10 Must Watch Fashion Documentaries

I always stress to every young, emerging fashion photographer how important it is to educate themselves on all aspects of our industry. Educating yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself! Documentaries help to educate you! They provide a number of things: they give you a historical perspective on the subject so you can understand the long and oft times difficult road we ALL have had to take to get to where we want to go. They give you knowledge in an area that maybe you didn’t have too much interest in before, like makeup or hair styling. Yet, how important are those two things to a fashion shoot? You NEED to have knowledge in ALL aspects of our industry, believe me. And while I think that reading a book or a magazine article is definitely a great idea, watching a documentary is more fun! So I have compiled a list of 10 really interesting documentaries that you should watch! Leave your suggestions for other documentaries below. I’d love to hear what YOU’VE seen so I can go watch them!

  • The Eye Has To Travel

“Style is everything…style is a way of life. Without it, you’re nothing” – Diana Vreeland

“The Eye Has To Travel” is an in-depth portrait of one of the most influential women in the fashion industry of the 20th century.  Anyone intending to pursue a career in the fashion industry needs to know who this woman is.

Check out the DVD on Amazon.

  • Catwalk

Follow Christy Turlington as she allows you coveted entry behind the scenes during the fashion weeks in Milan, Paris and New York. Beautifully shot with a great soundtrack by Malcom McLaran and all the supermodels you could hope for in one video. A definite Must for all emerging fashion photographers.

Check out this collectors item on Amazon.

  • The Secret World of Haute Couture

Want to understand exactly why haute couture is considered an art form?

In The Secret World of Haute Couture, you will understand why. There are unwritten rules, which one must abide by. Margy Kenmouth takes us with her on a journey from Paris to New York to meet some of the world’s most acclaimed designers and the women with deep pockets who can afford to buy their clothes.

  • The Tents

When a chunk of a roof fell on fashion journalist Suzy Menkes’ head, the tents were constructed for New York fashion week. Watch eighteen years of New York Fashion Week history. See the great backstage moments and New York’s most famous designers.

Watch as Instant Video on Amazon.

  • The Queen and I

Acclaimed documentary about Alexander McQueen and his incredible rise to stardom, his relationship with patron muse Isabella Blow, and his subsequent tragic suicide. Everyone needs to know about McQueen. I mean, EVERYONE.

  • Vidal Sassoon: The Movie

Vidal Sassoon was the rockstar of hairdressers.  He revolutionized the art of hairstyling and was responsible for how people perceived beauty in popular culture. Understanding all aspects of our industry is paramount to you being a successful fashion photographer. Understanding the artists that helped shape what our industry is about today is really important.

Watch as Instant Video on Amazon.

  • Girl Model

Watch a deeply ambivalent model scout trek through the Siberian countryside looking for the next fresh face. Girl Model is a dark story, albeit a realistic one, about our industry. Although we may not like this aspect of the business, it none the less needs to be understood.

Get the DVD on Amazon.

  • Bill Cunningham New York

Everyone loves Bill Cunningham! This 2010 documentary film follows Bill around on his bicycle through New York as he chronicles fashion trends. As Anna Wintour has said, “We all get dressed for Bill”.

Watch as Instant Video on Amazon.

  • Valentino: The Last Emperor

Follows the life and times of Valentino Garavani in his personal and professional life. Watch how Valentino survived 5 decades of the changing face of fashion and how he remained in control of his designs until his retirement at the age of 75.

Check it out on Amazon.

  • In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye

This documentary takes a look at some of the world’s most iconic fashion images. After all, as Anna Wintour says, “The people who are responsible for the fashion images are the fashion editors.” Learn how they see and how that translates into the editorials that we admire.

Watch the Instant Video on Amazon.

Melissa Rodwellstyle, styling