Looking to escape your living room lockdown by gazing at beautiful dresses and appreciating elegant design? Missing popping out for some lunchtime window shopping? Dreaming of the opportunity to wear something more classy than trackies? We have you covered!
Our online resources contain a surprising amount of fashion related content, from movies, to the all important magazines, and a whole resource dedicated to the Vogue archive. You will never not know what a minaudiere is again.
Beamafilm, our online movie streaming platform, have a whole category dedicated to fashion films aptly titled Fabulous Fashion – so you can binge all of the movies. Below is a selection of my documentary picks about well-known designers.
Dior and I
Length: 90 minutes
Director: Frédéric Tcheng
Raf Simons is one of the most revered designers of the last few years. So much so that he will soon be joining Miuccia Prada at the helm of Prada – quite the honor! This fascinating documentary covers his career at Dior, and in particular, the creation of his first haute couture collection for the house. It is a real behind the scenes glimpse at both Raf and Dior, extremely chic and surprisingly emotional. You can read an interview with director Fredereic Tcheng (from Interview magazine) here.
Length: 111 minutes
Director: Ian Bonhote
McQueen follows the meteoric rise of Alexander McQueen as he was discovered and set up his own fashion label. He was an incredibly inspired designer and the film highlights how innovative and influential he was on the fashion world during the late nineties and oughties. It’s also a very moving film that looks a the challenges he faced professionally and personally and his eventual decline into depression. A good watch for some drama. Vogue UK comprehensively covered this documentary, the director’s and McQueen’s legacy: begin your reading here.
Length: 89 minutes
Director: Reiner Holzemer
I watched this film recently and it is pure escapism. Dries van Noten is a very elegant designer who creates beautiful, wearable – and covetable! – clothes. This documentary looks at his career trajectory and design processes, following the creation of a collection and the corresponding fashion show. We also see behind the scenes into his life, relationship and mind-blowing house. Worth it just for the glimpse into his garden – the kind of magical garden we only can only dream of, especially at the moment. (Here is a video interview with director Reiner Holzemer.)
Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist
Length: 80 minutes
Director: Lorna Tucker
Vivienne Westwood is a principled designer and activist whose message is more relevant than ever. Throughout her career she has always espoused consuming less, protecting the environment and engaging with society. This documentary takes us into her world, showing us what motivates her work. It is told mainly in her words, through interviews – somewhat painfully and grouchily drawn out of her. The movie also illustrates just how ground-breaking and iconic Westwood is in both her designs and lifestyle. Director Lorna Tucker calls Westwood her hero, read an interview with her here.
For further reading on any of these designers you could try our Vogue Archive online tool. It offers access to all the content from US Vogue, from 1892 to the present, both images and articles. You can search for a designer or brand (or any topic or keyword) and it will show you articles, editorials and fashion shoots, and even adverts. All high-resolution, downloadable, full-page, colour images. The ability to limit your search results to find exactly what you want is incredibly detailed – you can search for a year, a fabric, an illustration, a type of clothing or style. The perfect lockdown activity! (Click here for a Youtube tutorial to get you started.)
Who knows what changes will come to the fashion industry and magazine publishing post-Covid-19, so time for some reading now! The library has a huge range of fashion magazines available, in lots of different languages, through our online magazine platforms – RBdigital and Pressreader. My pick would be Vogue UK (pictured above and found in RBdigital) which is edited by Edward Enninful, who has created a magazine that addresses the challenges of inclusivity and sustainability. Also pictured are Vogue India and Vogue Russia which, along with Vogue US and Vogue Australia, can be found in RBdigital.
Did you know that magazines from RBdigital and Pressreader can be read for free, on your computer or in an app on your tablet or phone? You can download magazine issues to your device to read offline – and keep forever! – as well as set up alerts that let you know when the latest issues are available. You can find help getting started with these resources through our eLibrary here. The RBdigital and Pressreader apps are available to download for free from the Google Play or Apple stores.