With an increase in demand of all things “reality” and “behind the scenes” over the past decade, fashion documentaries are being produced at a record rate and have conveniently made their way to your Netflix account. These intelligent, provocative and engaging films are the next best thing to front row seats to a designer runway show. Read below for a run-through of the current fashion flicks available on Netflix now.
Why You Should Watch: “You must learn in this world to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative,” beams Lynn Dell, one of the astoundingly stylish women aged 62 to 95 profiled in this fun, lighthearted documentary. Are we talking fashion or are we receiving life advice? It’s hard to tell with all the pearls of wisdom unleashed at us from this cast of glamorous older women. But who cares? This isn’t the dreary unsolicited counsel grandma shoves down your throat during trips to the retirement home. Instead, be prepared to be uplifted and inspired to live life to its fullest with the best saved for last. Aging shouldn’t be a dreadful process, according to these unconventional women who have lived out their fashion dreams. Their spirits are vital and they have never been more confident or felt more liberated. Watch them walk the streets of New York in their avant-garde ensembles that could give Lady Gaga a run for her money.
Memorable Moment: Get some eccentric DIY inspiration from the ladies as they share just how resourceful fashion can be, including fake eyelashes made from your own hair and accessories made from paper towel and toilet paper rolls.
Dior and I
Why You Should Watch: In the ultimate look behind the scenes, join Raf Simons on the journey of a lifetime as he creates his first couture collection for Christian Dior. Observe Simons from the moment he is introduced to the seamstresses and tailors of the legendary French atelier to the moment his collection debuts during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week in a hyper-condensed time frame of eight weeks (typically creative directors are given six to eight months to put together a haute couture collection). Emotions run high throughout and you will find yourself in awe of Simons’ deeply thoughtful creative process and his absolute determination to live up to the iconic image of the design house. Director Frédéric Tcheng, who also directed the fashion documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel and produced Valentino: The Last Emperor, does not disappoint in this sentimental and memorable glimpse at the tenacious talent behind haute couture.
Memorable Moment: The triumphant unveiling of the collection during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week at a private house on the Avenue d’Iéna. Transformed in a day by 150 workers, the five rooms of the house were each lined floor-to-ceiling with a variety of blooms. Watch Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Wintour gaze at the Dior-donning models as they walk through the rooms accentuated by a marvelous flower backdrop.
Why You Should Watch: Iris Apfel is the über eccentric, gargantuan accessorized girl about town in this documentary. Born in Queens in 1921, she may be a newcomer to the street style scene, but she has been rocking the streets of New York for decades in her out-there frocks and she has a mind of her own. Preferring to be called a “geriatric starlet,” Apfel is a grounded woman who does not appear to be phased by her fanfare and recent celebrity. In an ironically modern-day tale of female empowerment, she shares with us the fascinating and adventurous story of her life. When Apfel was a young woman starting out in fashion, Frieda Loehmann took her aside and said, “You’re not pretty and you’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter. You have something much better. You have style.” And with that Apfel set forth building her self-worth on her accomplishments and unique character. She married her husband Carl Apfel, who she adoringly takes care of in their old age, ran an extremely successful textile company and traveled the world, forgoing children. Pretty girls everywhere take a seat.
Memorable Moment: Watch her haggle with a shop owner at an African clothing store for some bangles. “You ruin their day if you pay what they initially ask. They think they should have asked more.” If you ever hoped for a selfless reason to barter, now you have it.
The True Cost
Why You Should Watch: This chilling documentary about fast fashion will change the way you look at clothes forever. It tells the story behind the clothing we put on our bodies and spend our days in. Learn how the garment industry has rapidly transformed in the past few decades, from having 95 percent of our clothing made in America in the mid-60s to only 3 percent made here today. While the price of clothing has been decreasing, the cost to the environment and vulnerable populations abroad has been increasing in horrific ways. In the interest of big company profits, a ruthless shift has taken place, unbeknownst to consumers who unwittingly flock to retailers for factory-made, mass-produced garments. If you’re prepared to find out the true cost of the fashion you covet, then this documentary is a must-see.
Memorable Moment: Recalling the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, when the eight-story commercial building succumbed to a structural failure that resulted in killing 1,130 people and injuring 2,500. Considered the deadliest garment-factory accident in history, the building’s owners could have easily avoided the tragedy if they had heeded warnings and not ordered garment workers to return to work.
Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer
Why You Should Watch: Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream and so did Jeremy Scott. He was a “boy from a small farm with a big dream” who wasn’t going to let any amount of discouragement get in his way and there was plenty. From being bullied in high school to being denied acceptance to FIT upon graduation, Scott’s beginnings were not the most hopeful. After finally graduating from the Pratt Institute, Scott moved to Paris where he hoped to secure a job at a fashion house and finally pursue his dreams. Instead, he ended up homeless for short periods of time, searching for fabric scraps in the trash. In the end, he prevailed and went from rags to riches in this inspiring tale of a small-town fashion outsider who penetrated the fashion industry and created a brand with a cult following. Misfits and outcasts rejoice.
Memorable Moment: Enjoy a wide array of celebrity appearances made by Scott’s pals, including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora, A$AP Rocky, Jared Leto, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Devon Aoki plus Paris and Nicky Hilton. #squadgoals
Why You Should Watch: Once again, like Dior and I, we are engaged in the ingenious process of a creative director behind a historic brand. This time it is Frida Giannini for Gucci and instead of filming over eight weeks, it is a leisurely 18 months, although not too leisurely. Let’s not forget that this international brand brings in over $4 billion worth of sales annually. During these 18 months of filming, we are shown the nitty–gritty details and nuances behind Giannini’s work at the design house and follow her through three different seasons. From model castings to fittings to peeks at the Gucci archive, you get a little bit of everything in this documentary. Christina Voros, who directed the film, hopes we will all take away with us “the infinite complexity of a process that most of us take for granted when we pick a dress up off of a rack or ogle a luxury bag in a window on 5th Avenue. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into that bag sitting in that window to be ogled!”
Memorable Moment: In one scene, Giannini rejects almost an entire table of handbag samples, commenting, “I think they’re all sad.” “An immense sadness,” agrees the young man displaying them, in a moment only those well-versed in the bizarre world of fashion would understand.