Representing fashion through cinema and TV series is not easy: however, there have been some products over the past few years that have managed to go “beyond,” telling the stories of great designers, and the figures that revolve around them, with passion, love, and accuracy, making us learn a little more and a get a little closer to the world of fashion.
“Coco Avant Chanel” (2009)
Coco Chanel is a myth, a timeless icon, but she was also a woman full of doubts and uncertainties: the childhood of the great designer and her sister, in fact, can certainly not be called idyllic. Growing up in poverty, they found work as cabaret performers at night, while during the day Gabrielle Chanel worked as a seamstress in a fabric store and then found herself catapulted into French high society, thanks to her acquaintance with the wealthy Étienne Balsan. In the film, we see a young Coco Chanel (Audrey Tautou) who immediately stands out from the crowd thanks to her avant-garde ideas, a woman determined to pursue her dream and goal, going against the conventions of the time. A journey that takes us along the rise to success that led Madame Chanel to success, without ever abandoning her ideals. Some of the clothes in the film were borrowed from the brand’s official archives, while others were created ad hoc by none other than Karl Lagerfeld himself.
“Yves Saint Laurent” (2014)
The film, set in 1957 romantic Paris, tells the story of the rise of a very young Yves Saint Laurent (Pierre Niney) who, after the death of Christian Dior, takes over the reins of the Maison at the young age of 17. The film dwells on the most intimate aspects of the famous designer’s life, from his encounter with the love of his life, Pierre Bergé, to his first fashion show, from the hospitalization due to his depression to the call to arms that forced him to resign, up to the creation of his own Maison. Yves Saint Laurent was modern and revolutionary in the fashion world and at the same time tormented and insecure in his private life: the film manages to show every side, even the hidden ones, of the infamous designer.
“Phantom Thread” (2017)
Genius and madness many times go hand in hand and this seems to be the case of Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), a British fashion designer with a unique artistic talent for fashion. The film portrays the life of a man tormented by his inner demons and his past as he works alongside his sister, the only one who seems to understand him and the only one who can stand up to him. The designer loves everything that is beautiful: when he meets Alma, a simple waitress who is able to fascinate him like no one else, he turns her into his muse and life companion. This story is about love and passion and, if on the one hand, we can witness Alma’s passion towards Reynolds, on the other hand, the film portrays the designer’s passion towards his work, fashion, and creation, while he puts the young girl in competition with something abstract and uncomparable. The magnificent costumes were all handmade, with precious and refined fabrics (just think of the lace dating back to 1600), and in just six months!
“Made in Italy” (2019)
The 1960s: in this era, a frenetic Milan is about to “explode” with creativity, especially in the fashion sphere; these are the premises we are given at the beginning of the all-Italian series “Made in Italy.” Taking up the mood of the iconic “The Devil Wears Prada,” we retrace the birth of Neapolitan fashion, through the adventures of Irene Mastrangelo (Greta Ferro), a young girl with the dream of becoming a journalist, who comes across the world of fashion almost by chance, falling in love slowly through the parades of Krizia, the presentations of a young but already talented Giorgio Armani and the world of the Missoni family. Several fashion houses have taken part in this project by providing clothes and accessories. The series shows not only the birth and most intimate aspects of many great Italian designers who have made history all over the world but also a different way of seeing and creating fashion: a more careful approach to raw materials, fabrics, and workers that today is trying to recover, always leaving creativity, innovation and courage on the podium.
“House of Gucci” (2021)
In 1995, Patrizia Reggiani was arrested as the instigator of the murder of her ex-husband, Maurizio Gucci, heir to the famous Gucci family and fashion house. But what is hidden behind this gesture? Based on the book “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed (2001)” by Sara Gay Forden, which follows the fortunes of the entire Gucci family, the film directed by Ridley Scott, to be released next November, follows the birth, development, and decay of the relationship between Maurizio and Patrizia (Adam Driver and Lady Gaga): from their marriage to the birth of their daughters, passing through the fights, the divorce following the betrayal by Maurizio Gucci with Paola Franchi and the murder of the same, all always accompanied by unbridled luxury, included, of course, in clothes and accessories.
The ’60s: a decidedly glam New York lies ahead of the itinerant designer Halston (Ewan McGregor), who soon becomes a successful man thanks to the creation of garments, perfumes, and suitcases. Starting as a designer of hats, worn by the most important personalities of the time, such as the famous Jackie Kennedy, he continues his climb towards a wonderful world, which however hides a “dark” facade: one made of crazy spending, turbulent relationships, starting with those with his father, and substance abuse. It was Halston who changed American fashion by making it worthy of attention, also thanks to the commercial move that involved sales from dedicated boutiques to department stores. The series tells us and makes us meet an explosive personality in a New York full of life and glitz.
It was recently announced that Disney is making a 6-episode series on the fashion genius Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019, and it will debut on Disney+: titled “Kaiser Karl,” like the biography of the same name by Raphaëlle Bacqué, it will tell the stages of Lagerfeld’s life starting from his rise as successor to Madame Chanel in 1972, showing the working and private life of the great couturier.