To some, the fashion industry might seem like a daunting empire of self-obsessed fashionistas who glitz around wearing Louboutins, talking only about their favorite brand-named eyelash curler. Needless to say it’s not quite like that. Thanks to some recent (and not-so-recent) silver screen attention, the fashion community has taken to the cinemas to give in-depth looks into the lives behind the lux of the world of fashion.
From documentaries to films inspired by real life, here are 15 extraordinary examples of what happens behind the runway—as well as a few comedic takes that are just too good to leave out. Odds are, if you know fashion, then you’ll know of these fantastic fashion movies.
1. The Devil Wears Prada – Life throws a few not-so-fashionable curveballs at our main protagonist Andrea (Anne Hathaway) who takes an assistant role “a million girls would kill for” with the iconic magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), a role allegedly inspired by Vogue editrix Anna Wintour. Since its debut, The Devil Wears Prada has become the quintessential fashion flick for our generation, and no list of fashion films would be complete without this Meryl Streep beauty.
2. Coco Before Chanel – Coco Chanel is inimitable, but Audrey Tautou stars as a close second to none. This French film depicts the designer’s life before the famous fashion house, where she lived as a poor bar performer and milliner. A classic film for classic Coco—before the pearls, perfume and iconic place in history.
3. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel – From her years at Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue to reinvigorating the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, Diana Vreeland is hands-down one of the last century’s greatest talents. The Eye Has to Travel showcases the life of the extraordinary woman, who through the best eras of the 20th century, discovered the power of fashion as art and revolutionized an industry of boring clothing into a franchise of invigorating fashion spreads and glossy coverage.
4. Funny Face – Speaking of Diana Vreeland, the editor played a large part in the next film on our list of fashion films, Funny Face. Audrey Hepburn’s debut musical performance, this elegant film carries us along as Jo (Hepburn), an intellectual bookkeeper, falls into the modeling biz with a fierce and energetic editor (Kay Thompson, inspired by Vreeland) and a dancing, crooning photographer (Fred Astaire).
5. In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye – Aspiring to be a fashion editor or photographer? Do you wonder what the life of a fashion stylist truly entails? Well, with In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, Vogue —the fashion Bible—describes just that, in a way both creative and insightful. During this HBO film, you’ll discover the men and women, past and present, behind the glossy pages of the iconic and historical magazine.
6. The September Issue – Join the ranks of fashion editors and stylists as they piece together the September issue of the world’s greatest fashion publication, American Vogue. While In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye chronicles the life and works of the people behind the glossy, The September Issue illustrates the luxurious yet intense business required in putting together the largest issue of the year.
7. Sex and the City – If you don’t know that Carrie Bradshaw and fashion go hand in hand, well where have you been?! Shoes, shoes, shoes and more shoes. Oh and did you know this girl would rather read a Vogue magazine than eat dinner? From the TV series Sex and the City, this film continues to be one of the top fashion movies of all time. The most stunning and iconic costume of this film is Carrie’s wedding dress, designed by Vivienne Westwood. It’s so beautiful the film gives it its own scene, just to remind its audience how spectacular it is. With a movie surrounding fashion conscious ladies in New York, this movie is an incredibly trendy must-see.
8. Confessions of a Shopaholic – Revolving around a young fashion writer who simply can’t get enough beautiful clothes (and can’t exactly pay off half of them), Confessions of a Shopaholic is a cute, comedic (and sometimes cringe-worthy) take on life among fabulous clothes for the fictitious Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher). The film follows Bloomwood’s misadventures as she blossoms into “The Girl in the Green Scarf,” a columnist for a financial magazine.
9. Zoolander – Ben Stiller takes on the stereotypical life of the “not-too-bright” male model with this quintessential fashion favorite. Stiller’s Derek Zoolander struggles to triumph over his arch nemesis of male models, Hansel (Owen Wilson), while doing his iconic “Blue Steel” pout and becoming a brainwashed assassin for the eccentric designer Mugatu (Will Ferrell). No list would be complete without it!
10. Dior et Moi (Dior and I) – Chronicling the making of Raf Simons’ premier Haute Couture collection with Dior, Dior et Moi takes an unprecedented look into the famous French fashion house founded by Christian Dior in 1946.
11. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – This movie is the birth of ‘The Little Black Dress’, a staple dress that every woman should have in her closet. Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly is Hepburn’s most iconic performances. Her little black dress with a beaded pearl necklace is timeless, and stays in every fashionista’s heart.
12. Factory Girl – Factory #Girl is a fashion movie despite not being about fashion because of its incredible impact on the fashion industry. This film revolves around the socialite and Warhol Superstar Edie Sedgwick, her #relationship with Andy Warhol and rise to being a fashion model. This movie made a big splash on the fashion scene with inspiration from Warhol’s colorful and iconic artwork.
13. Clueless – A parody on teen lifestyle in a high-school where Cher (alicia Silverstone) plays matchmaker, gives fashion tips to her friends and searches for a boyfriend. As a high-school socialite, Cher is certainly on top of her fashion game and makes a point of wearing the most luxurious and drop-dead-gorgeous clothes to maintain her popular status. A true girly girl film any style-conscious girl needs to see.
14. Valentino: The Last Emperor – An intimate look into one of Italy’s, nay, one of the world’s most famous designers, Valentino: The Last Emperor takes a first-time glimpse into glamorous, luxurious and celebrated life and career of Valentino Garavani.
How many have you seen? Reply in the comments section below!