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Fashion on Film

Culture Watch
A still shot from the film "Dior and I" showing designer Raf Simons hard at work on his first couture collection for the famous French fashion house.

By Jessica Michault

A new crop of films dedicated to the world of fashion, and its original characters, have recently hit cinemas. Their arrival makes it a perfect time for a fashion movie marathon. Here, we list our top fashion films of all time.

 

Dior and I is a fascinating behind the scenes look at the first haute couture collection created by designer Raf Simons for the house of Christian Dior after his appointment as the brand’s new artistic director. Simons was faced with the daunting task of, in just eight weeks, reinventing the house in his own vision. The film is a beautiful homage to the dedicated Dior seamstresses who brought Simon’s unique vision to life.

 

The fashion world is filled with fantastic eccentric and inspiring individuals. Iris Apfel is one such example. For more then 70 years her eclectic fashion sense, which saw her piling on the accessories and topping off each look with her iconic round black frame glasses, made her the talk of the town for decades. Now finally she is getting her do with a film about her life shot by the legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles.

 

With the film Zoolander 2 currently in production, and the images of those iconic fictional male models Derek Zoolander and Hansel (in the form of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson) actually walking the Valentino runway last season, it has never been a better moment to revisit the original film. It’s far fetched storyline and some on the nose comic commentary about the fashion industry still hold up fourteen years later.

 

Two fashion films that should be seen back to back are The Devil Wears Prada, a movie based on a popular novel written by a former assistant to American Vogue’s editor in chief Anna Wintour, and The September Issue a documentary film chronicling Wintour’s preparations for the 2007 fall fashion issue. Both films have some spot on insights into the inner workings of the glossy magazine industry. The September Issue has the added bonus of introducing to the larger world the genius that is Grace Coddington.

 

For those looking for a classic fashion film one of the most iconic is Funny Face. Staring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, this 1957 movie is a filmed version of the classic 1927 George Gershwin Broadway musical with the same name. The film incorporates a number of the original tunes, all of which linger in the mind long after the end credits role. As does the captivating performances of the lead actors who make the glamorous world of fashion look just that much more fabulous.

 

Finally for die-hard fashionistas a must see movie is the French film Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo. Shot in 1966 it is a fantastic satire of the fashion industry. Ripe with all the fashion stereotypes (the all powerful fashion editor, the ingénue model) the film follows the young Polly Maggoo on her adventures in modeling in Paris. No need to speak French to understand the story or enjoy some of the most ridiculous and avant garde fashion of that sartorially transformative era.

 

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