Documentaries, aside from coffee table books, are my drug. For me, they can’t make them fast enough—especially in the fashion and design categories. Thus, as the rains begin to pour in LA—meaning it’s time to spend more time indoors—let’s Postmates some sushi and binge-watch seven of fashion’s finest documentaries.
1. Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui’s McQueen (2018) is about the rollercoaster life of Alexander McQueen. It is a beautifully edited documentary that covers the designer’s life from his early school days to his rise to the top of the fashion chain up until his tragic suicide. The film reveals his obsessions, his demons, and his extraordinary relationship with fashion stylist Isabella Blow.
2. Like finely polished silverware, R. J. Cutler’s The September Issue (2007) is shiny and flawless and reflects on the lives of those building fashion’s bible, Vogue, and its brilliant leader, Anna Wintour. Also featured prominently is Vogue’s creative director, Grace Coddington, whose own struggles are played out in the film ala Queen Anna slashing and burning some of Coddington’s favorite fashion stories.
3. Nobody’s life in fashion was as fabulous as Diana Vreeland’s, and this documentary is, too: Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011) by filmmakers Lisa Immordino Vreeland and Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt. It is a brilliantly constructed representation of Vreeland’s editorship at Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and her larger-than-life persona. Side note: Our friend and hairstylist Robert Steinken can quote every line of DV.
4. Valentino: The Last Emperor, (2008). If living vicariously through the opulent life of others brings you happiness, then hop onboard this joy ride. Director Matt Tyrnauer, who was given carte blanche access into Valentino’s life, peels back the velvet curtain to reveal how it’s good to be Valentino. You know, things like making sure the dogs have their seats on the private jet and other normal activities.
5. Mix one part humility, two parts kindness, and three parts love of the job, and you have Bill Cunningham New York (2011). Director Richard Press captures the essence of the man who photographed and edited street fashion as a reporter for The New York Times from 1978 to 2016. So ethical was this man, Cunningham, that he would even refuse food or drink at events so as not to influence his reporting.
6. Take a genius title like Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s (2013) and you have the basis for a sweeping documentary by director Matthew Miele into one of America’s most influential fashion retailers. And now, with the death of Henri Bendel—may she rest in peace—Bergdorf has an even greater torch to carry.
7. Most everyone’s favorite shoe designer, Manolo Blahnik, is the subject of journalist-slash-director Michael Roberts, who brings us into the meticulous cobbler’s life. Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards (2017) is the fascinating documentary of Blahnik, whose pricey shoes are coveted by celebs, stylists, and fashion slaves. Featured players include Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell, Iman, Karlie Kloss, Paloma Picasso, Rihanna, André Leon Tally, and more.