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Behind The Runway: 5 Fashion Documentaries You Need To See

The best way to brush up on your industry knowledge? Watch the masters at work, says JENNIFER McSHANE. Here’s her pick of documentaries that will reignite your passion for fashion.


MANOLO: THE BOY WHO MADE SHOES FOR LIZARDS (2017)

In what is a unique exploration into the life and work of the man whose name is synonymous with Carrie Bradshaw and her closet essentials, this paints an intimate portrait of legendary designer Manolo Blahnik. The biopic, to premiere on September 15 in the US, features an array of famous faces – including Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell – talking about the designer and what it means to step into the world famous shoes.

CHASING BEAUTY (2013)

This documentary presents a rare glimpse into the darker side of modelling. Chasing Beauty speaks with supermodels, photographers, agents and the like in a quest to answer one of the industry’s most complex questions: What is beauty and is it worth the cost? What goes on behind the glitz and glamour? This no-holds-barred documentary is both insightful and entertaining.

SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORF’S (2013)

In what is essentially a feature-length love letter to the iconic Manhattan department store, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s is a behind-the-scenes glance at the Fifth Avenue institution where every designer longs to sell his wares. Look out for cameos by Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Karl Lagerfeld, Isaac Mizrahi, Jason Wu, Manolo Blahnik, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani, Bobbi Brown, and the Olsen twins.

THE TENTS (2012)

How did New York Fashion Week start? The tents at Bryant Park were home to an established NYFW only after plaster from the ceiling of an old warehouse fell on fashion critic Suzy Menkes. The tents sprung up in response to the call for safer venues and the rest, as you’ll see, was history. The general sentiment was, “We love fashion, but we don’t to die for it.”

DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL (2011)

The late Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue editor was known as the vivacious empress of fashion. She was the original; before trend setters, before Anna Wintour, there was Diana Vreeland. She was the editor who helped bring the industry into the modern age – she published the first photos of the bikini and model Twiggy in the 1960s. This film takes a colourful look at her life and how she became one of the most legendary fashion editors.

THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE (2009)

Possibly the fashion documentary that created a whole genre. Filmmaker RJ Cutlers was given unprecedented access as he chronicled US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and her creative director Grace Coddington’s journey putting together the iconic September issue of the publication. All eyes are on Wintour, but it’s Coddington who steals every scene. Look out for an appearance by now British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, who panics when trying to put a shoot together.

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