Hey Film Fans! I’m usually to be found blogging about fashion and sport over at Diary of a Dashing Fashionista but to celebrate London Fashion Week I’m taking over Neels Reel Deal to share my favourite films featuring fashion, models, photographers and designers.
Director: Michaelangelo Antonioni
Starring : David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles
Fashion is really a side-note in this pseudo art-house film from the late sixties, in which Hemmings plays a photographer who may or may not have accidentally taken photos of a murder, but you can’t deny Blow-Up’s stylishness and it’s influence on cinema can be seen in films such as The Usual Suspects.
Director: Robert Altman
Starring: Sophia Loren, Julia Roberts, Kim Basinger, Stephen Rea, Rupert Everrett, Richard E. Grant, Forest Whitaker, Tim Robbins
Pret-A-Porter is a darkly sarcastic mockumentary about Paris Fashion Week from Robert Altman. The choppy narrative structure that Altman introduced in Nashville is employed to great effect in Pret-A-Porter, the overall effect is frenetic and slightly unhinged but perfectly sums up the chaos and mania of Fashion Week. The infamous final scene is a witty update on the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes and I can well imagine Designer Nude being touted as the next big thing, if only brands could work out a way to make us pay for it.
Director: Michael Christofer
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunnaway, Elizabeth Mitchell
HBO’s made-for-TV movie about the dramatic rise and fall of Gia Carnagi – the world’s first supermodel – starred a young Angelina Jolie and has since become notorious as “the one where Ange gets her kit off” (in fact several minutes of nude scenes were cut from certain editions of the DVD), but don’t let that convince you that Gia is just a TV movie for drooling fans. Jolie won a Golden Globe for her performance as the mercurial and self-destructive supermodel, you might notice elements of her performance that were developed for her Oscar-winning performance as sociopath Lisa in Girl, Interrupted.
Jolie is a charismatic performer and wonderful to watch, and Gia is an excellent portrayal of the way one troubled young woman was chewed up and spat out by the fashion industry.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Director: David Frankel
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, Emily Blunt
The hotly anticipated adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s novel of the same name, widely believed to be a fictionalised representation of Anna ‘Nuclear’ Wintour, here expertly played by Meryl Streep.
Anne Hathaway does an excellent job of turning Weisberger’s whingy intern into a likeable and realistic character, but the film really belongs to Meryl Streep who transforms Miranda from a rather one-dimensional icy boss from hell into a rounded and more human character.
Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci both put in very good supporting performances as Andy’s acidic fellow-assistant and the brilliant but careworn art director (the latter thankfully toned down the stereotypical screaming campness of Nigel in the novel).
In terms of style, this film is a fashionista’s dream come true and several of the sequences look like a catwalk show than a film.
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Director: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Marianne Faithful, Rip Torn
Sofia Coppola’s imagining of the early life of Marie Antoinette shows a teenager alone in a new country with a shy and disinterested husband and a fashionable court full of intrigue and scandal. She seeks distraction in the form of parties, flirtation and fashion – and what fashion! – the sumptuous costumes included shoes designed by Manolo Blahnik.
The September Issue (2009)
Director: R.J. Cutler
Referred to as ‘the real Devil Wears Prada’, The September Issue is a documentary about the production of the September issue of American Vogue, focusing on editor Anna Wintour and her professional relationship with creative director – and genius – Grace Coddington. Its chaotic and fast-paced but provides a really interesting look at how the most important issue of the world’s premier fashion magazine is produced, as well as insights into what it is like to be the most powerful person in a multi-billion dollar industry. This is one of the only “fashion films” that my boyfriend willingly watches and actually enjoys!
Coco Before Chanel (2009)
Director: Anne Fontaine
Starring: Audrey Tatou, Benoît Poelvoorde, Alessandro Nivola
The first of two films about Coco Chanel released in 2009 (the second was Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky) this focuses on Chanel’s early life – from a convent orphanage to Parisian high society via seedy cafés, nightclubs and dull seamstress work – and ends at what is really the starting point of her incredible success. It is an intriguing portrait of a woman who had (and still has) and enormous influence on fashion, wonderfully played by Audrey Tatou who has matured into a wonderful actor.
Fashionistas might first be disappointed at how scruffy Coco looks at times, but the metamorphosis from drab convent uniform to the stylish Chanel suits and pearls is a sight to behold.
Did you know that there are nearly 2000 calories in a large tub of cinema popcorn? That’s the same number calories as there are in four Big Macs! To save those calories for something more worthwhile (like burgers) here are my favourite healthy movie snacks.
Teapigs Popcorn Tea is a sweet green tea mixed with grains of toasted rice, it’s delicious (in fact it tastes a bit like liquid Sugar Puffs)
For a home movie night, this popcorn on the cob is MUCH more fun than the boring normal variety. I love that it comes in different colours too, the midnight blue and ruby red versions are great for Hallowe’en
Itsu Chocolate Rice Cakes
I have a minor obsession with Itsu’s chocolate covered rice cakes – particularly the dark chocolate variety which tastes amazing served with fresh strawberries.