Dry Clean Only: Fashion movie recommendations for the fashion fiend’s soul

(Demetrius Freeman/HERALD)

Kae Holloway

One of the best, most blissful parts of summer is getting to spend your rainy days in bed, curled up with either a good book, a few good movies or, like last weekend, 13 new episodes of “Orange is the New Black.”

Those hours you spent debating on whether class was really that crucial or not have turned into hours spent debating whether or not moving from the couch is really that crucial. And if it’s a gloomy, rainy day like both of my days off were, you’re probably going to decide it’s not. 

This list, inspired by BuzzFeed and fashion throughout the decades, is for those days. Those days when you’ve decided your pajamas are as glamorous as you’re going to get, but still need to feed the fashion fiend in your soul. Oh, and for the days when you’ve already marathoned 13 episodes of “OITNB” in a blaze of sleep-deprived glory.

These fashionable movies could make you laugh, could make you cry and will make you want to reach for your laptop and do some online shopping. 

1. Every Audrey Hepburn movie ever. Period.

You might as well spend a whole day just watching all 31 movies Hepburn made in her lifetime. Every movie I’ve seen, from “Charades” to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” has been dripping with glamour, Givenchy and her effortless grace.  Hepburn was truly a jewel in American cinema. Even when playing the chauffeur’s daughter in Sabrina, she did it with more elegance than I can ever dream of having.

Any of her movies will make you want to throw on your best dress, chop off your hair into a cute boy cut (or swoop it all on top like Holly Golightly) and eat croissants outside of a jewelry store (assuming there’s not a Tiffany’s near you). 

2. The Devil Wears Prada

Okay, this may be a cop out, but any time I want to feel inspired and faux-immersed in the buzzing fashion world, I pop this in. From Stanley Tucci’s loveable, sassy and unforgettable Nigel, to Meryl Streep’s infamous, ice cold Miranda Priestly, this movie is, in a word, fabulous. The premise, if you still haven’t heard, is about Andrea Sachs, an aspiring journalist in a frumpy cerulean blue cable knit sweater and her grandmother’s skirt. She lands a job as fashion assistant to the editor-in-chief of the biggest fashion magazine in this fictional world, Runway, and it goes from there. 

I might have every word memorized, and every outfit, from this movie. A million girls would kill for Andy Sachs’ job, and I’m definitely one of them. Sure, it’s a book-to-movie adaptation of one former assistant’s not so subtle jabs at Anna Wintour, but it’s just so good.

 3. September Issue

This documentary paints Vogue in a different light than “The Devil Wears Prada,” but it still packs in the thrill, adrenaline and style that goes into producing and running a successful fashion magazine. Excuse me, the most successful fashion magazine. 

Camera crews followed around editors, stylists and directors from Vogue as they put together the September issue of the magazine. For anyone who knows Vogue, the September issue is the biggest issue of the magazine every year. It’s full of fall fashion ads, stories and, well, more ads. Last year’s September alone, featuring actress Jennifer Lawrence as the cover story, was 655 pages of ads. 

The documentary is a great peak into the inner workings of a magazine a million girls (and guys) dream of writing, editing or styling for some day. The movie also brought fame to creative director Grace Coddington. Her fiery red hair and love of cats was not so easily missed by the camera crew, launching her back into the spotlight a little. 

4. Bill Cunningham New York

This documentary, still available on Netflix, tells the story of Bill Cunningham, The New York Times’ prized fashion possession. The photographer, now 85, is considered one of the fathers of street style photography. He’s made a career out of photographing stylish people in New York, and sometimes Paris, and spotting trends for his “On the Street” column. He also photographs select charity and gala events for his “Evening Hours” column. His documentary tells his story and paints a heart warming picture of the man behind the camera. After watching this, you will want to fly to New York, walk down 5th Ave in your fanciest duds and search for the little old man in the bright blue jacket.

Seriously, is there any fashion photog more adorable than Bill? I toured the Times in the spring and almost got a little teary with excitement thinking he might be there.* He wasn’t, but I did meet the producer of his “On the Street” videos. Speaking of, if you watch the documentary and love it, his “On the Street” videos are just as great. A selection of his photos fly across the screen as he improvises a narrative for each slide before you. The video I embedded is more evening than street, but it’s one of my recent favorites.

*I have a tendency to get really, really excited about things, like meeting people I highly admire and watching Doctor Who.

5. Coco Before Chanel

I managed to stumble upon this beauty of a film the other day. It depicts the early life of legendary designer Coco Chanel, founder of the French fashion label Chanel. Audrey Tautou, known also for her performance in “Amélie,” plays a young Gabrielle Chanel, searching for her place in French society and climbing the designing ladder. It’s fascinating to see such a famous designer’s rise from her orphan home beginnings to unbelievable fashion heights. It’s funny, it’s sad and it will make you long for French cities and countrysides you’ve never actually been to or seen.  

6. The Return

Okay so it’s not a full length movie, but this short film, directed by Karl Lagerfeld, is still fantastic. It depicts an older Coco, after the war and all her controversies associated with it. Lagerfeld uses his eye and artistic abilities to tell the story of how the designer of the 1920s staged the comeback of the decade in the ’50s. 

Lagerfeld is the current cat-loving creative director of Chanel, along with his own namesake brand and Fendi. So needless to say, with my shared love of cats, ChanelFendi’s baguette bag and Choupette beanies, I fan-girled to see a favorite designer direct a movie about one of the most legendary females in fashion. It was beautifully shot, well acted and, best of all, Lagerfeld directing it meant lots of vintage Chanel costumes, a privilege not always warranted to fashion films. Lagerfeld, however, holds the keys to the Chanel Kingdom. Decades of Chanel clothing are available and ready at his fingerless-gloved hands. 

This movie is available on Vimeo for your viewing pleasure.

7. Rear Window

This Alfred Hitchcock classic starring Grace Kelly and James Stewart tells the story of an injured photographer (Stewart) who spies on his neighbors and begins to suspect one of murder. Now, Stewart is confined to a wheelchair in the film and wears little else than his light blue pajamas. But Kelly is the essence of ’50s elegance and class. Her perfectly coifed and curled hair and enviable closet of stunning gowns are spectacular. It’s old Hollywood glamour at its finest and makes me wish full tulle skirts and pearls were still a daily staple in this decade.

The movie itself is captivating. I had never seen a Hitchcock movie before this, but after watching I feel as though it was a good one to start with. It’s themes have been repeated in films and television shows for years since it’s 1954 release, and it’s scenes have been replicated in fashion spreads everywhere. 

8. Aristocats

Now now now, before you start shaking your head at me for putting a cartoon about cats on this list, hear me out. This movie is set in one of the most fashionable countries in the world: France. AND part of it takes place in the most fashionable city in the world: Paris. These fine felines are trotting around in the glamour, the jazz, the fashion of Paris. Considering the movie is set somewhere closer to the 1920s or earlier, the fashion is a little dated for this day and age. However, there’s glamour in Madame’s French Villa, in her long dresses and feather boas, and in her well accessorized cats. It’s a classic. Plus, doesn’t everybody want to be a cat?