We can hardly think of two glossier, more glamorous industries than those of the fashion world and the silver screen, and yet rarely do those two worlds collide. While models may have a stab at acting careers and, usually more successfully, actors try the reverse, Hollywood has rarely gone behind the catwalk and told the story of what goes on in the world of the fashion pack – the trends, tantrums and tribulations.
It’s always a treat, then, to find a movie that goes beyond the glitz and the glitter and exposes just how much effort goes into looking so good…
Coco Before Chanel
This romantic, beautifully-shot tale charts the rise of France’s celebrated style icon Coco Chanel from her humble beginnings in an orphanage to the establishment of her fashion empire, via a couple of doomed love affairs. Magnifique.
Prêt à Porter
This biting satire, which was filmed while Paris Fashion Week was in progress, collects a slew of Hollywood big names like Sophia Loren, Julia Roberts and Kim Basinger and weaves fictional tales into real-life footage of all the runway dramas. While it was critically-panned, this satirical romp features a killer soundtrack and enough megastar cameos to keep you interested.
This comedy about a dim male model may have a silly subplot about an assassination attempt but actually manages to lift the lid on the vacuous, and sometimes unglamorous, world inhabited by the industry’s clothes horses. They may look stylish on the catwalk, except in brown men’s sandals, but beneath the surface, the excitements are few and far between.
This classic musical starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire is a heart-warming rags-to-riches story about a reluctant model and the famous photographer who discovers her.
With some of the most memorable show tunes of all time, not to mention a trip to Paris, this is a must for anyone who misses the old-school glamour and chic – that ‘je ne sais quoi’ – of years gone by.
The September Issue
This caustic, enlightening movie was no satire, it was a fly-on-the-wall documentary, and that fly was clad in Gucci. This fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the offices of American Vogue, focusing on formidable editrix Anna Wintour, showed the intense pressures and high dramas of the world-famous fashion bible.
The Devil Wears Prada
Featuring Meryl Streep at her caustic best as fearsome magazine editor Miranda Priestly, this biting comedy was written by Anna Wintour’s former assistant. Watch out for the increasingly madcap demands of the power-crazed magazine supremo on her brow-beaten junior assistant. How much of it is based on fact is anyone’s guess, but they don’t call Anna ‘Nuclear Wintour’ for nothing, right?
Zac Colbert is a freelance writer who covers a diverse range of fashion related subjects from arguing the pros of mens sandals to holiday beach wear.