Worth Watching: Fashion Documentaries

I recently re-watched Catwalk, a documentary from 1995 that follows Christy Turlington around as she participated in some of the most iconic fashion shows that impacted fashion irreversibly. Perhaps I wasn’t fully attentive the last time I watched it, or my mood is probably more reminiscent and sentimental these days, but it is an incredible opportunity to see some of the giants of the industry in such a candid and frank manner. I especially adored how much shade was thrown willy nilly by those of the pre-social media world.

Documentaries are one of my favorite genre of films, and I especially enjoy those about the world of fashion. I learn so much from these films and become more open-minded, which makes me challenge myself when approaching dressing. People of the intellectual set seem to think fashion is just all vanity. And to be fair, we could use a bit of rebranding, us pro-fashion folks. Perhaps less of a valley girl-esque accent and gasping when chatting the newest offerings that come down the runways? I too am guilty of high-pitch squealing when I see a gown that just blows my mind. It can be a very visceral reaction that cannot be controlled. What can I say? When you’re moved, you’re moved.

The below listed films helped me learn more about fashion history and gave me threads to chase in my quest to know more. I genuinely believe that in order to call oneself a fashion lover, one must have an appreciation for its history. It is not all Chanel Boy Bags and Gucci belts, you know. There is much much much more. It is complex, layered, and it is the one world that is totally and utterly propelled by one single question: what do women want to wear? From magazines to runways, all anyone is trying to answer is that question. Do women want to wear emerald green faux fur with a chunky coral necklace. Do they want mutton sleeves in organza and a skin-tight white leather pencil skirt? Will they revolt at the idea of navy paired with black?

These films pull back the veil and you see how that one particular outfit came to be or how this one image was styled and see the many folks that helped create iconic moments. I love hearing the anecdotes, like when Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele paired a couture Christian LaCroix blouse with blue jeans and people lost their minds. Or when Grace Coddington tricked Anna Wintour into doing a grunge editorial with no designer pieces and just clothes from a thrift store. Or when Valentino makes it known that the Ara Pacis exhibit for his gowns looks like Bloomingdales. Or when Lagerfeld is his full petty self against some fashion editor that wrote a bad review about him. It makes me feel like an insider, as if I’m in the know and these are my pals that I hobnob with at various fashion weeks. Talk about pipe dreams.

So, for your next Friday night, snuggle onto the sofa and enjoy one of these Ammachic-Certified films:

  1. Dior and I

  2. The September Issue

  3. Valentino: The Last Emperor

  4. Catwalk

  5. Vogue: In the Editor’s Eye

  6. Bill Cunningham’s New York

  7. Iris

  8. Franca: Chaos and Creation

  9. The First Tuesday of May

  10. Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards

  11. The Gospel According to Andre

  12. Dries

  13. House of Z

  14. Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's

  15. Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer

  16. Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel

  17. Mademoiselle C

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