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Movie Pick: Three Tried & Tested Fashion Documentaries



With autumn always comes more time indoors curling up in cozy corners and engaging in more indoor activities. I find myself watching a lot more films in the fall and since the success of "The September Issue" in 2009 a plethora of fashion documentaries seem to have cropped up to keep me entertained. I've often said I feel like fashion is my main hobby, so I like learning more about it whenever I can--whether it's a past editor, a current photographer or muse or designer; they all fascinate me. What I'm realizing more and more about the documentaries that inspire me the most it isn't the person's career or style or talent but rather their passion that appeals. People who are just wholly themselves really inspire you to become your truest self. So here are a few documentaries about people who do just that.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel; a documentary about the stylish and legendary Diana Vreeland who was an editor for Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. She was bold, she was completely self-taught and she took fashion beyond the surface to something much deeper. Many will recall her legendary "why don't you" column, but there's so much more to her story and her impact on the industry. One of my favorite fashion documentaries that showcases some of the history of the fashion industry and those who influenced (make a film about Edith Head please!) past styles and icons. She *discovered* Lauren Bacall and launched the career of many models, actresses, and designers. Her influence is still being felt in the fashion world today and she's so inspiring because she was always wholly herself and really fought for a unique, strong, fun approach to fashion. There's so many ways to see fashion and today we tend to be more minimalist in style driven by a desire to look classic and celebrity inspired in our magazines, but this documentary is a reminder that, that is only one perspective and there are many other approaches and ways to see and interact with fashion.
Bill Cunningham New York; a documentary following the prolific photographer Bill Cunningham--one of the first street fashion photographers and regular contributor to the New York Times. We often think of strong personalities as loud ones, but I think Bill Cunningham is a perfect example of a strong, but quiet personality. From the very beginning of his career he went his own way with quiet determination; refusing paychecks that he felt would compromise his work and leaving magazines that abused his contributions. He comes across as sweet and gentle, but his focus and drive that kept him on his bicycle shooting pictures all day long was uncompromising. His career and work is prolific and he's still hard at it!
IRIS; a film that follows Iris Apfel, a 93 year old fashion icon and flamboyant dresser with an epic wardrobe and inspiring passion for personal style. When Iris was just starting out she was told, "you're not pretty and you'll never be pretty, but it doesn't matter. You have something much better. You have style." She took the message to heart and still believes that "pretty" doesn't matter--instead she focused on developing her eye which led to a unique career that continues to evolve. Watch it and be inspired to stand out from the crowd.