Five Fashion Documentaries to Get You In the Mood For Fashion Week

With New York Fashion Week just days away it’s time to get back into work mode. If you need a kick of inspiration to pull you out of your relaxed holiday mood try a fashion documentary. I always put one on if I’m feeling lazy and need to get started on a to-do list. Here are five of my all time favourites. If you haven’t seen them already it’s now your mission in life to watch them all…

Fashion Documentaries

5. Diana Vreeland – The Eye Has To Travel, 2012
This is quite an unusual film. Directed by the wife of Vreeland’s grandson, it’s largely made up of audio tapes recorded by journalist George Plimpton (who worked with Diana Vreeland on her book D.V). You get to hear almost everything from Diana herself, who talks about her work at both Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, as well as her time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. It’s slower-paced and less flashy than the other films on this list, but is completely charming and not to be missed.

4. Ultrasuede – In Search of Halston, 2011
The 1970’s is one of my favourite fashion decades, and this is all because of Halston. This documentary celebrates Halston’s work and also looks at how the designer lost control of his label after signing a series of bad licensing deals. Many of his friends appeal in the film – including Liza Minnelli and Angelica Huston – and the director himself, Whitney Sudler-Smith, is regularly on screen too. In fact, his interview is André Leon Talley is reason enough to watch this – it’s both hilarious and majorly awkward!

3. Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, 2008
I LOVE Marc Jacobs, and this inside look at the creative process before Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2007 collection is really inspiring. It’s impossible not to fall head-over-heels for Marc after watching this – especially as he’s dressed as pigeon in the first scene. The DVD is fairly expensive on Amazon, but it’s usually in stock at the Marc by Marc Jacobs store in London. Plus, it looks like the documentary is available to watch on Netflix in the US.

2. Valentino – the Last Emperor, 2010
Valentino’s relationship with his partner in business and life, Giancarlo Giammetti, steals the show in this film. It’s heart warming stuff, and their tiffs will have you in hysterics (“you look a little bit too tan”). Officially, however, this fabulous documentary celebrates Valentino’s long career in fashion and documents the difficulties he faced trying to stay true to his vision in an industry full of change. It’s a must see!

1. The September Issue, 2009
I will never tire of this film and watch it at least three times a year. There really isn’t enough time to explain why this documentary is so special – and I assume you’ve all seen it anyway, so won’t need convincing. Anna Wintour is a true inspiration, and this inside look at the US Vogue offices always encourages me to work harder and aim higher. If you haven’t already seen The September Issue you are crazy and need to get on it ASAP.

What’s your all time favourite fashion documentary? If you have any suggestions not on my list please let me know…

  • wow, I’ve actually seen none of these. Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton sounds really interesting x

    • cocos_tea_party

      You seriously need to get on it then haha!

  • Laura

    Oh I love a good fashion documentary. The September Issue was really insightful and I may have to watch that again!

    I’ve searched on Love Film for the Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs and Valentino docs and they’re both available! 🙂


    • cocos_tea_party

      Oh fab. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll add that info to the post later if I have time.

  • annie

    Diana Vreeland- The Eye has to Travel is incredible! It was such a great artistic film, I loved it. It shows just how glamorous the fashion industry can be sometimes!

  • I have all of these! I’m really excited for Mademoiselle C though!

  • Amy

    Bill cuningham new york. you must not have seen that as its SOOOO up there on the list of best fashion docos for sure. (Actually for me its up there for any doco type) u must watch it!

    • cocos_tea_party

      I’ve got it on DVD but actually didn’t like it that much. He’s charming, but the film just wasn’t doing it for me. Although maybe I’ll give it another go!