Top 6 Fashion Documentaries and Shows to Watch

Iconic haute couture luxury designers’ biopics and documentaries to watch

Fashion and films are notoriously whimsical pairing. Films offer fashion a platform to narrate the flamboyant tales of the irresistible world of luxury fashion. One that is aspirational to the audience and brings them closer to the visual appeal of luxury fashion storytelling. Proven crucial to the success of many films, fashion tales are about costumes, characters, and high-end production value. From the refined art sets to the celebrities bejewelled in glittering diamonds, fashion movies always leave us intrigued.

In the case of luxury brand biopics, these are stylized and thoughtful movies that bring out the drama, romance, and glamour of iconic fashion designers. These biopics are well-celebrated and truly inspirational stories. Offering us an insider view of the fashion designers, luxury ateliers, models, fashion personalities, and more. With costume as the prime focus of these biopics and documentaries, these films are worth the hype.

They showcase the designer’s process, their inspiration, garment construction, models and makeup session, the curious behind-the-scenes, and madness before the launch. Everything that makes the luxury fashion sector, the mystery, the appeal, and the allure is captured carefully in the following movies.

1. Coco before Chanel

Launched in 2009, Coco before Chanel is based on the life of Coco Chanel. Arguably one of the most powerful and recognizable names in the luxury fashion world.

In the 2009 biopic by Anne Fontaine, Coco before Chanel narrates the life story of Coco Chanel and her steady rise to power, fame, and celebrity status. Played by Audrey Tautou, the film revolves around Coco’s early events that led her toward the brand Chanel.

The movie reflects her time in a French orphanage, working as a seamstress by day and cabaret singer by night, and her curious relationship with Barson Balsan and businessman Arthur Capel. This historical drama is about the ambition and talent of a young lady to become the most famous haute couture atelier in the world. The movie showcases how she always adorned her unique sense of style and had a strong talent for design and sewing.

The biopic was selected for a series of awards for Best Costume Design including three European Film Awards, six Cesar Awards, Academy Awards, and BAFTA Awards.

2. Saint Laurent

In this 2014 narration of the life of Saint Laurent, the director Bertrand Bonello shares the story of Yves Saint Laurent. Known as the unofficial biopic of the infamous French designer, Saint Laurent is critically coined as a juicer version of the designer’s life story. Yves Saint Laurent is known to have lived an interesting life as a highly talented creative, juggling two separate lives.

1 – His daily work life where he was known as a relentless perfectionist, and

2 – His hedonistic indulgence in Parisian nightlife.

This movie offers a visual narrative of how the designer utilized a vast reserve of creativity to etch an identity for himself as a leading luxury fashion icon. It also showcases his ability to use power over others to deflect away from any criticism towards his choice of lifestyle. The movie shows Saint Laurent in his opulent Paris apartment in old age, having become one of the most accomplished fashion designers.

3. Yves Saint Laurent

Also launched in 2014, often confused with Saint Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent is the official biopic by Jalil Lespert. It’s a highly acclaimed biopic that showcases the highly acclaimed career of the luxury fashion prodigy, Yves Saint Laurent. Sharing details of his tumultuous personal life.

Played by actor Pierry Niney, Yves Saint Laurent’s movie team has access to the designer’s extensive archives for the movie. Access to this was granted to the movie team by Saint Laurent’s lifelong lover and business partner Pierre Berge. The movie is a sure-shot head-turner with its unforgettable costume recreations.

The actor Pierry Niney won the Cesar and Globe de Cristal Awards for Best Actor for his performance as the emerging to the established French designer. The movie carefully captures the shy and passionate designer’s story from his humble beginnings to his dismissal as creative director at Christian Dior. Encapsulating the frail personality and his rise spanning across decades in the Paris high-drama fashion world.

4. Lagerfeld confidential

An up-close-and-personal portrait of the fashion icon, Karl Lagerfeld.

Launched in 2007, Lagerfeld Confidential is a personal documentary that follows the iconic designer, Karl Lagerfeld. Known to rule the House of Chanel as the creative director for over two decades. The documentary showcases his travels, his studio space, a backstage fashion show, and a glimpse into his Parisian apartment.

Directed by French director Rodolphe Marconi, the documentary is a behind-the-scenes get to the know the real man. The man behind the large sunglasses, unmissable ponytail, his high Edwardian collars, and impeccable black suits. Critics of the documentary claim the movie gives you access to Karl’s life like a fly on the wall. Offering snippets where the designer reveals his upbringing in Northern Germany and how he was a spoiled child. The documentary is a glimpse into his life, his friendships, and his philosophies.

5. Valentino: The last emperor

Released in 2009, this is a documentary that captures the last two years of designer Valentino’s final show preps. Valentino Garavani launched his first fashion house in 1959 and announced his retirement plans in 2007, beginning the preps for his final fashion show. The documentary is captured over a period of two years where Valentino is accompanied by his life and business partner Giancarlo Giammetti.

The documentary features the opulent lifestyle of the couturier Valentino. With a poignant view of the founder’s 45-year career in haute couture and his endless pursuit of beauty. Directed by Matt Tyrnauer, a Vanity Fair special correspondent, this documentary showcases Valentino’s creative process, business decision, sought-after glamourous celebrations, and his long-term relationship with Giancarlo.

6. McQueen

Directed by Ian Bonhote and co-directed by Peter Ettedgui, this is a biographical docu-series of the extraordinary life of iconic fashion designer Alexander McQueen. The movie follows his life, career, and artistry via exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family. Recovered archives, superlative music, and sharp visuals truly enchant a viewer. In this rags-to-riches story, directors quote: ‘McQueen is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary’.

McQueen was nominated under various categories globally and is critically acclaimed to celebrate the British designer’s life and tragic end. In a sensual, beautiful, and somber manner, the movie offers a never-before-seen mesmerizing storyline.

These movies are immersive experiences, captivating the audience with their detailed stories. Offering an insider’s viewpoint on the lives of the most celebrated designers behind iconic couture houses.
Revealing their personal lives, work pressure, fashion show process, turmoil, and career highs. They are dramatic tales of designers who have changed the course of fashion more than once with their visionary designs and philosophies.

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Author: Mankiran