Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood

2018 is turning out to be a bumper year for films and series with a sartorial slant, both factual and fictional. Here’s a roundup of the ones to look out for:

Documentaries

Chronicling the lives and careers of some of the fashion world’s brightest and most intriguing stars, and spanning different areas of the fashion business, each of these documentaries promises unique insight into a glitzy, crazy world with a captivating character at its centre. They’ve all released internationally but can be a little hard to track down in SA, where they often go straight to streaming services, so keep your eyes peeled.

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Controversy, innovation and now longevity define Vivienne Westwood, darling and former enfant terrible of the UK fashion scene. Eccentric and outspoken, she has pushed many a boundary, including arriving at Buckingham Palace to receive her Order of the British Empire without any underwear and protesting nude for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. This documentary promises insight into her life, and includes interviews with her friends, family and collaborators.

McQueen

The world was rocked by the suicide of the talented and mercurial Alexander McQueen in 2010. This is not the first film about him, but it is set to prove definitive over the feature films, which have focused on small portions of his life and work.

McQueen was hugely influential, wondrously original and ultimately tragic; a film of his life promises to be as mesmerising as one of his shows.

The Gospel According to André

We all know about glacial American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, but there are other enormously fascinating characters in the fashion fourth estate too. André Leon Talley is one, and he most certainly deserves his own doccie. Larger-than-life Talley’s career spans his involvement with artist Andy Warhol to the editor-at-large position at American Vogue.

The Times of Bill

More than 20 years ago director Mark Bozek interviewed legendary photographer Bill Cunningham and was immensely inspired by his passion and enthusiasm for fashion.

"Cunningham, who was the Nostradamus of fashion and society his entire adult life, absolutely saw how technology would change everything," he says of the man who pioneered the concept of street style.

Cunningham passed away in 2016 and his story has not been told on film before, so this is a fascinating one to watch.

Feature films

These big box office movies take sumptuous costume design to the next level.

Ocean’s 8

It may not sound like a fashion film, but this heist spin-off of the acclaimed Ocean’s 11 and 12 movies is set at New York’s Met Gala — the fashion world’s most important and outrageous yearly event. Its cast also includes some of the most stylish women in the world, such as Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Rihanna. The film is set for release in SA on June 22.

Phantom Thread

Master thespian Daniel Day-Lewis’s final onscreen outing before he retires, Phantom Thread is about an obsessive fashion designer whose intensity extends from his work to a young waitress, with whom he falls in love. It’s a beautiful portrayal of the world of London couture in the 1950s, deserving of the six Academy Award nominations it received this year, including, of course, best actor for Day-Lewis.

Phantom Thread has already shown on the local film circuit, so look out for it on TV and on-demand video services soon.

Series

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

If you missed this one on DStv earlier this year, it’s worth tracking down. Controversial and vociferously opposed by the Versace family, the series chronicles the events leading up to the fashion designer’s death outside his Miami mansion in 1997. It’s visually impressive and full of authentic fashion details.

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