For those who work in it, fashion is very, very important — all eating disorders, catty emails, crying interns and 60 pages of ads before the content page. I would normally sneer at that kind of thing, but it maintains a certain seriousness in the face of triviality on a grand scale that I respect. As far as I’m concerned, it’s no less ludicrous than the way approach religion, but these houses of the holy contain more mystery. I’m also fascinated by it because I’m often in the no-man’s land of the non-fashion sporty or easy-to-wear side of things, which makes me an outsider. That means I have to imagine what goes on in the inner sanctums of the big houses. Being in the ASOS building frequently and dabbling in some Dazed & Confused writing I can’t help but become increasingly curious.
Until recently I never knew that there were degrees in fashion journalism. I assumed you did your work experience and withstood the withering glances and snide remarks until somebody paid you a tenner for 2,000 words one day. Incorrect. I’m just glad there’s a media-based degree that makes job hunting even more fiendish than my communications one did. But while the press release pasters get no respect, you’ve got to hand it to anybody who can bring something so visual and tactile to life in their prose — personally, I’d rather watch a documentary on the topic, but for those that do it well, there’s the Fashion Monitor Journalism Awards, with the main long and short lead journalism awards sponsored by Wave Gang favourite, True Religion. Isn’t that like Bernard Matthews sponsoring the Slimmer of the Year award?
While nothing touches the Men Without Hats meets Kanye power of Rusty’s outfit from the boutique scene in National Lampoon’s European Vacation, as far as real-world fashion documentaries go, YouTube is awash with uploads of them. Of course, those that stumble across this post in a few month’s time because I used a misleading keyword will find a load of pointless links to removed videos, but that’s just the way fashion goes, isn’t it? It’s fleeting like that. L’amour fou about Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge is there and well worth watching to see their homes and possessions, Valentino: the Last Emperor has the greatest pugs on a private jet scene ever and Wim Wenders’ Notebook On Cities and Clothes about Yohji Yamamoto is an excellent way to spend 77 minutes (click captions for subtitles) if you want to understand Yohji’s philosophies and how far ahead of everything he was in 1989 (remember when having a tiny television was the most aspirational thing ever?).
James Franco’s The Director — a documentary about House of Gucci creative director Frida Giannini — is an interesting prospect. Indiewire just upped the trailer. There’s a lot of interesting stories in Gucci’s history (Maurizio Gucci being killed by a hitman hired by his wife Patrizia “I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle” Reggiani would be a great documentary topic too), but Franco shifting from starring in a film with a Gucci Mane cameo to creating an exploration of what makes a Gucci lynchpin tick is an intriguing move too. Hopefully this one will join the ranks of the best studies of the big houses which, thankfully, don’t do the whole transparency too-much-information thing that’s expected of all businesses right now. Without mystique, my interest in this whole realm would be slaughtered on the spot.