Fashion Documentaries to Binge on Netflix

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Fashion Documentaries to Binge on Netflix

I know nothing about fashion. My mind, however, is a weird place that goes down rabbit warren highways, searching for information I will never use. That is how I started binging fashion documentaries on Netflix, and that is why I now have opinions on them. If you, too, would like be judgmental with me, read on.

Here’s my list of best to worst fashion documentaries on Netflix (that I’ve seen so far) and why I love/hate them.


LEAST FAVORITE:

Inside British Vogue – Directed by Richard Macer

This is the sort of thing you watch and understand that the wrong person is telling the story. I don’t have to know who Alexandra Shulman is – and I really didn’t before watching this – to know this documentary approached everything the wrong way. And, honestly? It felt like a director who wanted to be a host, who didn’t want to make a documentary, but rather have everyone feel for him and his woes of making things. He tried to engineer a fake rivalry between two women, maybe because he realized what he was producing was dull, and then asked a girl about her father’s sexual relationship with someone. (Yikes, my dude). He spent more time talking about himself than he did the editor of British Vogue, got mad that she kept secrets about big, money-making reveals from him, a nobody in the fashion world, and lamented the fact that he wasn’t a woman so that he could be trusted. (Women’s instincts know when someone can’t be trusted. They know). He talked to few of the people working in the office, made a point to mention how they asked him to be known for talking about more than blushes, as he films them trying to understand a brand of makeup – which is their literal business mind you – as a sort of attempt at irony but only inevitably plays as misogyny. Aside from his whining, the thing felt disjointed and only good in places because the people were able to carry him well tact and interesting pieces of history. The people he was exploring seemed really fascinating. He lacked the ability to tell a narrative that highlighted that well. Simply put, this is not a well-done documentary. It’s empty, the questions the director asks are asinine, and an entry-level film student would have done a better job at composing a look at how the magazine operates. I wished for more, because I’m interested, but this simply didn’t do it, which is a pity, as I would have loved to know more about the women who kept British Vogue selling for so long.

Available on Netflix HERE.


MIDDLE FAVORITE:

In Louboutin’s Shoes – Directed by Michael Waldman

This allowed Louboutin to speak through his own perspective, which was nice, but it also felt a little too much of Louboutin speaking through his own perspective. That may sound like an oxymoron, but not having really met the guy, or knowing about him, or ever being able to afford his shoes, I have to say that he seems a bit sexist and a little unlikeable. His shoes may be desirable, but I didn’t like the way he framed women wanting them or women’s bodies in general. There was plenty packed within the documentary to understand the process, however, and it was interesting seeing him talk about how he got where he was and the way he created new shoes. There was enough backstory to be cool, just not enough to make me feel like I really connected to the story. The most interesting part was perhaps seeing how the shoes got made in the factories, and how the design became a shoe. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t anything extraordinary either.

Available on Netflix HERE.

Dries – Directed by Sandy Chronopoulos

The thing about this one, I feel, is that the filmmaker did a really good job of letting us see the actual person behind the brand. There was a certain sense of personality that wasn’t engineered for the cameras – a quiet stillness and sweetness. It helped to humanize Dries in a way his fashion doesn’t. We also got to see the process behind the runway, how things are shaped and transformed, and I found his way of connecting the dots between inception and the runway fascinating. The downside to this film, however, was that it was a bit boring. It plodded in parts, and there was too much a fascination with “artistic” shots that just dragged out the scenes rather than added to them. I don’t need to see Dries walk away from the camera 26 times. I get it. He walks places. Fine. Perhaps what this film truly lacked was a ruthless editor not afraid to cut it down to the bare essentials of what made Dries tick. The lowkey sense of the man was truly cool, though, and I recommend it even with the flair for the plodding.

Available on Netflix HERE.


FAVORITE FAVORITE:

House of Z – Directed by Sandy Chronopoulos

The thing about this documentary is that it didn’t pull any punches. I really liked that. It gave a feel for the triumphs, but also the mistakes, and took something that is very different from the average person’s experience of success in business and put it in terms of family and second chances. It was a very clever way of exploring someone who, apparently, has a bit of a reputation for arrogance. It showed growth and personality in a way that some of the other documentaries failed to do, in that it was blunt, honest, and exploratory. Zac Posen didn’t feel overly larger than life. He felt human, a culmination of his mistakes and lessons learned, something I think the Dries documentary was trying to do. This one succeeded without all the artistic shots of people walking away (maybe it was the editor or the director having a solid vision of what they wanted). The interviews weren’t wasted, the history was just the sort you’d expect from such a glamorous type of thing, and the exuberance of creation and the emotion of almost losing it all was etched into the lines in between what they were actually saying.

Also, I really connected to the clothes and thought they were the prettiest. I’m a fickle creature. Shut up.

Now, someone buy me a Zac Posen dress. Please and thank you.

Available on Netflix HERE.

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards – Directed by Michael Roberts

This documentary was everything the Louboutin one wasn’t. I adored Manolo, his weirdness, and his way of exploring the world around him through his art. The stories he shared were personal and fun and held fashion history that was really fun to experience, even for someone who didn’t understand who people were most of the time. Sometimes the enjoyment of documentaries like these isn’t necessarily the personality, though his was one I really liked, but in figuring out how the artists get to their art. I think this documentary really respected the process, as well as the glamour and history, which made it easy to watch as well as interesting, with framing that didn’t feel wasted on irrelevant drama or details. It was the one that I really felt focused where it needed to focus as far as exploring the creator behind the shoes without making it seem like an ego stroke. It was personable and joyful, and I really, really would also like a pair of Manolos to go with my Zac Posen dress. Thanks.

Available on Netflix HERE.

Dior and I – Directed by Frederic Tcheng

This one gets top doc on the Lynnie scale of rating things seriously because of the Ateliers and people behind the scenes of Dior. The documentary is ostensibly about Raf Simmons’ work in Haute Couture for Dior, but it’s the people who make the dresses that earns this documentary first place. I was fascinated. They were taking square pieces of fabric and turning them into works of art, all while being completely adorable and personable. They felt like family. Highly-skilled family who maybe didn’t always get the other person, but tried their best. I would watch a series about these women forever. The high-stakes nature of the rush to finish the dresses, the last minute changes, the friction between personalities, and even the language barriers were all good, natural drama. It didn’t have to be manufactured to sell some idea of what fashion was meant to be. It was just there, in the work, in the art. It was part of the story, not the whole story. It was cool to see the behind the scenes of all that glamour and careful crafting. The added history of Christian Dior’s words was interesting without being overwhelming, and the end showcase with all the flowers and the dresses was truly beautiful – art in the business of dresses having fully bloomed into something spectacular.  Watch this one first, and then judge all the rest appropriately.

Available on Netflix HERE.


Have you watched any of these? Are there any we’ve missed that you think should have made the list? Share with us in the comments below!

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