While a subscription to Netflix can often be the most tempting way to procrastinate or lose an entire weekend to a newly-discovered television series, it also has a comprehensive list of documentaries available, many of which feature or relate to the world of fashion. The following documentaries are all available for streaming on the American Netflix website, and many are also available on the UK and Canadian versions of the service – just be sure not to login if you have an essay deadline looming or a mountain of assignments to mark!
1. Bill Cunningham New York (2011)
‘Photographer Bill Cunningham tirelessly records what people are wearing in New York City — both out on the sidewalk and in the salons of the wealthy.’ For decades Bill Cunningham has chronicled the style of the city for the New York Times, and this charming documentary takes the viewer into the photographer’s professional and personal worlds, from the offices of the newspaper to his own apartment in Carnegie Hall. Cunningham’s ascetic lifestyle contrasts sharply with the street style peacocks and high society Manhattanites he often photographs, causing the viewer to both appreciate and question their own relationship with fashion.
2. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)
‘This intimate and loving portrait of the legendary arbiter of fashion, art and culture illustrates the many stages of Vreeland’s remarkable life.’ A biographical documentary of Diana Vreeland, whose influence on fashion began with her iconic ‘Why Don’t You…’ column at Harper’s Bazaar, and continued through her years as editor-in-chief of Vogue and later consultant for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Featuring interviews with Vreeland’s contemporaries, including photographers, models and fellow editors, this stylish documentary is a must-see for all twentieth century fashion historians.
3. Advanced Style (2014)
‘This documentary profiles seven stylish New York City seniors who disprove the notion that advanced years and glamour are mutually exclusive.’ Originating from the blog and book created by Ari Seth Cohen, Advanced Style features several of the blog’s most photographed older ladies, interviewed by Cohen and sharing their views on everything from life, marriage and aging, to handbags and hair colour. A delightful documentary that challenges stereotypes on aging and older women, best viewed after reading our selection of articles on Fashion and Age.
Other fashion-related documentaries:
Chasing Beauty (2013)
Mademoiselle C (2013)
Paul Smith: Gentleman Designer (2012)
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s (2013)
The Director (2013)
Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston (2010)