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Here in Paris, fashion is king! Among the many industries that France has maintained and championed over the years, it's the fashion industry that the nation's capital is always associated with. It is, after all, the 'fashion capital of the world.' The home of haute couture, the city has given birth to the world's most beloved brands and most luxurious labels. And behind those big names are people whose stories continue to inspire to this very day. That's why they often make great premises for riveting films. Among the many movies and documentaries centered on French fashion designers, here are the must-watch ones!
Coco Avant Chanel (2009)
Before Chanel ever became the quintessential French designer brand, it all started with a young woman who came from the Aubazine commune in the Aquitaine region of France. Gabrielle Chanel was abandoned by her father in an orphanage run by nuns, who then taught her how to sew. After escaping her life in squalor at a young age, she worked as a seamstress by day and as a cabaret singer by night. It was at this time where she got her nickname, 'Coco,' and met Baron Étienne Balsan, a nobleman who helped Chanel reach the pinnacle of French high society. From that point on, her journey in fashion started, as well as her whirlwind romance with English aristocrat, Arthur 'Boy' Capel.
Source: Sony Pictures Classics YouTube Channel
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009)
What's fashion without a scandal? In the 2009 romantic drama film, 'Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky,' French actress Anna Mouglalis stars as the Coco Chanel opposite Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen who plays Igor Stravinsky, a Russian composer. Several years after Stavinsky's controversial yet groundbreaking ballet, 'The Rite of Spring,' premiered, the grand couturier invited the failed composer and his family to live in her villa in the French countryside. As the two artists struggle with their work, they begin a passionate love affair, one that Stravinsky's wife can't help but be aware of. Eventually, the two grow apart, with the designer introducing her now-iconic perfume, Chanel No. 5, and the composer reintroducing his controversial piece and earning massive success.
Source: UniFrance YouTube Channel
L'Amour Fou (2010)
Want another fashion film with a heated love story? The 2010 documentary, 'L'amour fou,' takes the cake! This time around, Yves Saint Laurent, who took the fashion world by storm in the mid-to-late 20th century, and his partner and patron, Pierre Bergé. Before Saint Laurent became the icon that he was and his brand became the French luxury label that is now, Bergé helped him behind the scenes. From the designer's time at the house of Dior to when they both launched YSL's eponymous couture house, Bergé was with him every step of the way. And while they amicably split up in 1976, he remained as the CEO of the label until it closed down in 2002.
Source: myFILM. gr YouTube Channel
Yves Saint Laurent (2014)
Even outside of his love affair with Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent's story was as tumultuous as ever! At the time he took the reins at Christian Dior at the tender age of 21, he went on to revolutionize French fashion. The 2014 biographical film, 'Yves Saint Laurent,' chronicles his story. French actor Pierre Niney stars as the late fashion designer, whose climb up to the top of the fashion industry was as dramatic as his designs on the runway. Featuring his highs and lows, the movie is a solid look at how success isn't as sweet as many think it to be.
Source: Movieclips Indie YouTube Channel
Dior and I (2014)
Here's another fashion documentary that might tickle your fashion fancy: the 2014 hit, 'Dior and I.' It chronicles the Belgian designer Raf Simons's debut in the haute couture house, and on haute couture in general. Simons, known for his street-savvy menswear and minimal designs in other brands like Jil Sander, shook the fashion industry to its core when he accepted the position of creative director at the house of Dior. Despite what seemed like the wrong fit on both sides, the documentary showed the designer's creative process and his dedication to continuing the brand's indelible legacy.
Source: Madman Films YouTube Channel
Behind some of the biggest brands in French fashion, there are stories of love, passion, scandal, and more. These films about some of the most iconic designers and their houses reflect a different side of fashion that's not often seen!