Angelina Jolie in Gia

The Devil Wears Prada is always worth a rewatch, but there’s no time like the present to dive into some of fashion filmography’s deeper cuts. Remember when Jean Paul Gaultier designed more than 1,000 costumes for a single film by Luc Besson? Or when Isaac Mizrahi pulled back the curtains to show us then everyday scenes like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss drinking early morning champagne backstage? The ‘90s was a particularly successful decade for capturing the industry’s absurdities, while the 2010s repeatedly proved that documentaries can be far from dry. Here are 11 of your best bets for some good ole distraction, from deep dives into the lives of Alexander McQueen and Bill Cunningham to decades-old satires that hold up all too well today.

Prêt-à-Porter

Seven years before Zoolander, there was Prêt-à-Porter—a sort of sophisticated precursor for those more acquainted with the wild ins and outs of the fashion industry. Technically, Robert Altman’s 1999 film stars Sophia Loren, Julia Roberts, and Kim Basinger, but it’s the real-life personalities on the scene—Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Sonia Rykiel, and Cher among them—who steal the spotlight. 

Where to stream: YouTube (rent for $3.99, buy for $4.99). 

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Dior and I

Gear up for Raf Simons’s debut as co-creative director of Prada in September with an intimate look at how he’s (tryingly) handled helming a major European maison in the past. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime

The Fifth Element

Take a trip to the 23rd century with Milla Jovovich, whose iconic ACE bandage outfit is just one of more than 1,000 costumes that Jean Paul Gaultier designed for the 1997 film by Luc Besson. 

Where to stream: Dailymotion.

Phantom Thread

A difficult couturier, a mercurial genius; nothing new, but in Phantom Thread, Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville make it all feel compelling regardless. (That it’s Day-Lewis’s acting swan song doesn’t hurt.) 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime and YouTube (rent for $3.99).

Party Girl

Technically, this 1995 film isn’t about fashion. But thanks to Parker Posey’s myriad trips to her local library and falafel stand, it’s a time capsule of ‘90s It girl fashion in downtown New York City. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime.

McQueen

McQueen, the 2018 documentary released eight years after the iconic designer death, is full of revelations, like the fact that he sewed secret messages like “fuck you, Romeo” into some of his earliest garments. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime.

Unzipped

Take yourself back to a time when emergencies consisted of less-than-positive reviews in WWD and an inability to find Linda Evangelista backstage. That’s not to criticize Isaac Mizrahi, a designer who’s written off far too easily these days. The doc Unzipped will make you realize just how much, with a little help from not only Mizrahi’s go-to supers like Evangelista, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Shalom Harlow, and Carla Bruni, but also front-row mainstays like Sandra Bernhard and Liza Minnelli. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime or YouTube (rent for $3.99).

Gia

Revisit Angelina Jolie’s breakout role in this 1998 biopic, which was written by Michael Cristofer and Jay McInerney. She won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the titular supermodel, as did Faye Dunaway, who plays Wilhelmina Cooper, the pioneering agent who discovered her. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime.

Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story

This 2017 documentary charts the rise of Kevyn Aucoin, from his humble beginnings in Louisiana to his heyday as one of the first makeup artists to achieve a level of celebrity status in their own right. “I was not going to go to any other person but Kevyn's chair. There was always a line, but I just was like, I'm not going anywhere else!,” Naomi Campbell—just one of countless supers, admirers, and former clients to make a cameo—says. 

Where to stream: Hulu.

Bill Cunningham New York

“We all get dressed for Bill,” Anna Wintour says in Bill Cunningham New York, the doc on the late street-style photography pioneer released in 2011, five years before his death at age 87. The Times of Bill Cunningham was released posthumously, and is a bit more enlightening, though it’s not yet available for streaming. (You can read about what he has to teach us from it here.) But both are worth watching—especially because the 2011 one features insight from Cunningham (complete with his signature blue parka and bicycle) himself. Also featured: Iris Apfel, Anna Piaggi, and Thelma Golden, plus a look a look at Cunningham’s teeny NYC apartment. 

Where to stream: Amazon Prime.

A Single Man

People were rightfully skeptical when Tom Ford—a designer who proves the maxim that “sex sells” if there ever was one—made his directorial debut with A Single Man in 2009. But Ford not only made a great film; he also made a rare one that successfully tackles topics like suicide. 

Where to stream: Netflix.

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