pressure under which he must have been as a result. You can follow his journey by streaming Dior and on Netflix.

Valentino: The Last Emperor

As with L’Amour Fou, this film explores an iconic fashion designer’s relationship with his business partner and companion—in this case, Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti. It also lives up to its lofty title, with evidence of excess to which we could only dream, including the fact that Valentino travels only by private jet, his six pugs in tow wherever he goes. You can stream Valentino: The Last Emperor for free on Amazon with a seven-day Sundance Now Doc Club trial subscription.


“You’re not pretty and you’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter. You have something much better. You have style.” These are the famous words uttered at Iris Apfel by Frieda Loehmann (of Loehmann’s department stores) and, though we happen to think Apfel is beautiful, all we can say to the sentiment of this statement is amen. The fashion icon is now 94 years old and going strong, which is why this 2015 documentary about her is so inspiring to watch. You can stream Iris on Netflix.


Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer

In this film, Jeremy Scott disparages the critics who have long disparaged him, saying, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a statue of a critic.” The documentary follows the expansive trajectory of his career despite their critiques, from small-town Missouri to his installation as the creative director of Moschino. The designer was also famously rejected from FIT. You can stream The People’s Designer on Netflix.

The Future Of Fashion With Alexa Chung

We’d probably watch Alexa Chung recite the dictionary, so you can imagine how keen we were to watch The Future of Fashion. In the six-part series produced by British Vogue, Alexa explores her own experiences in the fashion business and interviews other key figures, including Olivier Rousteing, Christopher Kane and Paul Smith. You can stream the series here., Inc.