Much like fashion exhibits, documentaries about specific designers are on the rise. Case in point: the recently announced film about Vivienne Westwood, Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, which debuts next spring. While Dior and I famously comes to mind for documentaries about designers, there are countless more that chronicle the difficult task of leading a house and the eclectic group of people who have risen to the top.
- Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008)
Watch as the designer pulls together a collection, and prepares for a museum retrospective in Paris, all while reflecting back on his decades-long career. With more than one celebrity cameo (including Anne Hathaway) this doc is for those who love a little glamour.
2. The Artist is Absent (2015)
No, you won’t get a glimpse of the elusive Martin Margiela in this short documentary, but many of his friends (including Jean-Paul Gaultier) go on the record about what made him so groundbreaking. The best part is the whole thing is available online for free.
3. L’Amour Fou (2010)
There have been many films made about Yves Saint Laurent (both documentaries and biopics), but L’amour Fou distinguishes itself by being told through the eyes of Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent’s longtime lover and business partner. It’s a must watch in the wake of Bergé’s recent passing.
4. Lagerfeld Confidential (2007)
Step inside the world Karl Lagerfeld, fashion’s renaissance man. In addition to designing for Chanel and Fendi, he is also a master photographer and sketch artist. Plus, we can’t resist his quips and witticisms.
5. Azzedine Alaïa (2017)
Prepare yourself for the upcoming Alaïa retrospective in London by watching stylist Joe McKenna’s intimate portrait of the master couturier. What’s particularly interesting is seeing inside Alaïa’s studio and getting a sense not only of how he worked, but also the “family” he built—and the impression he left on the likes of Nicolas Ghesquière and Naomi Campbell.
6. Notebook on cities and clothes (1989)
Legendary director Wim Wenders was such a fan of Yohji Yamamoto’s work, he decided to make a movie about the designer. As much a film about Yamamoto as it is about Wenders, the doc explores the two artists and how they see the world.
7. Dries (2017)
A deep look inside the process of Dries van Noten, the film came out just in time to celebrate the designer’s 100th fashion show. Dries highlights his dedication to fashion, and perfectly illustrates how he has built such a loyal fan base.
8. Unzipped (1995)
A true time capsule of the ’90s New York fashion scene, Unzipped basically invented the fashion designer documentary format, following Isaac Mizrahi as he prepares his Fall 1994 collection. It’s a must for all the supermodel cameos alone.
9. Inside Dior (2017)
Obviously this is not the first documentary on Dior, but it is the only one that tracks the French house’s first female creative director in its 70 year history, offering a glimpse at how a woman see’s fashion’s most feminine couture label.
10. The Director: An evolution in three acts (2013)
Frida Giannini joined Gucci as a designer director for handbags under Tom Ford in 2002, worked her way up to the head of women’s accessories, and eventually became creative director of the Italian house in 2006. The film reflects on her time with the brand, including a little help from James Franco.