November: Fall Fashions
For this month's list, I wanted to explore the world of movies with and about extraordinary clothes. And besides, it's wonderful to feast your eyes on marvelous fashions while we start to curl up in big sweaters this fall. For documentary filmmakers take note: many of these fashion docs have access to huge people and the most expensive clothes but are actually made on a reasonable budget. It's worth comparing the different styles, as I've included several options.
1. The September Issue (2009)
While you may have seen glimpses of what goes on at Vogue in The Devil Wears Prada, going behind the scenes of the making of the largest issue of the magazine each year gives a delicious context for the chaos. We get to know the history behind those who run the magazine and their inner workings/history while staying in a strong narrative of the building of the magazine. We get to see the beautiful, thousands of dollars worth of photoshoots get thrown away by Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington's dismay and creative genius. The camera man even makes it into a spread!
2. Mahogany (1975)
Do you want to see Diana Ross go from rags to riches as a fashion designer? Always! Tracy (Diana Ross) lives in the south side of Chicago, has a boyfriend, and takes classes to help realize her dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Someone stops her in the street and wants to make her a model in Rome, with the stage name Mahogany. There are some really interesting discussions that are raised in the film about colorism as Tracy faces unseen obstacles when she tries to realize her designer dream with her new platform.
3. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)
Seeing this in the theater, this film was a revelation to me. Diana Vreeland has had such an effect on the world of fashion - from revolutionizing the way fashion magazines were presented to starting the Met Gala. She was someone who lived a huge colorful life, brought artists from all around the world together, and emphasized the need to explore and have fun as she sat at the helm of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. You'll want to live her life after watching.
4. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
I've included this smash hit on the list because not only is it a delightful movie, but the clothes are so exquisite. While the series is fictional, fashion has certainly blossomed in Eastern Asia and is becoming the new place to watch out for a new style movement. Rachel (Constance Wu) is an American professor dropped into the elite world of her boyfriend Nick's (Henry Golding) family in Singapore. Rachel's makeover montage isn't to win over a man and change herself, for once, and some dresses so divine I almost squealed in the theater.
5. Dior and I (2014)
This is a movie that's easy on the eyes. This documentary goes into the history of Christian Dior and the new creative eye at the helm of the label - Raf Simons. We get to watch him work on a collection and have the context to discern the tightrope he walks in representing the brand, the history, and his own aesthetic. By the time you see the models walk amongst tall flower walls, there's an intense sense of awe at the beauty created. It's a wonderful way to experience and understand the art of clothing design, and you'll want to look into what Raf Simons does next in his career. Beauty follows him wherever he goes.
Enjoy your binge! Until next time, Pilar <3
ABOUT WHAT SHE’S WATCHING
Hi y'all, my name is Pilar and I am a filmmaker & lover who has gotten overwhelmed by suggestions at film school parties and didn't know where to start. I'm hoping this column will give you some hors d'oeuvres to chew on and help you discover other great movies to inspire your own filmmaking. This is a safe space no judgement if you haven't seen it, in fact, I'm very jealous of you right now for getting to experience some of this for the first time.