Most people automatically start snoozing just at the thought of watching documentaries, it’s like having to sit through a long history class. But contrary to popular belief, fashion documentaries can be fascinating and are worth the watch. The fashion industry is usually very exclusive, so you never know what actually goes on behind the scenes. That’s what’s so intriguing about fashion documentaries – they give you access to inside information you’ll never get anywhere else. And no, I’m not only talking about the over-watched September Issue, there are many more films related to things like the making of a designer’s collection, the day in the life of a fashion photographer, the powerful impact of a department store, and many more. The best part – the documentaries listed below are available on Netflix.
1. Scatter my Ashes at Bergdorf’s, 2013
This documentary is a look behind the beautiful windows of the iconic Manhattan department store, Bergdorf Goodman, which is the temple of luxury brands and fashion. The story is told by some of fashion’s most influential designers and people who work there including Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar de la Renta, and Linda Fargo.
2. Ultrasuede in Search of Halston, 2010
A story on the rise and fall of America’s first celebrity-designer, Halston. This documentary pays tribute to his life by giving us an inside look on the empire he built in the 1970’s through his designs and social status. Interviews with his friends and witnesses help define the impact he made during his time and on the fashion industry in general.
3. Unzipped, 1995
Isaac Mizrahi was one of the most successful designers in high fashion. This documentary follows him around while he plans his 1994 collection. It shows us the creative process and living with him through the excitement and anxiety before the fashion show.
4. Mademoiselle C, 2013
Mademoiselle C is a documentary focused on former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief and fashion stylist Carine Roitfeld as she moves to New York to launch her own magazine, CR Fashion Book. It also touches on her personal life, introducing her husband, daughter, and granddaughter (who was born when the documentary was being filmed).
5. Bill Cunningham New York, 2010
This documentary is a great way to introduce yourself to the famous New York City street style photographer, Bill Cunningham. He works for New York Times and despite his fame he manages to keep a low profile while remaining old school. This film follows the now 85-year-old on his bicycle through NYC snapping shots of fashionable New Yorkers to publish in the paper. We also get a glimpse of his tiny studio apartment and his personal life. Bill Cunningham is the epitome of what it’s like to stay humble through fame in the fashion industry.