Stay Fashion Forward in Film

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In the last month, New York City has experienced record-breaking cold temperatures that almost force its residents to stay indoors. Studying and sleeping can feel like a jail sentence as photos, interviews, and videos from Fashion Week dominate the Internet. Luckily, there is a beautiful middle ground: you can stay warm and feel connected to the fashion world with the diverse range of films and documentaries about the mesmerizing industry.

Devil Wears Prada (2006)

What kind of fashion-in-film list wouldn’t include this classic drama starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep? The story opens with Andy Sachs, a recent graduate who wants to make a name for herself in the journalism world. In pursuit of her dream, she takes the demanding job of being an assistant to Miranda Priestly – the famously talented and detailed yet also vicious editor-in-chief of Runway magazine. Andy learns all about the cutthroat and bold world of fashion in her more than full-time position, but does she lose sight of what and whom she cherishes most in the process?

Sex and the City (2008)

This movie is still a must see regardless of the fact that  this movie is not based on or solely about fashion. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw is an acclaimed columnist in New York City and along with her three best friends; she enjoys the excitement of marriage but also endures its struggles. Nevertheless, throughout the dramatic comedy, the four socialites look flawless in every outfit. From the fashion show Carrie puts on as she minimizes the size of her wardrobe, to her wedding dress photo-shoot for Vogue magazine, and to the final scene as the four strut through the big city, each ensemble is picture-perfect.

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)

In this romantic comedy, Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is hopelessly addicted to shopping and dreams of working at Alette magazine – a renowned fashion publication. In the process, due to complications, she gets a job as a columnist at a financial magazine under the same company as Alette. As she drowns in her own debt and struggles with her addiction, she inspires and interests readers with columns about managing money. Everything seems to fall into place with her adoring audience but as she continues to buy beautiful, high-end, designer items, her love life and friendships are put on the line.

Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008)

In this internationally acclaimed documentary, director Matt Tyrnauer gives us entry into the world of Valentino. We follow the legendary fashion designer and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti through the creation, production, and execution of the 2006 Paris Spring/ Summer Collection runway show. Besides accompanying the fashion legend to shows, award ceremonies, business meetings, and everything in between, the film also looks back on Valentino’s career. Including all of his celebrity clients, fashion failures and successes throughout his 45 year career. The viewers also get an inside look about the future of Valentine. When asked about his retirement and how it will affect the industry, he smiles and says: “After me, the flood.”

Coco Before Chanel (2009)

We know Coco Chanel as the innovative, groundbreaking female icon that changed the entire fashion industry, but what do we know about her life leading up to her achievements? This documentary starring Audrey Tautou depicts Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel’s journey from leaving the orphanage, to being a seamstress and singer, to her romantic encounters, and finally to her becoming the one and only, ingenious icon of fashion, Coco Chanel.

The September Issue (2009)

Each page of Vogue attracts, captivates, and inspires its readers on a regular basis. Still, most will never know or understand all of the hard work that actually goes into the process of creating the world-renowned magazine. Luckily, this R.J. Cutler documentary showcases the methods and practices behind the world-renowned fashion manual.  The film looks behind the scenes of the creation of the September 2007 issue of Vogue, the largest issue of a magazine ever published. Enjoy the experience of following Anna Wintour (Vogue’s iconic editor-in-chief), model turned creative director Grace Coddington, and other fashion figures as they produce 840 pages of pure gold.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s (2013)

There is a classic New Yorker cartoon by Victoria Roberts that shows two women talking over drinks and one says, “I want my ashes scattered over Bergdorf’s.” As wild as this statement sounds, throughout this documentary, this sentiment rang true. Designers and celebrities gave reasons and anecdotes regarding the esteemed luxury goods Manhattan department store and incites as to why this dream seems valid. Famous designers like Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Karl Lagerfeld, Vera Wang, and Tom Ford explain how going into the store alone is an honor, but displaying your clothes there is every designer’s dream. Celebrities like Joan Rivers and Nicole Richie agree and enhance this sentiment by saying that if you can even manage to get past their awe-inspiring windows, you’ll find that Bergdorf Goodman’s is truly the “palace on Fifth Avenue.” Even if you don’t have the monetary ability to purchase items from the store, through this film, one can gain access, learn, and fantasize about the inner workings and stories of one of the fashion world’s most glorified establishments.

Besides the myriad of films that tell stories surrounding or including fashion, there are hundreds that introduced style staples that have extended into today’s magazines and closets. Old movies like “Funny Face”, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “Annie Hall”, and “The Seven Year Itch” include major style game-changers modeled by the likes of  Audrey Hepburn and Diane Keaton. This arctic weather definitely will make you want to stay in your sweatpants, but don’t let it keep you out of your fashion-obsessed mindset.

Avia Hawkins is a contributing writer. Email her at bstyle@nyunews.com

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