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Any fashion lover knows that there are many players that help make the fashion world go around, and binge watching documentaries is a quick and easy way to study up on fashion history. Plus, it’s entertaining!
For the better half of the last 25 years, fashion has made its way off the runways and magazines and into TV and movies. The upcoming Ridley Scott-directed “House of Gucci,” starring Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, and Adam Driver, tells the story of a slain heir to the famous fashion house. The film won’t be released until later this year, but there are a slew of fashion documentaries currently streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime to whet your appetite.
If you’re not already signed up for Hulu, subscriptions start at just $5.99 a month for ad-supported streaming, or $59.99 a year. Hulu offers tens of thousands of movies and TV shows, plus exclusives. Amazon Prime runs a bit pricier at $12.99 a month (after a 30-day free trial), but the subscription allows you to watch a huge catalog of films and exclusive releases through Amazon Prime Video.
The most impactful fashion documentaries are candid and unabashed portraits, offering viewers a peek behind the curtains, off the catwalk, and into real life. From “McQueen” to “The True Cost,” see below for our list of the best fashion documentaries streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime.
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The life of British fashion designer and couturier Alexander McQueen is explored in the 2018 documentary written and co-directed by Ian Bonhôte, and Peter Ettedgui. As told by family, friends, fashion colleagues, and even McQueen himself, the film follows his start in fashion, building an empire, and his tragic suicide. “McQueen” is currently streaming on Hulu.
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If you’ve watched “Sex and the City,” than you know just how addicting Manolo Blahnik’s shoes can be. The 2017 documentary “Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards,” takes a deeper look at Blahnik’s shoe legacy, and how nature inspires his designs. As for creating those exquisite shoes, spontaneity is the name of the game for Blahnik who makes it clear that he doesn’t have a creative process. “Nothing is planned,” he reveals in the documentary, which you can rent (or buy) on Amazon Prime.
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A candid portrait of fashion icon André Leon Talley, “The Gospel According to André,” details the North Carolina-bred icon’s rise up the ranks in fashion. From his upbringing in the South, to the role that his grandmother (and going to church every Sunday) played in cultivating his love for fashion. Talley also details some of the racism and homophobia that he experienced in the fashion world. Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, Whoopi Goldberg, and more, make appearances in the film. “The Gospel According to André” is streaming on Hulu. And if you’re itching for more “Vogue” documentaries check out “The September Issue.”
Filmmaker Andrew Morgan offers up a sobering look at the true cost of fashion. The 2015 documentary details the devastating effects that the fashion industry (including affordable fast fashion brands like H&M and Topshop) has on the world, the environment, and the people who make the clothes we wear. “The True Cost” is streaming on Amazon Prime.
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This 2015 film from legendary documentarian Albert Maysles, goes inside the extraordinary life of Iris Apfel, a fashion icon and former interior designer. Apfel, who previously worked at Women’s Wear Daily, and as White House interior designer for nine presidents, loves to make a statement, with her signature wide-brimmed glasses, colorful patterns, and as many bracelets as she can fit on her wrist. As of this writing, she is now 99. “Iris” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
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Directed by James Crump, “Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco,” showcases the creative genius of fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez, whose work appeared in the pages of “Vogue,” “Elle,” and “Harper’s Bazaar,” to name a few. Born in Puerto Rico, Lopez moved to New York City as a child and later attended the famed Fashion Institute of Technology. An internship at “Women’s Wear Daily” gave Lopez his start in the fashion industry, which he parlayed into a robust career that found him jetting off to Paris where he became an associate of Karl Lagerfeld, and discovered the likes of Jerry Hall, Jessica Lange, Grace Jones, and Tina Chow. Lopez died from AIDS complications in 1987. You can stream “Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex, Fashion & Disco” on Hulu.
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Directed by Sasha Jenkins, this 2015 documentary looks at the history of hip-hop fashion, starting with its origins in the South Bronx to becoming a billion-dollar industry. “Fresh Dressed” features in-depth commentary from Sean “Diddy” Combs, Kanye West, Nas, Pharrell, and more.
A rebel with a cause. The many sides of Vivienne Westwood take center stage in “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist.” The documentary, directed by Lorna Tucker, captures the vibrant personality and undying passion of the English-born fashion designer, and environmental activist. “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist” is streaming on Amazon Prime.