By: Nilam Mukherjee, Shreya Chari By: Nilam Mukherjee, Shreya Chari | March 15, 2023 | Style & Beauty culture
Rihanna at the Met Gala as seen in the film "First Monday in May"
What separates a fashion designer from a fashion icon? Is it work ethic, vision, legacy? Maybe it's character or dedication. Whatever it is, we can't get enough.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of the world's most famed fashion houses, take a look at this list of must-see fashion documentaries. See how these famous figures went from aspirations to domination, from taking a chance with fashion to becoming the face of fashion itself.
See also: 10 Fantastic Fashion Podcasts to Binge
Dior, Valentino, Westwood, McQueen and more have all opened their doors to documentary cameras. Watch and learn how these fashion leaders have adapted and evolved over the years, because if you're going to binge-watch anything, binge-watch genius.
A classic rags-to-riches story, Very Ralph spotlights the life and success of designer Ralph Lauren. Director Susan Lacy shows how Lauren was a trailblazer for many different fashion movements towards inclusivity—for example, using an African American model to be the face of his suit line. The documentary features long conversations with Lauren about his personal and professional life. Entertaining and informative!
Ever wanted a more in-depth look at the world of magazine editors? Give In Vogue: The Editors Eye a watch. This documentary follows the leadership of eight of Vogue’s most iconic editors and the impact of their reigns. It also features photography and model work from well-known creatives, and analyzes the impact Vogue has had on pop culture today.
Explore the life of the one and only, rebelliously-iconic Vivienne Westwood. The figure that ignited the punk revolution in her time continues to create spunky and distinguished looks that keep the world on its toes. Follow Westwood's journey as she created a new wave of fashion and cultural importance. She continues to thrive and expand her legacy with the same flair and enthusiasm that she rocked the fashion industry with when she first began her career.
Released eight years after the legendary designer passed away, archival footage and interviews with Alexander McQueen’s friends and family give insight into his life as a powerful, boundary-breaking fashion figure. Experience the life of a man that changed the fashion world through his risky, seductive and limitless designs. His name and designs live on as the Alexander McQueen fashion house continues to carry out his visions.
Take an exclusive look into the high-end annual event that gathers some of the most influential figures in the fashion, art, music and film industries. This picture takes you behind the scenes of the 2015 Met Gala, showcasing an exhibition of Chinese-inspired western pieces of fashion, named "Through the Looking Glass." Featuring iconic looks from Rihanna to the co-chair herself, Anna Wintour, this film is the next best thing to an invite.
See through the eyes of celebrated designer Valentino Garavani and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti as they prepare for the 2006 Spring/Summer collection in Paris. Chronicling years of Valentino’s works, sketches, business decisions and changes, the film journeys from fashion capital to capital as the Valentino name rises to fame. Even though the prodigy has retired, the fashion industry is still under his reign.
See also: See Louis Vuitton's Fall/Winter 2021 Collection
Diana Vreeland was one of the most influential fashion editors. Follow her inspiring story from youth to her eventual emergence as the editor of Harper's Bazaar, and editor-in-chief of Vogue. The documentary takes you through her life's journey, highlighting the path she took to becoming a legendary columnist in the fashion industry.
Born in Algeria, Yves Saint Laurent moved to Paris to pursue his career in fashion. In the end, he built one of the most recognizable brands in the world. This film explores the designer at the height of his career and depicts his difficult personal journey toward becoming an icon in the fashion industry.
Unfold the mystery of the woman behind the sunglasses. R. J. Cutler follows Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, one of the most powerful, polarizing and inspiring figures of fashion today. Look behind the scenes as Wintour prepares for the release of American Vogue’s 2007 September Issue, an annual edition which marks the start of the new year in the fashion industry and therefor sets the trends for months to come.
Raf Simmons was appointed creative director of Dior in 2012, and this documentary was filmed right by his side, following Simmons in the creation of his first haute couture collection. Take an exclusive look at the colorful, luxurious and sometimes stressful environment that takes place inside The House of Dior.
One of the most iconic figures of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld made waves throughout the industry. Unlike his famed designs, which were publicly displayed runway after runway, Lagerfeld led a very private life. Recounting his upbringing in Germany, this documentary follows a personal journey as he moved to Paris to begin his career in fashion, as well as exploring how he ultimately became a highly-respected designer around the globe.
Looking for even more on-screen fashion inspiration? Check out our interview with Denise Wingate, the costume designer for Amazon's hit Daisy Jones & The Six.
Photography by: YouTube video