French Fashion 101: Top 5 Films on Haute Couture

Last week saw the glitzy US premiere of fashion documentary Mademoiselle C, which follows former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld as she ambitiously embarks upon her new entrepreneurial endeavor as founder of style magazine, CR Fashion Book; but this isn’t the first time a director has been allured by a legend of haute couture. For a crash course in French Fashion 101, check out these 5 films that illuminate the biggest names in the industry. 

  • L’Amour Fou (watch instantly on Netflix) – a touching documentary lead by Yves Saint-Laurent’s romantic and business partner Pierre Berge who is faced with the emotionally painful task of auctioning off their extraordinary art collection following the death of the legendary designer.
  • Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (rent dvd on Netflix) – a revealing look into the personal and professional life of Harpers Bazaar’s visionary editor-in-chief through interviews with top designers, photographers, models, and celebrities.
  • Who are you Polly Maggoo (rent dvd on Netflix or watch instantly on YouTube) – a hilarious black-and-white spoof that pokes fun at the ridiculous and over-the-top inner workings of the fashion world focusing on a Twiggy-era supermodel and a Diana Vreeland-inspired publisher.
  • Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton (rent dvd on Netflix) – Director Loïc Priget gives us a full-access pass into Marc Jacobs’ personal work space, revealing both his artistic and business sides as the American designer strives to run his own fashion line in New York while simultaneously working as Creative Director for Louis Vuitton in Paris.
  • Coco Before Chanel (rent dvd on Netflix) – This biopic starring Audrey Tautou tells the incredible rags-to-riches life story of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel who, thanks to the financial help of her wealthy aristocrat lover, transforms from a penniless orphaned seamstress into the most influential designer in women’s fashion history.

If you’d like to shop around for even more French style-infused films on Netflix, you can watch Audrey Tautou spend all of Gad Elmaleh’s money on fancy designer outfits in the romantic comedy Priceless, you can sing along with Audrey Hepburn as a young Parisian-based model in the 1957 classic musical Funny Face, you can cheer on competing designers in the 2005 documentary Seamless, or you can get caught up in the chaos of a fashion-related murder mystery in the 1994 satire Ready to Wear.

Sophie Weiner

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