7 must-see documentaries about the fashion industry

Very soon a new documentary film We Margiela will come to the big screen, and might slightly open the veil over what is happening inside the cult fashion house Maison Martin Margiela. We thought the time was just right to share a list of our favourite documentaries about editors, photographers, designers, journalists and key happenings in the fashion industry.

The September Issue. 7 must-see documentaries about the fashion industry

Dior and I, 2014

Director: Frederick Cheng

The experience of Raf Simons at Christian Dior has already become part of the history of fashion and is already in all key textbooks. The designer left the fashion house to focus on his eponymous brand, and in many respects the reason for his resignation was the hectic rhythm of work on collections – a duty that falls on the shoulders of any creative director of a large fashion brand. When Simons came to Dior, right from the first step into the house on Avenue Montaigne, he had to start creating an haute couture collection. Normally the process is spread across several months, but Simons had only eight weeks. These first busy days at the post of the new creative director of Dior are captured by the director Frederick Cheng.

The September Issue, 2009

Directed by R J Cutler

If you think that working at a glossy magazine is similar to the film The Devil Wears Prada, then you should forget about everything you saw and watch The September Issue. In this film, honestly and without any fictional beauty and glamour, the key figures of the American Vogue – Grace Coddington, Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Telly, Hamish Bowles and members of their creative teams are working on the preparation of one of the thickest September issues American Vogue ever released.

Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue (series, 2016)

Director: Richard Macer

The BBC documentary consists of two parts, and it’s almost like a British version of the September Issue. In honour of its 100th anniversary last year, Vogue UK let their journalists speak out, however, only exclusively for the British television channel viewers. The director of the series, Richard Macer, held together with the editorial Vogue no less than nine months.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, 2011

Directed by: Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Frederic Cheng

Diana Vreeland is a cult figure. Perhaps, you have already read her memoirs, which may actually be considered an adventure novel as much as a hedonistic manifesto. Nevertheless, the film is definitely worth a watch. You will see the rare footage and excerpts from the interviews with Vreeland, her family and contemporaries. Needless to say, you will simply be inspired and will almost certainly look at her life in a whole new way.

McQueen and I, 2011

Director: Louise Osmond

While the feature film about Alexander McQueen is still at the production stage, we suggest watching a documentary about him. McQueen and I is unique in that it includes really rare video interviews with the designer, his brother, colleagues, boyfriend, friends, models and even Detmar Blow – Isabella Blow’s husband. From the film you can find out, for example, why the designer created his famous ‘Birds’ collection or a story about how he brought Eve Herzigova to tears.

The True Cost, 2015

Director: Andrew Morgan

In addition to the glamorous side of fashion, like for any large industry, there is a negative side – the one that is not always advertised. Trends are changing at high speed, luxury and especially mass-market retailers are producing more and more items for the needs of the consumers, which in turn leads to a forced reduction in production costs. To save money, brands are turning to factories in third world countries where working conditions are getting worse and worse every year. This documentary is about the true cost that we pay in the longer term for all those t-shirts that cost us $1-2 at low-cost retailers.

Valentino: The Last Emperor, 2008

Director: Matt Tierneier

Valentino Garavani showed his latest collection in 2007. Over the past 50 years, the designer become a living icon of fashion and, echoing the title of the film, can truly be considered an emperor of couturiers. The film is dedicated to the legacy of Valentino and details the creation process of his latest collection right before handing over the reins of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli.


Text: Irina Gorskaia

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