Our favourite fashion documentary films

Our documentary Advanced Style – a film about vibrant fashionable over-60 ladies, gracing the streets of New York with their style, beauty and amazing life philosophies – is in cinemas on May 9th so the Dogwoof team have decided to share with you our favourite fashion and style documentaries.

Advanced Style examines the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging. Based on Ari Seth Cohen’s famed blog of the same name, this film paints intimate and colorful portraits of independent, stylish women aged 62 to 95 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty, aging, and Western’s culture’s increasing obsession with youth.

Advanced Style is set to premiere in the UK on May 6th at Curzon Mayfair in London, where Ari Seth Cohen, director Lina Plioplyte and some of the stylish women featured in the film will be present for a Q&A following the film. Advanced Style will be released in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on May 9th - find out more and book tickets now at advancedstylefilm.com

Here are our favourite fashion documentaries below to get you in the mood for the vivacious Advanced Style.

The September Issue (2009)

With unprecedented access, filmmaker R.J. Cutler chronicles the preparations of Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour for the magazine’s 2007 September issue. For the first time, Anna Wintour allows anyone to get a glimpse behind the glossy facade of her magazine. The documentary follows the journey of creating the titular issue, which became the biggest single issue in Vogue’s history, selling 13 million copies, and impacting the global fashion industry more than any other single publication.

Style Wars (1983)

Style Wars documents the New York street culture and subway graffiti art scene in the early 1980s. The film pays homage to the 80s golden age of youthful creativity that took the world by storm from a city in crisis. The Documentaries’ Grand Prize winner at Sundance ’83, Style Wars has become a symbol of the spirit of hip-hop and graffiti culture as it reached out across the world from underground tunnels and playgrounds.

Girl Model (2011)

Dogwoof’s own Girl Model documents the workings of the complex supply chain between Siberia, Japan, and the U.S. within the modelling industry. The film explores both the glamorous and the dark side of the modelling world by presenting the juxtaposing views of disillusioned model scout Ashley and of hopeful 13 year-old model Nadya.

Paris Is Burning (1990)

Filmed in the late 80s, Paris Is Burning explores the history behind the Harlem Balls – events organised by groups of New York minority drag queens, who create their own fashion competitions and invent the dance style of ‘voguing’ – imitating the fashion poses on the covers of Vogue magazine. The film is both humorous and occasionally tragic, both an embracing of and a rebellion against the world of high fashion, both an ironic revenge on straight culture and a celebration of lively characters refusing to be ignored by the world.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s (2013)

With Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, Matthew Miele introduces one razzmatazz of a documentary, which offers an insightful and stunning behind-the-scenes look at Manhattan’s legendary department store. Featuring candid and sometimes outrageous interviews with an array of fashion designers, style icons, and celebrities, including Ashley & Mary-Kate Olsen, Nicole Richie, Joan Rivers, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Candice Bergen, Vera Wang, Michael Kors, the film is a unique chance to discover more about the intriguing untold stories behind one of New York’s fashion hallmarks.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel is an intimate portrait and a glamorous celebration of one of the most influential women in fashion, an established icon who has had an enormous influence on the course of fashion, publishing and culture. The film journeys through Diana’s fifty year reign as the “Empress of Fashion,” focusing on various events from her career: from launching Twiggy to advising Jackie Kennedy, from being the fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar for 25 years to becoming editor-in-chief of Vogue, from establishing enduring fashion trends to popularising historical collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Unzipped (1995)

Douglas Keeve's documentary follows his then boyfriend – flamboyant fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, as he plans and stages his autumn ‘94 collection show. Providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the exciting and glamorous world of high fashion, the film features appearances by numerous supermodels and celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Faye Dunaway, and Liza Minnelli.

Bill Cunningham New York (2010)

Another Dogwoof film, Bill Cunningham New York is a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of the street-fashion and society chronicler for The New York Times – a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own unassuming grace. For decades, he has been inventively chronicling fashion trends and high society charity soirées for the Times Style section in his columns “On the Street” and “Evening Hours.” After 50 years snapping the stylish, Bill Cunningham stands in front of the lens in this loving and intimate portrait of a remarkable man and a chronicler of a city.

Grey Gardens (1975)

The Maysles brothers pay visits to an old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jackie Kennedy, who spend their eccentric lives in decrepit East Hampton mansion ‘Grey Gardens’. The film depicts the everyday lives of the two reclusive socialites, both named Edith Beale, or Big and Little Edie, who tell their own bizarre stories of living in the filthy, decaying mansion amidst the realities of their dwindling wealth and decreasing contact with the outside world.