Our Favorite Movies About Fashion
I could write a diatribe about cable companies--and the hell that is Comcast in particular--but I can't complain about AND truly love the On Demand feature. I was perusing the selection the other night when I noticed one title in particular: L'Amour Fou is currently available through Comcast On Demand. The 2009 documentary chronicles the life of couturier Yves Saint Laurent in an unusual way: The film is narrated by Saint Laurent's business partner and lover of 50 years, Pierre Bergé, as he reviews their life together through the lens of the lifetime of treasures (think extravagant mansions, priceless works of art by Picasso) they collected. I've been dying to see this film for years--it came out in 2009--and I am anxiously awaiting my next day off when I can curl up on the couch in a pair of fabulous heels, coffee in hand, and watch it.
This all got me thinking about other fashion-centric films I have enjoyed over the years. The world of fashion provides plenty of comedy and drama--perfect fodder for movie plots.
Robert Altman turned his eye toward the fashion world with this peek at the Paris fashion world. Later re-titled in English ("Ready to Wear"), Pret-a-Porter is a farcical look inside a French fashion show. When Roger Ebert reviewed the movie he said he wished Altman had "gone further and been meaner," and while I see his point, it's still a great effort and a must-see if you love fashion, Altman or both. Starring Tim Robbins, Julia Roberts, Sophia Loren and Danny Aiello.
Utterly stupid and moronic, I love this movie anyway. Ben Stiller is hilarious as Derek Zoolander, a model who has been brainwashed into becoming an assassin, whose target is the prime minister of Malaysia. Watching Stiller make ridiculous faces and walk the runway for 90 minutes is good comic relief; add in his fashion world foil Hansel (played by Owen Wilson) and a couple of beers, and Zoolander becomes exceptionally watchable. Big names in fashion that make an appearance include Tommy Hilfiger, Gwen Stefani, Tom Ford, Heidi Klum, Veronica Webb and Claudia Schiffer.
The Devil Wears Prada, 2006
In spite of my love for Vogue magazine, I didn't go as ga-ga over The Devil Wears Prada when I first saw it in the theater. I have this love/hate thing with Anne Hathaway that sometimes interferes with my enjoyment of a movie. Still, this is a pretty obvious send up of Anna Wintour (head bitch-in-charge at Vogue), and the movie glows when the brilliant Stanley Tucci is on-screen, so all things considered, it's more good than bad. Starring Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci.
Sex and the City 1 & 2, 2008 & 2010
It doesn't matter if you like Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte--all that matters here are the clothes. The fabulous, over-the-top, designer clothes ... and the shoes! Oh, the shoes. I watched both of these movies for the first time on planes, and the second one I watched with the sound turned off after the opening 10 minutes of dialogue. I guess I stopped caring what the girls had to say after the series ended, but I'll never stop caring about what they are wearing. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Chris Noth.
Funny Face, 1957
I originally thought I would list My Fair Lady (1964) as the Audrey Hepburn fashion/style vehicle for this list, not because it's set in the world of fashion but because of what the movie says about style vs. substance.
Funny Face, on the other hand, is more directly situated in the world of fashion. In this movie Hepburn plays a store clerk named Jo who works at a bookstore that becomes a backdrop for a fashion shoot. Photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) sees something special in the clerk's face, and this launches Jo into the world of fashion. Music by George & Ira Gershwin; also starring Kay Thompson and Michel Auclair.
Author's Note: While it seems wrong to leave Breakfast at Tiffany's off a list about fashion in movies, I tried to limit this list to movies that were about fashion and style, and not about movies that influenced fashion: That is another list altogether.