Isabella Blow hanging out with Andy Warhol, the early days of Comme des Garçons – these are the fashion moments that deserve to be brought to the big screen
Fashion films are enjoying a successful run: Dior and I reduced audiences to tears with its candid access to Raf Simons’ first season for the fashion house, while last year we feasted on a stylish biopic on Yves Saint Laurent. Albert Maysles’ documentary on Dazed cover star and fashion doyenne Iris Apfel opens at theatres this month, and Martin Margiela just got the documentary treatment with a new film by YOOX. After Sony’s interest in a possible Grace Coddington doc was revealed last week, we got thinking – what fantasy fashion films do we wish would get made? From 90s model friendships to the industry’s unsung heroes, we consider ten silver screen scenarios.
Forget Thelma and Louise, Naomi and Kate is the film we’d like to see. Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss defined fashion and the modern day Supermodel during the 90s. They worked and partied together, and were a constant support to one another during grueling fashion seasons and the media circus that followed their every move throughout the decade. Christy Turlington also deserves a mention here – the three models dominated column inches, with their long legs, spaghetti straps and carefree air of mischief. The triple-decade friendship has survived marriage, scandal and multiple style transformations – an inspiring tale for BFFs everywhere.
THE ANTWERP SIX STAGE AN UPRISING
We would love to watch a film that traces the early life of the Antwerp Six – a group of classmates who changed the landscape of fashion when they packed their graduate collections in a truck in 1986 and headed to London to show at the London Fashion Week trade fair. The impressive alliance consisted of Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Marina Yee and Dirk Van Saene. While classmate Martin Margiela was not officially listed as one of the six, we have no doubt he would play a leading role with his deconstructed garments and elusive air of mystery.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian teenagers saw a world of possibility through the fashion and pop culture images that trickled in from overseas. The story of how Igor Shulinsky and Igor Grigoriev founded pioneering magazines Ptyuch and OM and ignited a generation’s love of style and subculture, would shatter Western perceptions about the shut-off ex-Soviet state. A tale of resistance and raves in Russia, the moral of this story would be that youthful rebellion can thrive even in the unlikeliest of places.
Before she married Rick Owens and became a formidable cult figure within the fashion industry, Michèle Lamy was a restaurateur, running insider hot spot Les Deux Café in LA. As a teenager, she attended law school and played a key role in the 1968 student riots in France, before abandoning her profession as a criminal lawyer to work as a cabaret singer and striptease, leading her to California. It wasn’t until her forties that she met Owens, through photographer Rick Castro. We would like to take a cinematic glance at Lamy’s early years – glamour, seduction, hard work and riveting style, against a backdrop of Los Angeles and Paris.
It was while studying Industrial Design and Furniture Design in the early 90s that Simons met Olivier Rizzo, Willy Vanderperre, David Vandewal and Veronique Branquinho. They would hang out together at café Witzli-Poetzli in Antwerp, comparing notes on fashion and inspiration. It makes for a cinematic image, and Simons has frequently referenced nostalgia and coming-of-age throughout his collections. Under the encouragement of Linda Loppa, Simons debuted his first show in 1995. There is very little public record of this presentation, and no photographs, but the story would come to life on the big screen – a tale of ambition, self-discovery and trailblazing threads.
Rei Kawakubo debuted her first runway show for Comme des Garçons in Paris in 1981 – a striking and rebellious line-up featuring distressed fabrics and avant-garde silhouettes, predominantly in black. Defying convention and fiercely exploring the boundaries of design, Kawakubo pioneered a new sartorial genre. We would love to be a fly on the wall for one of Kawakubo’s groundbreaking early collections, which even included a surprise runway appearance from Jean-Michel Basquiat for the Spring/Summer 1987 show. Kawakubo’s early collaborators could also offer a narrative - Steven Meisel, Hans Feurer and Peter Lindbergh.
Never mind X-Men, the film we would like to see is X-Girl – the name of Kim Gordon’s cult fashion line from the 90s. The Sonic Youth bassist founded the label in 1993 with stylist Daisy von Furth. Devotees included Chloë Sevigny and Katheleen Hanna, alongside collaborations with Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze, working out of Gordon’s Lafayette Street store in New York. A story that embodies all of our favourite 90s icons in a film loaded with nostalgia, grunge and riot grrl sass.
The story of Isabella Blow is one laced with love and sadness. The English editor and style maverick was instrumental in helping the careers of many key British talents throughout the 90s, including Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan and Philip Treacy. Many began their careers working from the basement of her Belgravia house and she is also credited for discovering models including Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl. Her stories are legendary, from the time Andy Warhol struck up conversation with her at a party because she was wearing mismatched shoes, to when she stripped off and swapped clothes with a model on a Eurostar while travelling with Alexander McQueen to Paris. Tragically Blow took her own life in 2007, but left behind an extraordinary legacy, and a well-worn archive of magnificent hats.
ANJELICA HUSTON: STYLE ICON
Following the release of two memoirs, it is perhaps only a matter of time before Anjelica Huston’s enthralling life story transcends to the silver screen. She grew up in Ireland and London amidst the famous and wayward characters of her family life – her father was the notorious film director John Huston, while her mother a celebrated beauty and former ballerina, who tragically died in a car accident when Anjelica was a child. She later moved to New York, where she fell in love with the brilliant but troubled Bob Richardson. A glamorous tale of famous names, parties at Studio 54 and decadent surroundings, but ultimately one of self-discovery and coming-of-age, this would make for a film as beguiling and dramatic as any role Huston has played herself.
When CSM’s MA course leader Louise Wilson passed away last year, the fashion world lost one of its most brilliant behind the scenes talents. Fearlessly opinionated, Wilson was the woman responsible for nurturing the work of Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha, Craig Green and more (and whose memory left the usually stony-faced Kanye West in tears on the radio earlier this year). Wilson’s colossal impact on fashion deserves to be explored on screen – what better way to pay tribute to the remarkable professor than through the testimonies of those who studied under her.