The Latch Selections: The Best Fashion Documentaries and Where to Watch Them

Best Fashion Documentaries

It’s that time of year once again — the first Monday in May, when Hollywood’s elite and fashion’s finest will flock to the Met Gala for the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. It’s a flurry of fabric and fantasy, glitz and glamour, and it reminds us of the power fashion can hold over us all. Every year, the stars turn out show-stopping looks, but when it’s over, we’re always left wanting more. To keep the good times going, we compiled a list of the best fashion documentaries out there.

From profiles of top designers like Vivienne Westwood and Christian Dior, to key figures in fashion like Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Tally and Diana Vreeland, to industry icons like Bill Cunningham and Iris Apfel, the list below has something for everyone.

The Best Fashion Documentaries (and Where to Watch Them in Australia)

Bill Cunningham New York

Directed by: Richard Press
Synopsis: A profile of the noted and extraordinarily cheerful veteran New York City fashion photographer.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

A charming, moving and deeply heartfelt portrayal of the late, great Bill Cunningham, this is an intimate look at the life of one of fashion photography’s most iconic figures. Cunningham was a legend of the New York City fashion scene, best known for his candid, democratic approach to street photography.

Brandy Hellville and the Cult of Fast Fashion

Directed by: Eva Orner
Synopsis: The Instagram-perfect image of Brandy Melville hides a toxic culture endemic to fast fashion.
Where to watch: Streaming on BINGE

While there are only two Brandy Melville stores open in Australia, the story of Brandy Hellville is one that’s important for everyone to see. Beyond the company’s unprofessional and unethical practices, the documentary broadens its scope to fast fashion at large, and will make you think twice about your next purchase, no matter the store.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

Directed by: Lisa Immordino Vreeland, with Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt and Frédéric Tcheng (co-directors)
Synopsis: A look at the life and work of the influential fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar, Diana Vreeland.
Where to watch: Available to rent on Google Play

Diana Vreeland was larger than life, and her legacy in the fashion world lives on in The Eye Has to Travel. With commentary from former colleagues, family members and fashion industry giants, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel paints a thorough portrait of Vreeland’s life, career, and the lasting impact on fashion.

Dior and I

Directed by: Frédéric Tcheng
Synopsis: Get inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection as its new artistic director.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

Essential viewing for fashion enthusiasts, Dior and I gives viewers a rare and intimate look at the work that happens behind-the-scenes before the launch of a new collection. As we follow the journey of Raf Simons’ as he prepares to unveil his collection, we also get to know the craftspeople and artisans who bring Simons’ ideas to life with meticulous attention to detail.


Directed by: Reiner Holzemer
Synopsis: An intimate portrait of the fashion designer Dries Van Noten, Dries offers an insight into the life, mind and creative heart of a master fashion designer who, for more than 25 years, has remained independent in a landscape of fashion consolidation and globalisation. Reiner Holzemer follows him for one year and witnesses the creation of four collections.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

Unlike many fashion documentaries, where the narrative is driven by an upcoming runway show, Dries offers the viewer an up close and personal look at Dries Van Noten’s life and creative process. A deliberate, insightful, and detailed portrait of the otherwise very private Van Noten, this is sure to please any design diehards.

The First Monday in May

Directed by: Andrew Rossi
Synopsis: Follows the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history, “China: Through The Looking Glass,” an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions by Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

The First Monday in May gives viewers insight into the work that goes into making The Met Gala one of the most important, high-profile events on the fashion calendar each year. An engaging and visually stunning watch, the film features Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, as well as Andrew Bolton, the curator of the Costume Institute, as they prepare for the 2015 Met Gala.

Fresh Dressed

Directed by: Sacha Jenkins
Synopsis: Chronicles the history of Hip-Hop and urban fashion and its rise from southern cotton plantations to the gangs of 1970s in the South Bronx, to corporate America, and everywhere in-between.
Where to watch: Currently not available to stream

With rich historical context, Fresh Dressed depicts the connection between fashion and larger socio-economic and cultural issues like race, class, and identity. Over the course of the film, Fresh Dressed traces the rise of hip-hop fashion from its New York City origins to the global popularity it has today.

The Gospel According to André

Directed by: Kate Novack
Synopsis: This intimate portrait for André Leon Tally, a fixture in the world of fashion, takes viewers on a journey from André’s roots growing up to becoming one of the most influential tastemakers and fashion curators of our times.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

An insightful look into one of fashion’s most prominent figures, The Gospel According to André puts Tally’s vivacious personality and profound knowledge of fashion on full display. The film is a celebration of Tally’s many achievements, and offers viewers the necessary cultural and historical context to contextualise his successes as the barrier breaking, trailblazing moments they were.

House of Z

Directed by: Sandy Chronopoulos
Synopsis: A feature documentary on the life and career of designer Zac Posen.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

A candid and honest depiction of the rise, fall, and comeback of Zac Posen in the fashion industry. House of Z doesn’t shy away from Posen’s challenges, both personally and professionally, and with extensive archival footage of Posen’s designs and runways, this documentary is a compelling and engaging watch.


Directed by: Albert Maysles
Synopsis: A documentary about fashion icon Iris Apfel, the 93-year-old style maven who has had an out-sized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades, from legendary late 88-year-old documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

Iris Apfel was a legend of the fashion world, best known for her eclectic, maximalist style, keen eye, and sharp wit. Iris does a fabulous job of showcasing her larger-than-life personality onscreen, and reminds viewers of the joy that comes when you continue to prioritise your creativity and passions with age.

Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer

Directed by: Vlad Yudin
Synopsis: The story of fashion designer Jeremy Scott’s ascent from a small town in Missouri to his current position as the Creative Director of Moschino.
Where to watch: Rent on Prime Video

Best known for his bold, often controversial designs for Moschino, Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer follows Scott’s journey from a Missouri farm to fashion industry icon. With appearances from Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and more, the documentary offers viewers a look at Scott’s influence in celebrity culture.

L’Amour Fou

Directed by: Pierre Thoretton
Synopsis: A documentary on the relationship between fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his lover, Pierre Bergé.
Where to watch: TBC

L’Amour Fou gives viewers an intimate look at the professional and personal relationship between Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, and explores Saint Laurent’s life and legacy after his death. This is a documentary that will resonate deeply with viewers, as it explores love, loss, and the impact of being in a relationship with a creative genius. With stunning cinematography and a look at Saint Laurent’s most groundbreaking fashion collections, L’Amour Fou will have you transfixed from start to finish.

Mademoiselle C

Directed by: Fabien Constant
Synopsis: A documentary focused on former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief and fashion stylist Carine Roitfeld as she moves to New York to launch her own magazine.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

With a mix of personal insights and professional pursuits, Mademoiselle C showcases Carine Roitfeld’s impact on the fashion industry, as well as her charismatic, engaging personality. Viewers are given a front-row seat to meetings, photo shoots, editorial planning as Roitfeld prepares to launch her own magazine, and appearances from some of fashion’s most prominent designers are sure to delight fashionistas.

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards

Directed by: Michael Roberts
Synopsis: An in-depth portrait of Manolo Blahnik, the self-confessed ‘cobbler’ and the man regarded by most influential fashion figures as the best shoe-maker of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Where to watch: Streaming on BINGE

Anyone who’s seen Sex and the City will know the name Manolo Blahnik, and for good reason. Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards is a loving celebration of the man behind the legendary shoe designer, and offers viewers an engaging glimpse into the mind of the creative genius.

Martin Margiela: In His Own Words

Directed by: Reiner Holzemer
Synopsis: Documentary offering a view on Maison Martin Margiela during Martin Margiela’s helm.
Where to watch: Rent on Apple TV

Martin Margiela is a man known as much for his reclusive nature as he is for his avant-garde designs, which is exactly what makes this documentary such a rare delight. The film features Margiela himself narrating his career and artistic philosophy, along with extensive archival footage that will keep your eyes glued to the screen.


Directed by: Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui
Synopsis: The life and career of fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen: from his start as a tailor, to launching and overseeing his eponymous line and his untimely death.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

McQueen is a poignant exploration of the life, career, and artistry of the troubled British designer Alexander McQueen, which highlights both his intense creativity and complex personality. It’s a powerful, profound look at the life, career and legacy of one of fashion’s most celebrated designers, with exquisitely curated visuals and archival footage.

The September Issue

Directed by: R.J. Cutler
Synopsis: A documentary chronicling Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s preparations for the 2007 fall-fashion issue.
Where to watch: Streaming on Stan

With unprecedented access to Vogue editor-in chief Anna Wintour, The September Issue offers audiences a rare glimpse into the world of fashion publishing. It’s an engaging and revealing look at Wintour, one of the fashion industry’s most notorious figures, as well as other key figures at Vogue, like creative director Grace Coddington.

The True Cost

Directed by: Andrew Morgan
Synopsis: The True Cost is a documentary film exploring the impact of fashion on people and the planet.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

The True Cost is a critical deep dive into the grim realities that lie behind fast fashion brands, both on human and environmental resources. A sobering and hard-hitting critique of fast fashion and its practices, this necessary documentary sheds light on the the unethical treatment of workers in developing nations, including sweatshop labour, as well as the environmental and impact of fast fashion and mass consumerism on the planet.


Directed by: Douglas Keeve
Synopsis: One of the most successful designers in high fashion plans his fall 1994 collection. Follow the behind-the-scenes look at the creative side of fashion.
Where to watch: Streaming on Apple TV

Embrace the creative chaos of Unzipped, a fun and funny look at what goes on behind-the-scenes as designer Isaac Mizrahi plans and executes his fall 1994 collection. A captivating character study as well as a fashion documentary, Unzipped is driven by Mizrahi’s larger-than-life persona, as he takes viewers through process of staging a major fashion show.

Valentino: The Last Emperor

Directed by: Matt Tyrnauer
Synopsis: A look at the life of legendary fashion designer Valentino.
Where to watch: Rent on Apple TV

Following the two years leading up to Valentino Garavani’s 2008 retirement, Valentino: The Last Emperor offers an immersive look at the designer’s career, creative process, work ethic, and personal life. The film’s attention to detail mirrors Valentino’s own, and does a wonderful job capturing both the exquisite detail of Valentino’s designs and the nuanced relationship he shared with Giancarlo Giammetti, his partner and business associate.

Very Ralph

Directed by: Susan Lacy
Synopsis: A documentary about the origin and the upgrowth of the fashion label Ralph Lauren.
Where to watch: Streaming on BINGE

Ralph Lauren’s designs redefined American style, and Very Ralph is a comprehensive look at Lauren’s success in the industry. Tracing his lift from humble beginnings in the Bronx to the peak of his success, Very Ralph is a celebration of the man and the empire he built. With stunning archival footage and interview with key figures in fashion, including Lauren himself, this is a watch worth your time.

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Directed by: Lorna Tucker
Synopsis: The first film to encompass the remarkable story of one of the true icons of our time, as she fights to maintain her brand’s integrity, her principles – and her legacy.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

Vivienne Westwood was one of the the most provocative and influential designers in modern fashion, and Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist shows us why. Capturing Westwoods rise from her early days in London’s punk rock scene through to her status as an icon of fashion, this film offers insight into her fiery personality, unapologetic commitment to political causes, and so much more.

Wonder Boy

Directed by: Anissa Bonnefont
Synopsis: Autobiographical documentary on Olivier Roustein, artistic director of Balmain.
Where to watch: TBC

Balmain had a chokehold on celebrities in the mid-2010s, due in great part to the designs of Olivier Roustein. More than just a fashion documentary, Wonder Boy explores Roustein’s personal journey in the midst of his professional success, and follows the designer’s search for his biological parents, as well as his experiences as one of the few Black directors at a major fashion house.

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