Few artistic disciplines complement each other, as well as fashion and movies. The symbiotic relationship between fashion designers and filmmakers has contributed to some of the most iconic on-screen moments in history, whether it be a director’s talent for capturing the dramatic movement of a gown on camera or fashion designers’ contributions to the film industry over the years.
These are the movies every fashion e-gal needs to add to their watch list right away, whether it be a documentary about a designer’s first collection while in charge of a major fashion house (Dior and I), a light-hearted parody of the fashion world (Zoolander 2), or a vintage classic with impeccable costumes (The Great Gatsby).
You’ll discover how Anna made Vogue the legendary fashion magazine of today, the rise of McQueen, and the creative crazy of Westwood. Along with learning about Coco Chanel, houses of Valentino, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent, you’ll also read up on fashion history by reading about the lives of the greatest fashion designers ever.
So, here are all the most recognizable movies about fashion that you can watch right now, whether you want to satiate your curiosity about a field that is so frequently shrouded in mystery, learn more about some of the most significant events in fashion history, or indulge in some aesthetic escapism.
1. Funny Face (1957)
There aren’t many more enthusiastic fashion movies than Funny Face. Jo Stockton is portrayed by Audrey Hepburn in the film. She is a bashful bookshop assistant from New York City who aspires to study philosophy in Paris.
After she is used as a model by renowned fashion photographer Dick Avery, played by Fred Astaire, her ambitions are fulfilled in the most unlikely of ways. It’s the ideal homage to the pleasures of high couture, filled with stunning Parisian set pieces, lovely music by George and Ira Gershwin, and exquisite gowns created by both famed costume designer Edith Head and frequent Hepburn partner Hubert de Givenchy.
2. Blow-Up (1966)
The darkly glamorous thriller and drama are directed by Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni; one of the list’s darker sinister entries is set amid the heady heights of London’s Swinging Sixties. The plot revolves around Thomas, a lusty fashion photographer played by David Hemmings, who thinks he accidentally captured a murder in progress.
In retrospect, the complex protagonist’s treatment of his female subjects is very much a product of its period; nonetheless, the film’s terrifying thrills are tempered by a variety of stunning appearances, from Veruschka to Jane Birkin. Today, Blow-Up is a fascinating record of a significant turning point in the history of fashion.
3. Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (1966)
Although Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? and Blow-Up were both produced in the same year, the latter’s portrayal of the Swinging Sixties is far more surrealist and purposefully critical. The video, which was directed by American photographer and filmmaker William Klein, makes light of the excesses and frivolities of the fashion business in a way that manages to be both dazzling and hideous.
Stay for Grayson Hall’s outstanding performance as Miss Maxwell, an impudent, Diana Vreeland-like fashion editor whose witty remarks can make or break a career. Come for the costumes, which serve as a brilliantly realized time capsule of 1960s fashion and have since served as an inspiration to Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs.
4. Mahogany (1975)
When it comes to depictions of fashion designers on television and film, none are more decadent than Diana Ross’s portrayal of Tracy Chambers, an American design student whose outfits end up being a surprise smash in the high society circles of Rome in the 1970s.
As Tracy struggles to choose between her love for a Black activist fighting gentrification in her hometown of Chicago and the glamorous but ultimately unfulfilling promises of her modeling career in Europe, the movie, which was directed by Berry Gordy of Motown Records, features a political message that is still current today. Mahogany is a campy—and surprisingly conscientious—fashion fantasy that also has a timeless soundtrack.
5. Prêt-à-Porter (1994)
Nothing is as it seems in Robert Altman’s expansive, starry, and sharply satirical tribute to the fashion world. In the director’s trademark mockumentary approach, Julia Roberts, Sophia Loren, and Lauren Bacall all make cameo appearances as various fashionistas arriving at Paris Fashion Week in the wake of the passing of Olivier de la Fontaine, head of the city’s fashion council.
Although the movie was a critical and financial disaster, the fashion industry’s first confused reaction has evolved over time into awe. There is no finer movie to see as a record of the exciting heights of the runway show in the 1990s.
6. Clueless (1995)
Clueless is a painfully ’90s adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen, but it is still the go-to movie for girls’ for their sleepovers thanks to its amazing tartan two-pieces, outrageous headwear, and endlessly quotable references (“Alaa, it’s like, a really important designer,” etc.)
7. Moulin Rogue! (2001)
Some of the best costumes in husband and costume designer Catherine Martin’s illustrious and Oscar-filled career may be found in Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 masterwork. For the Parisian bohemia of 1902, elaborate, embroidered corsets and feathery negligees are suitable and let’s never, ever forget the crimson dress Nicole Kidman’s Satine wears during the “Elephant Love Medley” interlude.
8. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Few movies have been as effective in bringing the exclusive, mysterious world of fashion media into the public eye as The Devil Wears Prada. We follow the path of Anne Hathaway’s initially style-illiterate Andy Sachs as she enters this competitive world as Miranda’s assistant in the Oscar-nominated film “Runway,” which stars Meryl Streep in an exhilaratingly cruel performance as the editor-in-chief of Runway magazine.
The movie also benefits from outstanding supporting performances by Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci. It is an endlessly quotable and uproariously humorous glimpse into the obsessive nature of those who work in fashion. But what if Andy’s boyfriend turned out to be the real antagonist of the movie? A short scan on Twitter will show that discussion is still raging.
9. Atonement (2007)
Say the word “Atonement,” and it’s difficult to avoid seeing Keira Knightley in that green dress smoking outside an old British manor house. You cannot watch this movie without sobbing uncontrollably because every other costume in this movie is quite exceptional and outstanding.
10. Sex And The City (2008)
The Hollywood adaptation of Sex and the city may not be as good as the HBO series, but it certainly holds its own in the fashion shareholdings; kudos Patricia Field. Examples of this include the Vivienne Westwood wedding gown, the bridal high fashion photo shoot, the fashion week appearance, and the Manolo Blahniks.
11. Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008)
Valentino announced his retirement plans and began preparing for his final performance in 2007. Throughout the last two years of his career as a fashion designer, Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino’s patient business, and personal partner, is followed in this documentary. Concerned about “corporate plans” to purchase his clothing business, Valentino is getting ready to call it quits in the fashion industry.
12. Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton (2007)
The LV emblem dominates the fashion world from Japan to America. But one man, the extraordinary Marc Jacobs, is responsible for Louis Vuitton’s masterpieces. The director provides an intimate and illuminating image of the secretive Marc Jacobs and the world of haute couture thanks to unheard-of access to one of the most popular and busy designers in the world.
We witness a genius at work, whether it’s in the offices and workspaces of Paris and New York, in the trunk of his car, or backstage at a fashion show. Jacobs must balance the needs of his personal Marc Jacobs line and the demands of the Louis Vuitton group, which puts him under unprecedented pressure to forge new routes in fashion.
13. Coco Before Chanel (2009)
You can’t go wrong with Audrey Tautou’s outstanding portrayal of Coco Chanel in her early years as a seamstress before she went on to start her eponymous house that would alter the modern woman’s wardrobe if you’re seeking a dose of fashion history.
It’s the rare fashion biopic that delves beneath the surface, providing a moving window into the inner world of the designer it profiles. This is made possible by the film’s elegant cinematography, art direction, and—perhaps most notably—its use of stunning fashion moments created by French costume designer Catherine Leterrier, whose work on the project earned her a César Award.
14. The September Issue (2009)
This outstanding film by R. J. Cutler follows legendary ‘Vogue’ editor Anna Wintour as she gets ready to release the magazine’s September 2007 edition. This edition, which has a record 840 pages and debuts the fall trends, is the magazine’s most significant publication.
Wintour presents herself as a successful woman who is aware of what the readers want as she meticulously monitors each page of the magazine while sporting her signature bob and ubiquitous black glasses.
The documentary focuses more on media publishing and the inner workings of a magazine through the eyes of its notoriously demanding, cruel editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, than it does on fashion. Watch as Anna makes an effort to protect the reputation she has skillfully built since assuming control of the editorial masthead in 1988.
15. Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
One of the New York Times pillars, Bill Cunningham, has contributed to the esteemed publication for many years. The documentary provides a thorough overview of Bill Cunningham’s life and career. Interviews with friends and frequent topics, including Tom Wolfe, David Rockefeller, and Anna Wintour of Vogue, are also included.
It also provides a detailed glimpse at the life of the quirky fashion chronicler, who is always photographing and writing about celebrities or regular citizens of New York who are dressed strangely.
16. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)
“Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” is a close-up portrait and a vivacious celebration of one of the most significant figures of the 20th century, a steadfast icon whose impact permanently altered the landscape of art, publishing, fashion, and culture.
From her early years in Paris through her job as a journalist and magazine editor to her position as curator of a fashion museum, Diana Vreeland’s life is recounted. The former editor-in-chief of Vogue, fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, where she worked for 25 years, and her amazing tenures at the Met’s Costume Institute, where she assisted in popularizing historical collections, all provide valuable lessons.
17. McQueen and I (2011)
The best fashion designer of all time, Lee Alexander McQueen, must appear here as it is one of the greatest fashion films ever made. The “enfant terrible” of fashion With his designs, McQueen disregarded expectations and angered the fashion industry. McQueen created the notorious “bumster” pants and the Armadillo heels made famous by Lady Gaga’s foot.
This Channel 4 documentary is a retrospective of his life, which was tragically cut short by suicide in 2011, as opposed to Savage Beauty, the exhibition that drew crowds to the V&A. The documentary offers a comprehensive look into the singular creativity of his transforming runway displays and the production’s intense pace and pressure through historical film and interviews with those closest to him.
Starting with his early years working as a tailor on Savile Row, continuing through his encounter with the equally eccentric Isabella Blow (with whom he formed a close friendship), and concluding with him as one of the most creative and troubled talents in the field.
18. In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye (2012)
When it originally began, there were only graphics and a concentration on society women; there were no photographs. Things changed once Condé Nast took over in 1909 when photography was added, and fashion became the weekly focus.
Naturally, the publication eventually developed into a monthly journal as a result of societal and political upheaval, gradually evolving into the magazine we are familiar with today. ‘In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye,’ directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, serves as a memento of the journey.
A quick scan of the magazine’s editorial history, paying particular attention to the women whose influence and tenacity helped the publication stay current and keep a step ahead of its many rivals.
19. The Great Gatsby (2013)
In order to pull off her husband Baz Luhrmann’s massive adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic book, Catherine Martin mobilized her many contacts in the fashion world.
Around 1,200 outfits were provided by Brooks Brothers, 40 costumes were created by Miuccia Prada, and the diamond headpieces worn by Carey Mulligan’s Daisy were fashioned by Tiffany & Co. All of this results in one of the most fashionable movies to ever come out of Australia.
20. Mademoiselle C (2013)
Carine Roitfeld established herself as one of fashion’s most important players during her ten years as editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, from January 31, 2001, to January 31, 2011. Versace, Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Mario Testino, Riccardo Tisci, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Alexander Wang are some of the people she considers close friends.
But until today, few individuals outside of the fashion industry were familiar with her.
The introduction of Carine’s new publication, “CR Fashion Book,” and her resignation from Conde Nast are both covered in “Mademoiselle C.” Roitfeld’s personal and professional lives are briefly shown in the film, which is unusual.
As Carine relocates to New York, launches a new business, and gets ready to become a grandmother, the viewer is allowed to follow along in this movie about transformation. A film starring models, famous people, and eccentric characters that make the fashion industry so interesting.
Also read: 50 Best Vampire Movies To Watch in 2023
21. Dior and I (2014)
The documentary by Frédéric Tcheng appears on the surface to be an advertisement for the Dior fashion house (owned by the massive union LVMH). Interesting remarks from the late creator Christian Dior are used to portray Raf Simons as a deserving successor.
The movie centers on Simons, a charming Belgian who confuses the employees by insisting on being called Raf, and his relationship with the Dior studio, where all of the clothing is meticulously hand-sewn.
We get a look inside the world of the cutters and seamstresses—who are also artists—in “Dior and I.” The face of Dior is shown in this deeply moving film from behind a curtain, just like the model who walks down the runway in a magnificent garment and declares, “she’s going to cry; it’s so lovely.”
22. Yves Saint Laurent (2014)
One of the finest French biographical drama fashion movies ever created, “Yves Saint Laurent,” is based on the life of Yves Saint Laurent from 1958. At the start of the movie, Saint Laurent is a nerdy 21-year-old who is being bullied by a kid who is self-conscious.
In 1957, Christian Dior was the most prominent fashion brand in France. He is now its new creative director. A few years later, after being forced to participate in the Algerian War and subjected to sexual harassment, he has a nervous breakdown. As Saint Laurent battles cocaine addiction and melancholy, Pierre Bergé makes an appearance as a businessman who becomes YSL’s bodyguard, business partner, and boyfriend.
23. The Next Black (2014)
“The Next Black” is an important debate starter in the fashion industry. After its debut in 2014, the roiling discussion of sustainable fashion has beyond its specialized boundaries and entered popular culture.
It’s an interesting visual introduction to how fashion is changing how clothing is made and how people wear it through the use of cutting-edge textiles and technology. Two years after its debut, significant progress has been made, and even the most well-known businesses are beginning to see the commercial feasibility of technical solutions for environmentally friendly design.
Although “The Next Black” is primarily concerned with technology, the impending digitization of the fashion industry, and the implications for common consumers. This film is more than a glitzy tribute to fashion’s upcoming trends. It’s an appeal to customers and industry titans alike to think about fashion for more than the next five minutes.
24. Advanced Style (2014)
This movie examines the fashionable lifestyles and clothes of seven of New York’s most stunning older folks, based on Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog. Expect lace ruffles, feather boas, and fake eyelashes; nothing is off-limits.
The elder age talks about how their wardrobes are overflowing and how their views toward dressing have caused them to defy the trends, proving that fashion never goes out of Vogue. I never wanted to appear youthful; I wanted to look wonderful, as one of them says.
25. The True Cost (2015)
This distinctive documentary, which was directed by Andrew Morgan, is all about rapid fashion. The director exposes a number of facets of the garment industry, including production, low-wage employees’ lives in developing nations, and the industry’s aftereffects, which include river and soil pollution, pesticide poisoning, disease, and death.
Andrew investigates consumerism and the media, finally connecting them to global capitalism, using a strategy that considers environmental, social, and psychological elements. The documentary is a mash-up of interviews with environmentalists, garment workers, factory owners, people promoting fair trade businesses, and people organizing fair trade firms.
26. The Neon Demon (2016)
In Nicolas Winding Refn’s psychological horror film The Neon Demon, you might need a strong stomach to endure some of the more gory scenes, but you’ll also be rewarded with lots of jaw-dropping couture. An exorcism, necrophilia, and a lot (a lot) of blood are all part of the scene’s darker underbelly as Elle Fanning’s teenage model is quickly drawn in.
The film also has serial killer photographers and demonic possessions. The Neon Demon is a bracing and deliciously gory guilty pleasure, even though its jabs at the seedier parts of the fashion world may be a little heavy-handed.
27. Zoolander 2 (2016)
Derek and Hansel are forced back into the fashion business in Rome after spending several years apart from modeling and one another. Derek and Hansel decide to leave the industry after being humiliated on the runway by the crew, but retired swimsuit model Valentina pulls them back in by asking them about recent celebrity demises.
Although the variety of stunning debuts (cue: Vera Wang, Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Valentino) shows, the fashion industry is more than happy to laugh at itself on occasion, despite the fact that it does mock it ruthlessly.
28. Nocturnal Animals (2016)
It turns out that Tom Ford is equally skilled at producing films as he is at creating clothing, and Nocturnal Animals is a masterpiece of fashion. Amy Adams, who plays a troubled art dealer to the super-rich in Los Angeles, appears in the movie wearing a variety of stylish ensembles, none of which are provided by Tom Ford because the fashion icon forbade the use of his own line in the movie.
29. The First Monday In May (2016)
The production of “China: Through The Looking Glass” is the most popular fashion exhibition in history at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; it was followed by “The First Monday in May.” Andrew Bolton, the curator of the MET’s Costume Institute, produced an exhibition that examined Western clothing with Chinese influences.
Filmmaker Andrew Rossi documents the Met Gala, one of the most important international fashion events, where high fashion and celebrity collide with unprecedented access. The Met Gala is presided over by Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue.
Filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and John Galliano, as well as current pop icons like Rihanna, are among the cast members of the documentary. The topic of whether or not fashion belongs in the category of art is explored in the film.
30. Franca: Chaos and Creation (2016)
This work of fiction, written by Francesco Carrozzini, is a biography of his mother, Franca Sozzani, the editor of Italian Vogue and a controversial figure in the fashion industry. Since the infamous “Black Issue” and the “Plastic Surgery issue,” Sozzani has been steadfastly devoted to delving into topics that are taboo for most people in order to challenge the current quo and occasionally reimagine what beauty is.
Carrozzini provides us with a “behind-the-scenes insight” into his mother’s creative process and a glimpse into her weaknesses, both past, and present, through interviews with Karl Lagerfeld, Bruce Weber, Baz Luhrmann, Courtney Love, and many other celebrities. This video, which is profoundly intelligent and frequently moving, is similar to a love letter from a son to his mother.
31. Phantom Thread (2017)
Few movies do a better job of capturing the obsessive, exacting nature of designer fashion than Paul Thomas Anderson’s cramped and brilliantly spooky Phantom Thread, which chooses to follow the relationship between high society designer Reginald Woodcock—loosely based on Charles James—and a young woman who becomes his muse.
Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville, Daniel Day-Lewis’ Oscar-nominated co-stars, more than hold their own in bringing this grim fairy tale to vivid, believable life. Phantom Thread provides a captivating, exquisitely constructed fairy tale that, in the end, feels more like a nightmare than a window into the world of post-war fashion.
32. Dries (2017)
An original film examining the great passion and exceptional talent that have made Dries Van Noten one of the world’s most stunning fashion designers. Dries Van Noten permits a filmmaker to follow him for the first time as he engages in his creative process, opulent personal life, and iconic fashion shows that have evolved into “cult-like events” during Paris Fashion Week.
Reiner Holzemer spent a full year closely documenting Dries’ exact thought processes, selection of luxurious materials, needlework, and prints, as well as his collection ideas. The end product is a superb film that provides insight into the life, thoughts, and creative heart of a Master Fashion Designer who, for more than 25 years, has maintained independence in a context of consolidation and globalization in the fashion industry.
33. The Gospel According To André (2017)
Gospel One of our most important tastemakers and fashion curators, André Leon Talley, is intimately portrayed in Kate Novack’s book According to André. From André’s childhood in the Jim Crow South of segregation to his rise to prominence in the fashion industry, the documentary takes viewers on an emotional journey.
The documentary takes viewers on an emotional journey from André’s infancy in the Jim Crow South of segregation to his ascent to fame in the fashion business.
The Gospel According to André is a cinematic monument to one of the distinctive individuals of 20th-century American culture, weaving together a plethora of archive material from the most spectacular periods in fashion history with André’s moving thoughts on his life and work.
The Gospel According to André, which includes commentary from industry heavyweights like Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Anna Wintour, is an essential addition to the canon of fashion documentaries.
34. Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist (2018)
Since her death in 2022, her legacy has become more vital than ever. Dame Vivienne Westwood has been revolutionizing British fashion for more than 40 years since she and her ex-partner and manager of the Sex Pistols ignited the punk movement.
A distinctive portrayal of Vivienne and her remarkable network of colleagues emerges through the blending of archive video and incisive interviews. The film follows Vivienne’s path from her post-World War II upbringing in Derbyshire to the catwalks of Paris and Milan and to the fashion designer behind many of our era’s most recognizable designs.
35. Ocean’s 8 (2018)
Although Ocean’s 8—a forthcoming film about a jewel heist starring Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, and many other fierce women—isn’t exactly a fashion movie per se, we’re counting it since the theft actually takes place at Fashion Prom, also known as the Met Gala.
A celebrity wouldn’t wear a $150 million necklace anywhere else but the Met Gala, anyway. The film, which opens in theatres on June 8, features cameo appearances from fashion icons like Serena Williams, Alexander Wang, Kim Kardashian West, Kendall Jenner, and Kylie Jenner. There will undoubtedly be many stunning dresses to swoon over, not to mention the jewelry.
This movie is an inside look at the remarkable life, work, and creativity of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. The designer, McQueen, began making things when he was still in his teens. After being discovered, he began working as a designer for Givenchy.
He started his label soon after, and it is still operating now. ‘McQueen’ is a real celebration and exhilarating depiction of an innovative but tormented fashion innovator who committed suicide in 2010. It uses exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, magnificent images, and music. For all fans of fashion and fashion lovers, this film is a must-watch.
37. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
This blockbuster, which depicts the story of some of Asia’s wealthiest families and their extravagant lifestyles, was always going to include major high fashion moments from its star-studded cast—from the Swarovski-encrusted wedding gown worn by fictional bride Araminta Lee to the vintage looks worn by Asia’s most stylish woman, Astrid Leong (played by Gemma Chan).
The cast’s equally dramatic off-screen red carpet antics, however, managed to surpass the outfits in the film despite the high-caliber clothing in it.
38. A Simple Favor (2018)
A Simple Favour, while receiving mixed reviews, was a fashion triumph because of Blake Lively’s character, a disturbed member of the design business who dressed only in three-piece power suits in homage to the movie’s director, Paul Feig, who doesn’t even take his clothes off on weekends. Lively dressed in a variety of candy-colored menswear ensembles for the press tour, embracing the image of the movie.
39. Cruella (2021)
Disney’s fantasy view of the fashion industry may be a touch far-fetched, but it accomplishes more things right than wrong. It relates the tale of Cruella DeVil’s childhood, who is portrayed by Emma Stone as the notably fashionable villain from 101 Dalmatians.
There are many parallels between her origins as a rebellious fashion designer and those of real-life individuals like Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano. She pushes back against the florals and frivolity of 1960s London style and adds something darker and more deadly to the mix. Although done on purpose, the outfits may be historically inaccurate, the story of egos and extravagance in fashion is unquestionably eternal.
40. House Of Gucci (2021)
Ridley Scott’s American historical crime drama film House of Gucci is based on Sara Gay Forden’s 2001 novel “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed.” The plot of the film centers on the relationship between Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) and Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), which develops into a struggle for control of the Italian fashion brand Gucci.
Big, brash, and cunning Patrizia contrasts with calm, cerebral Maurizio, who compartmentalizes his emotions. The film, which is narrated from Patrizia’s point of view and features a spectacular performance from Lady Gaga, shows how the fusion of these two personality types transforms a romance into a fire that consumes everything.