Glossary – Budgie Smuggler

Photo taken last month of an advertising campaign for the Sydney swimwear company. Photo courtesy of Susan Walford

Originally an Australian slang term for a pair of tightly-fitted briefly-cut Speedo-style men’s swimwear that highlight the male bulge – likening it to what a smuggled budgie might look like. The term appeared shortly after the turn of the millennium – the earliest references in print appear c. 2003.

The term became popular when Tony Abbot, Australian PM (2013 – 2015), was photographed wearing a pair. It was around this time that Adam Linforth founded his Sydney-based swimwear company Budgy Smuggler.  The term Budgie Smuggler was inducted into the Oxford dictionary in 2016.

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Buy From Jews!

I have known Vancouver collector Claus Jahnke for 35 years now – from right around the time he first started collecting German and Austrian clothing. I can proudly say I have had a leading role in finding many of his best pieces and now Claus is loaning some of his rarest treasures for an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Vienna called “Buy From Jews! Story of a Viennese store culture”.

The media release that outlines the purpose of the exhibition sums up the theme with some interesting information:

Handwoven coat by Maison Zwieback, Vienna, Austria, 1920s, from the collection of Claus Jahnke

The emergence of department stores in Vienna was a part of a pan-European development of the 19th century. Today, the fact that many of the founders came from Jewish families is just as little known as the former existence of the garment district in Vienna’s first district. Prominent houses such as Gerngross, Zwieback, Neumann, Jacob Rothberger, Braun & Co., Goldman & Salatsch, Jungmann & Neffe and Knize characterized Vienna’s fashionable shopping miles on Kärntner Strasse and Mariahilfer Strasse. But the exhibition also brings the so-called suburban department stores Dichter and Wodicka back into the city’s memory. With their businesses, these families made an essential contribution to Viennese urban development and influenced the economic, topographic, social and cultural cityscape to the present day.

Through the caesura of the Shoah (holocaust), this shop culture shaped by Viennese Jewish women and men disappeared almost completely. The success stories of exiles can be traced abroad— such as that of the costume designer and graphic artist Ernst Deutsch-Dryden or the architect, urban planner and inventor of the shopping mall, Victor Gruen. Many companies, however, could no longer build upon the successes of the time before 1938. In any case, most of them decided not to return to Vienna after 1945. In Vienna’s urban and commercial landscape only the names of some successor companies and, in rare cases, parts of the building stock recall the major department stores, as well as the numerous retail stores operated by Jewish women and men.

Contrasted to this “vanishing” is the development of the garment district after 1945. Attributable to migration and immigration, individual stories of enterprises like Schöps, the Tuchhaus Silesia, Wachtel & Co., Haritex, Zalcotex and many others, which also bear witness to the rebuilding of the Vienna Jewish community after 1945, let themselves be told here…

“Buy From Jews! Story of a Viennese store culture” opened May 17 and will run to November 19, 2017 at the Jewish Museum Vienna, Dorotheergasse 11, 1010 Vienna. The museum is open daily but for Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information: http://www.jmw.at/en/exhibitions/buy-jews-story-viennese-store-culture

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Canadian Fashion Connection – Marie Saint Pierre

This past week saw two historical milestones happen in Quebec. The first was Montreal’s 375th birthday, and the second was the induction of Montreal fashion designer Marie Saint Pierre into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Marie Saint Pierre graduated LaSalle College in 1987 and created her first ready-to-wear collection the following year. In 1991, she opened her first boutique and by 1993, when she received the Griffe D’or Award for best fashion collection in Quebec, her clothes were already being carried by leading Parisian boutiques. In 1998 Marie opened her first stand-alone boutique in Toronto.

In 2003 Marie Saint Pierre launched an accessories line, in 2005 a line of furs, in 2009 a wedding collection, her fragrance Faux de Parfum followed in 2010, and in 2014 she ventured into a range of home accessories. Saint Pierre has received numerous awards and accolades over the years including an Order of Canada in 2012, and this year she was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Saint Pierre is the first fashion designer to ever receive this honour – an action that opens doors for fashion to be respected as a true art form in Canada.

For more info: www.mariesaintpierre.com

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Fashion Hall of Obscurity – Chuck Howard

Design for Townley, 1966

Chuck Howard, was one of those designers of the postwar era that gave American fashions a distinctly American look. Born in Cochrane, Georgia in 1927, Howard was stationed in Hawaii as a tail gunner in World War II. Courtesy of the G.I. Bill, Howard studied dress design in Paris after the war and then settled in New York.

Vogue pattern, c. 1970

He first worked as a photographer’s model before working as a sketcher for New York designers including: David Crystal, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, and Richard Cole. After becoming the designer for Townley in the mid 1960s he began designing under his own name as well as creating a pattern line for Vogue until 1974 when he closed his own company and returned to Anne Klein to design their Studio Line.

In the late 1970s, he left the fashion world to open a restaurant in the theatre district with his partner Edward Vaughan. When they closed the restaurant in the early 1980s they moved to Saba in the Dutch Antilles. Howard died in 2002.

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Fashioning Canada Since 1867 article

The latest article about Fashioning Canada Since 1867:

150 years of Canadian fashions – Bill Doucet | Cambridge Times

While Canada’s contribution to fashion may be somewhat underappreciated, there are garments that are internationally known.

Take for instance a Russian group that came to the Fashion History Museum in Hespeler to see the newest exhibition, Fashioning Canada Since 1867, which runs until Dec. 17 to coincide with the country’s 150th birthday.

As museum curator Jonathan Walford tells it, the visitors spoke very little English, but as they were mulling over the works of Canadian designers and some of the more well known apparel, they caught sight of something very Canadian — the tartan jacket. They pointed to the jacket and, with a thick Russian accent, said, “Don Cherry”.

Though the co-host of CBC’s Coach’s Corner is known for his fashion choices, the fact people who likely live outside the country know the tartan coat speaks volumes about Canada’s fashion reach, said Walford.

So much so, the exhibit has been divided into four sections to give the historical significance its due. The first being some of Canada’s most notable homegrown contributions. Along with the tartan coat is native wear, apparel from the Rio Olympics and two of the country’s greatest fashion exports, the Canada Goose jacket and Cowichan sweater.

The Cowichan sweater, though most people aren’t familiar with the proper name, came about in dialogue between the Salish natives in Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island and early European settlers, who taught the natives to knit. The sweaters have become cold weather fashion in Europe and the U.S. It also became part of Jeff Bridges “The Dude” character in The Big Lebowski.

Walford noted the common theme through many of the recognizable garments. “They’re almost all winter,” he said with a laugh, “and almost all them have some connection to native culture as well because Canada did rely so much on native experience to learn how to dress in the climate. “We wanted to try and define what was a Canadian identity through dress, that was one big part of the exhibition.”

One of the items in the exhibition is also a misnomer. The Canadian tuxedo — a denim jacket with denim pants — was not in fact Canadian, but pegged that way after a fishing trip to the country by Bing Crosby in 1951.

The movie star was wearing the outfit when he tried to get a reservation at a hotel and was denied access because of his wardrobe. That, of course, made the news. A few months later, Crosby was at a rodeo in Nevada and was presented with a denim tuxedo with a patch inside. Walford recited the patch basically said, “notice to hoteliers everywhere, if you’re wearing this jacket you are dressed appropriate for any occasion and hotel as well.” From that point, it was known as the Canadian tuxedo.

The exhibition moves on to fashion and the development of the industry in Canada, which sees more formal wear come into play. The Canadian industry emerged after the Second World War and evolved until it hit a boom in the late 1960s.

“That kind of development of the Canadian version of fashion, which really was pretty much a reflection of what was going on everywhere else. The same thing happened in the United States as well. They’re essentially making a local version of what is high fashion in Paris or London,” Walford said.

Of course, the section carries the famous chapeau — a grey fedora with a silk band around the top — that coined a famous hockey phrase. When Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex Kaleta came to Toronto in 1946 for a game against the Maple Leafs, he went into a local haberdashery owned by Sammy Taft.

Kaleta eyed the hat but didn’t have enough money for it as he had just returned from serving in the war. Taft cut him a deal: if he could score three goals that night he could have the hat for free. Kaleta potted four in a 6-5 loss, but got the free “hat” for his “trick”.

A look at Canada’s fashion would be remiss without mentioning some of the designers themselves and their work, which is also on display — Wayne Clark, Marilyn Brooks, Brian Bailey and Christopher Bates.

Clark and Brooks, veterans of the industry, enjoyed their success in Canada until the abolishment of tariffs on global trade in the 1990s practically forced them to work overseas. “We’re in direct competition with Asia and other parts of the world where labour is so much cheaper that things are no longer made in Canada,” Walford said. “So there really isn’t much of a Canadian fashion industry anymore, but there still is a Canadian pool of talent. So a lot of Canadian designers go abroad and you end up with some really well-known Canadians working out of London and Milan and New York.”

The final part of the exhibition looks at the top 10 contributions Canada has made to fashion, which includes the protective cup jockstrap, the hockey mask, MAC Cosmetics, Elizabeth Arden (born in Canada), false eyelashes, the invention of Botox and supermodel Linda Evangelista, from St. Catharines.

One of the crazier items invented by a Canadian, who had the patent taken by his boss, never earned a penny for the creator. While working at a wire company in the U.S. — which manufactured lampshades and the like — Albert J. Parkhouse didn’t have a hook to hang his coat in the company coatroom. He grabbed a piece of wire and bent in two places and made a hook at the top for the first wire coat hanger.

That tidbit is only surpassed by the finale to the exhibition — a tea gown created by Lady Duff Gordon, who designed under her professional name, Lucile. She and her husband survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 in one of the emptiest lifeboats. His reputation was destroyed as people believe he paid off the sailors not to go back and pick up survivors in the water. Her reputation soared, however, as everyone wanted a dress from a survivor.

So far, the exhibition has received a lot of attention, though Walford admits he was initially hesitant about the theme he picked. “I was a little bit nervous when I was putting this together because I thought is there going to be interest for this out there. Then, after I did more research and more writing I thought, yeah, it will because it really is about us as a nation,” he said.

“I think what people are surprised at is how interesting the show is. A lot of people don’t really know what Canadian clothing is and what Canadian fashion is, you don’t really have an image in your mind until you come into the exhibition and you look and go, ‘OK, I get that’. Just because it’s familiar, you may not see it because you have to step back from it.”

He added what makes Canadian fashion so intriguing is that it is always renewing itself. “With every immigration wave there’s another element brought into Canada and it eventually worms its way into the entire fabric of the nation,” Walford said. “You do find little bits of it here and there.”

“We’re changing and constantly growing; it’s not stagnant. We don’t have a traditional costume like a European country with something that was invented 200 years ago. Our costume is still happening, it’s still developing and changing.”

The cost of the entry into the fashion museum for Fashioning Canada Since 1867 is $5, while children age 12 and younger are free. Beginning June 9, and running throughout the summer, admission is free on Fridays between 5 and 7 p.m. to coincide with Hespeler Village Market.

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Glossary – Holoku, Muumu, Wrapper, Mother Hubbard

The holoku, as it is known in Hawaii (and its shorter version, the muumuu – which means ‘cut off’), is also known as an ahu tua (empire dress) or ahu mama (granny dress) in Tahiti. Other variations in name exist around the South Pacific that all refer to these colourfully printed cotton dresses originally made as wrappers (aka Mother Hubbards) in the late 19th century. Originally designed for use as house dresses and maternity wear, these were intended to be worn with a belt (often in the same material) that could be adjusted during the pregnancy. South Pacific natives, who were given the dresses by missionaries to cover their nakedness, didn’t wear the belts and set in motion a regional style of dress that became a traditional clothing style for most of the South Pacific. Since the 1930s holokus and muumus have been made up from brightly coloured tropical floral prints that were printed in Japan before World War II, and in the U.S. since.

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1956 mall footage

Fascinating footage from 1956 of Southdale Minnesota’s Richfield Edina Shopping Mall. They claim to be the first enclosed mall in the world.

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Fashion Hall of Obscurity – Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes

Born June 28, 1905 Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes grew up in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and learned how to design and sew at her uncle’s tailoring shop in White Plains, New York.

In 1948 she opened her own boutique called ‘Chez Zelda’ at Broadway and West 158th street in New York where she made clothes for stars including: Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jessye Norman. By the late 1950s she had moved her shop to midtown at 57th street.

Her most famous commission came in 1959 when she was hired to design the bunny costume for the first Playboy club, which opened in Chicago on February 29, 1960.

In 1970 she was asked to design costumes for the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She continued to design dance costumes for them until her death in September, 2001, 12 years after closing her regular business.

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Best Fashion Film Documentaries

Like the fashion films, I am marking the ones I think are must-sees with three stars, okay docs with 2 stars, and avoid at all costs with 1 star. Anything without stars I have not seen:

Advanced Style (2014) **

The lives of 7 older New Yorkers whose eclectic style has blossomed as they age. Interesting but not sure what the point is.

American Masters: Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light (1985)**

Richard Avedon’s work as a fashion photographer is presented in this American Masters television episode

Arkadius: Wild Orchid Dreams (2000)

A boy who grew up in communist Poland with dreams of becoming a fashion designer

Assassinat d’une Modiste (2006)***

Poignant doc about a Parisian Jewish milliner during WWII. Only two of her hat designs are known to exist.

Beautopia (1998)

Follow four up and coming models…

Bill Cunningham New York (2010)***

Profile of the late New York ‘On The Street’ fashion photographer. Endearing portrait of a gentle soul with a passion for fashion.

Blue Gold: American Jeans (2014)

The history and lore of America’s most iconic symbol

Catwalk (1995)

A camera follows Christy Turlington through the spring fashion shows of Milan, Paris, and New York in 1994.

Celebration (2007)

Behind the scenes at Yves St. Laurent’s last fashion show.

Crazy About Tiffany’s (2016)

The complete past to present history of Tiffany & Company.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)***

Profile of the life and work of the famous fashion editor. It seems she wasn’t a very nice woman, but she sure had a lot of style!

Dior and I (2014)***

Follow Raf Simons as he takes on the House of Dior. Fascinating process, especially when I thought it was pretty obvious that Raf was not the right choice for the job – his viewpoint is too far removed from Dior’s. Turns out I was right because he left after a couple of seasons..

The Director: An Evolution in Three Acts (2013)

A look at the life and work of Gucci fashion designer Frida Giannini

Eleven Minutes (2008)**

Follow the work of Project Runway’s Jay McCarroll in the year following his reality show win. Interesting but it gets tiresome…

Fashion Phoenix (2010)**

Profile of Canadian designer Todd Lynn’s work in London. To be perfectly honest I had never heard of him until I saw this – he designed a lot of the clothes for off beat musicions, like Marilyn Manson.

The First Monday in May (2016)***

Follow the creation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history – ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’. Fascinating expose of what happens behind the scene.

Franca: Chaos and Creation (2016)

Intimate portrait of the legendary editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue

In Their Shoes (2015)

An intimate portrait of the Indian shoe business

In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye (2012)

Looking at some of the most influential fashion images from the pages of Vogue

Iris (2014)**

The style of New Yorker Iris Apfel. I found this interesting but it doesn’t have much to say – just lots of kooky outfits.

Je m’appelle Denis Gagnon (2010)

Follow Canadian fashion designer Denis Gagnon as he puts the final touches on his latest collection

Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer (2015)**

The story of Jeremy Scott, from small town Missouri kid to creative director for Moschino. Predictable and goes off topic a couple of times, but still interesting.

Just for Kicks (2005)

Sneaker culture

L’amour fou (2010)

The dysfunctional and successful relationship between Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Berge.

Lagerfeld Confidential (2007)*

A portrait of Karl Lagerfeld. OH MY GOD this is BORING.

Les Falbalas de Jean-Paul Gaultier (2004)

Portrait of Jean-Paul Gaultier

Mademoiselle C (2013)

Follow former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld as she moves to New York to launch her own magazine.

A Man’s Story (2010)

A portrait of London designer Ozwald Boateng

Material Success (2012)

Follow fashion designer Bruno Ierullo as he prepares for his first runway show

McQueen and I (2011)

Profile of the late Alexander McQueen, released shortly after his death.

Men of the Cloth (2013)

Examining the work and lives of three Italian master tailors

Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy (2011)

Interview and portrait of Givenchy as he reflects on his own work in the 1950s and 1960s and laments the loss of style.

Notebook on Cities and Cities (1989)*

Wim Wenders talks with Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto about the creative process and ponders the relationship between cities and clothes. Pretentious prattle and really bad sound quality.

Picture Me: A Model’s Diary (2009)

A look at the inner world of modelling

Portfolio (1983)**

Top models in a docu-drama that follows one model to various jobs. I could have done without the voice-over that tries to tell a story along the way.

The September Issue (2009)***

Chronicling the creation of 2007’s September Vogue issue – the largest ever printed at the time. Interesting expose of the process.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s (2013)***

The Manhattan department store’s history, overall really interesting with a couple of slow parts.

Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags (2009)**

The past and present of New York’s garment district. A bit dry…

Threads of Time (2015)  (no image available)

Portrait of fashion photographer Neal Barr and his 1920s fashion book. Really looking forward to seeing this when it comes out.

Triangle: Remembering the Fire (2011)**

The history and fallout of the March 25, 1911 catastrophic fire that killed 146 young women in a garment factory in New York

The True Cost (2015)

The impact of fashion on people and the planet

Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston (2010)

An exploration of the work and life of Roy Halston.

Unzipped (1995)**

Follow Isaac Mizrahi as he creates his Fall 1994 collection. Enjoyable to watch

Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008)***

A look at the life of legendary fashion designer Valentino. Extremely well done doc that covers his personal as well as professional life.

Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution (2012)***

The 1973 fashion show held at Versailles that made the U.S. a world player in fashion. Fascinating and surprising!

Vidal Sassoon: The Movie (2010)**

History and life of the world’s most famous hair stylist. A bit long, but interesting

White Gold: The True Cost of Cotton (2011)                          (no image available)

The true story and cost of the cotton industry

Women He’s Undressed (2015)**

The life and work of Australian costume designer Orry-Kelly. There are some mistakes in the history…

The World’s Most Fashionable Prison (2012) 

A fashion designer teaches his trade to inmates at a maximum security prison in the Philippines

Yves St. Laurent Life and Times & 5 Avenue Marceau (2002)

Two docs done at the time of YSL’s retirement honouring his life’s work.

Posted in Designers/Couturiers, Fashion, film costuming | 2 Comments

The Best Fashion Films

Three years ago I blogged a list of fashion-themed films but I have since found more. This time I also rated them: 3 stars for ‘must-see’, 2 stars for ‘okay’, 1 star for ‘don’t bother’. Those without stars are on my ‘to-see’ list or it has been so long since I have seen it I can’t remember it anymore. I am including theatre and television films as well as television series, but documentaries will be done separately:

101 Dalmatians (animated 1961) (live action (1996)**

Although these films are about dognapping, the catalyst is Cruella’s desire for a coat made from the puppy skins. Both versions are entertaining.

After the Ball (2015)**

Cute retelling of the Cinderella story set in Montreal’s dwindling fashion industry. There are some funny lines and scenes and some great characters but the production suffers from poor directing/editing that bring it down.

Beau Brummell: This Charming Man (2006)*

Mediocre quality television movie about the biggest dandy of all time.

Beauty Shop (2005)**

Gossip and make-up are the setting for this comedy.

The Big Tease (1999)**

Comedy about a BIG hair competition done like a documentary.

Blow Dry (2001)**

A more serious version of the Big Tease about the world of competitive hair dressing.

Blow-Up (1966)***

A mod fashion photographer in London accidentally witnesses a murder. The fashion photography scenes are great.

Boss Girl – (AKA Crimes of Fashion) (2004)

…a comedy about an aspiring fashion designer who inherits her grandfather’s mob syndicate… not sure I will see this — ever.

By Design (1981)

I saw this Canadian movie decades ago but can’t remember a thing about it other than Patty Duke was in it so I am going to have to put this into ‘unwatched’.

The Cobbler (2014)**

This didn’t do well at the box office but I thought it was funny. The story of a cobbler and his boring life until he discovers a secret about an old sewing machine in the basement that gives him a new lease on life.

Coco avant Chanel (2009)**

Glib overview of the highlights of Chanel’s early career. Full of historical errors but lovely to look at. This is the best of all the Chanel biopics.

Coco Chanel (2008)*

A  heavily edited Chanel biopic with an uninspired performance by Shirley MacLaine… give it a miss.

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009)*

Tepid tale of Chanel and a possible love affair she had with Igor Stravinsky. The best scene is a recreation of Paris’ reaction to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring ballet debut, the rest of the film is mind-numbingly boring.

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)

… Haven’t seen it yet even though I own the video!…

Le couturier de ces dames (the ladies’ dressmaker) (1956)

…A French version of Roberta (1935), about a man who inherits a salon and makes a go of it, while falling in love…

Cowboys & Angels (2003)**

Young roommates in London one of which is a fashion student dealing with the world of clubs and drugs. Actually a very good movie.

Cover Girl (1944)

…A girl wins a contest and becomes a celebrated cover girl model…

Cover Girl Models (1975)

…Three American models inadvertently become involved in international espionage…

Designing Woman (1957)*

Despite the premise of Lauren Bacall playing a fashion designer, there is virtually no fashion storyline or scenes in this film.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)***

A young assistant succeeds at a high-powered fashion magazine but loses her identity along the way. Great clothes and fashion theme.

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991)*

I almost put this into ‘okay’ but it is such an Implausible story. A mom goes out of town for the summer and leaves her children under the charge of an ancient babysitter who promptly dies. The oldest girl lies her way into a gig at a clothing manufacturer and a BIG fashion show saves the day…

The Dressmaker (2015)**

Approach this tragic comedy with caution because I didn’t love it. From a fashion perspective, the main character was supposed to have apprenticed with Vionnet and Balenciaga, but her clothes are more typical of Balmain and Fath, and in the close-up scenes it’s clear she hasn’t the faintest idea how to sew.

Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)**

Fashion, murder, and psychic visions. Great Helmut Newton style fashion shoots.

Falbalas  (1945)***

Great film that takes place primarily in a Paris fashion house immediately after the occupation in 1944/45. The story isn’t that mesmerizing but the scenes in the fashion house are fascinating.

Fashion (2008)

…Bollywood fashion musical…

Fashions of 1934 (1934)**

Bette Davis in a comedy about pilfering Parisian fashion designs for knocking off American copies.

Fashion Victim (2008)

…”He’s Pretty, He’s Wanted, He’s Deadly”…

Fashion Victims (2007)

… German comedy about a young fashion designer, rivals, coming out, and family issues…

Fausto (aka A La Mode) (1993)**

French tale of a young apprentice who becomes a sensational new designer and finds love along the way

Funny Face (1957)***

An unwilling bookish girl becomes a big fashion model in Paris and falls in love with her photographer. Fashions by Givenchy.

Gia (1998)**

Better than average television movie based on the model Gia’s rise and fall.

Girlboss (2017)*

The vintage fashion business exploded in the early 21st century due to people like Sophia Amaruso, the real woman behind this fictionalized Netflix series. Unfortunately, this badly written/acted story tries to make a badass heroin out of the very unlikeable Sophia, who in reality was kicked off eBay for bid shilling, and other offences.

Glyanets (2007)

…Russian film about a girl from a coal-mining town that goes to Moscow with dreams of becoming a super model…

Head Over Heels (2001)*

5 models sharing a flat and diamond smugglers… pretty lame movie I originally saw in a drive-in double bill!

Hobson’s Choice (1954)***

Set in the 1880s, a shoemaker with a weakness for drink gets straightened out by his head strong daughter. This is a delightful black and white English comedy. The shoemaking subplot is interesting for its period information.

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)***

Three women share an upper east side New York apartment while working as models and looking for rich husbands. The fashion storyline is not prominent but there is a great fashion show scene.

I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1951)

…A ruthless fashion designer steps on everyone on her way to the top…

Identity Crisis (1989)

…a rapper finds himself possessed by the soul of a dead fashion designer – I  don’t expect I will ever see this one…

If the Shoe Fits (1990)*

Yet Another take on the Cinderella story… I barely remember seeing it, but I remember thinking it was pretty lame.

It Started in Paradise (1952)

…’All About Eve ‘ set in the world of fashion…

De jurk (the dress) (1996)

…Dutch film about the history of a dress (sort of like the red violin…) Great concept, looking forward to seeing it some day…

Kicks (2016)

…A 15-year-old gets his sneakers stolen and goes looking for them…

Kinky Boots (2005)***

A failing shoe company hires a drag queen to create a new product line to save their business.

Kurragomma 1963)

..Swedish film about a convict who assumes the identity of a professor to reveal a criminal syndicate who smuggles diamonds hidden in Parisian clothing…

Lovely to Look At (1952)**

Predictable tale borrowed from Roberta (1935) with a fabulous finale fashion show by Adrian.

Macho (2016)*

Borderline offensive Spanish comedy about a straight fashion designer who pretends to be flamboyantly gay, or is he pretending…

Made in Paris (1966)**

Ann Margaret stars in this film about a fashion buyer’s first trip to Paris, but the movie has little to do with fashion, although there are some interesting scenes.

Mahogany (1975)**

A Chicago designer tries to become internationally famous. Some great clothes, but the fashion storyline is just a vehicle for a love story.

The Man in the White Suit (1951)***

Great black and white British comedy about how the textile industry doesn’t want a new fabric developed by a chemist who discovers an indestructible, non-stainable fibre that may revolutionize the world.

Mango Souffle (2002)

…Indian film about a gay fashion designer and his friends. I did see this but can’t remember it at all, so I have to put it into the unseen category…

Mannequin (1987)*

Guy falls in love with a girl, but it turns out she’s a mannequin. Total crap film but so bad it has a certain period charm. Believe it or not, there is also a Mannequin 2 movie which I am not including because it’s about a wax mannequin in a museum not a fashion dummy.

Maytime in Mayfair (1949)**

Same storyline as Roberta and Lovely to Look at. Entertaining bit of fluff about a man who inherits a fashion salon and makes a go of it, and falls in love along the way.

Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris (1992)***

Charming tale of a char woman who saves up for years to buy a Dior couture dress.

Neptune’s Daughter (1949)**

A swimwear designer protects her sister from a cad. This is one of those classic Esther Williams films with synchronized swimming. Entertaining but not really a ‘fashion’ story.

A New Kind of Love (1963)**

A fashion designer is mistaken for a Parisian call girl. Some good scenes including a St. Catharine’s Day parade for Parisian spinster midinettes, but overall — meh.

The Pajama Game (1957)*

Fun musical with Doris Day, but don’t expect the pajama factory setting to have much importance in the storyline – it could have been set in any factory where female workers get together during breaks and sing…

Personal Shopper (2016)

…A personal shopper in Paris is in search of her twin bother…

Phantom Lady (1944)

…A woman must be found to prove a man’s innocence and the only clue is that she wore a very specific looking hat…

The Pink Jungle (1968)*

Silly comedy about a fashion shoot gone wrong that relies on sight gags of men wearing lipstick for the biggest laughs. James Garner apparently hated making this film from start to finish… I can see why

Prét-a-Porter: Ready to Wear (1994)***

Comedy about what goes on behind the scenes amongst the  journalists, editors, designers, and models at the 1994 Paris ready to wear shows.

Pretty in Pink (1986)*

Not a fashion movie, but the title alludes to a certain pink dress that has an important role in the film.

Rage (2009)*

An odd film about various characters at a New York fashion show plagued by misfortune. The entire film is done as a series of interviews by a blogger. Clever method of filming but I can’t say I enjoyed watching it much.

Ripple Effect (2007)

…Fashion designer on the verge of success undergoes personal crises…

Roberta (1935)**

The original version of many remakes about a man inheriting a fashion salon and making a go of it, while falling in love. All of them are predictable and end with a big fashion show…

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)**

A high school reunion doesn’t go as planned but results with Romy and Michele starting a fashion business

Ruthless People (1986)**

A comedy with Bette Midler about a kidnapping precipitated by a pissed off designer whose idea for the lycra miniskirt was stolen.

Saint Laurent (2014)***

The film is badly edited, not always good at introducing characters, and uses a gratuitous nude scene to unnecessarily expose the considerable asset of the lead actor. Despite this, the film is good because of the acting, art direction, cinematography, location shots, costuming, and soundtrack.

Scruples (1980)*

Painfully dated mini-series filmed in 1979 about the owner of a high-fashion store in Rodeo drive. Although the main characters are often dressed well (this is really the only reason to watch this), the story has nothing to do with the fashion industry.

Slaves of New York (1989)***

Off-beat fashions, art, and life in the Village – great Stephen Sprouse fashion show.

Tales of Manhattan (1942)**

The tale of a tailcoat as it gets passed from owner to owner, affecting each wearer in a different way.

Threads (aka Garmento) (2002)

…Expose of the other side of the fashion industry…

The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal (1979)**

A dramatised version about Triangle Shirt Mfg. Co., fire in New York in 1911 that resulted in the deaths of 146 young women who had been locked into the workroom. The event lead to changes in work safety and a rise in union labour organizing.

Underwear (aka Atelier) (2015)***

Charming Japanese TV mini-series about a young, ambitious assistant working in a couture lingerie business in Tokyo. Similar storyline to The Devil Wears Prada, except that the boss isn’t  a monster… At times, the writing is overly detailed with characters explaining the obvious, but at other times has very salient insights into how the fashion industry works.

Vogues of 1938 (1937)***

A runaway bride becomes a fashion model – the fashion show finale is spectacular.

We’ll Take Manhattan (2012)

…A look at the love affair between model Jean Shrimpton and photographer David Bailey in the 1960s…

Where the Heart Is (1990)**

Wealthy parents force their spoiled, artistic daughters to fend for themselves but then the tables turn when their parents lose their fortune. Crispin Glover plays a young fashion designer who creates a fashion finale.

Who Are You, Polly Magoo? (1966)***

A must-see parody of the Paris fashion industry

The Women (1939)***

Don’t bother with the horrible 2008 remake, the 1939 original is the only version worth seeing for its bitchy banter and fabulous all-colour fashion show.

Women Must Dress (1935)

…a woman discovers she has a talent for fashion designing after her husband runs off with another woman…

Yves Saint Laurent (2014)**

Interesting film with great original clothes from the YSL archives. The story is a bit trite and ponderous about YSL and Berge’s life together, primarily set between 1958 and 1976, and there are some inaccuracies with the history, but it’s worth watching for the clothes.

Zoolander (2001)***

Funny film about the absurdities of the modelling world. Zoolander 2 (2016)** isn’t as funny as Zoolander 1, but there are still some very sharp bits aimed at the fashion industry.

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