Fashionable movies


A fashion moment from Unzipped. Extra fashionista points to anyone who can identify the young bespectacled assistant to the right.

Unzipped: If there is one movie that deserves the title “classic” in the rather narrow genre of fashion documentaries it’s Unzipped. The movie follows Isaac Mizrahi during the creation of his fall 1994 collection and makes for hilarious viewing. The movie actually starts a bit gloomy with Isaac reading a critical review of his spring 1994 collection. “What he dubbed as a mix was more of a mess” concludes the reviewer and Isaac confesses that he feels horrible after a show “it’s just the worst day in the world”.

But there is no time to dwell, a new collection must be made. Inspiration comes in the unexpected form of the Eskimo silent movie Nanook from the North and Isaac starts to fantasize about fur jumpsuits and hairy pants that his Upper East Side clients could wear with a bra when walking the dog!

Isaac is having an Eureka moment.

Another hilarious moment is when the superstitious Isaac talks about how an Ouija board session gave the direction of his collection. But Unzipped isn’t just pure comedy material, it also does a great job portraying the NY fashion scene and the emotional roller coaster that comes with being a fashion designer. It’s also really interesting to see how he incorporates his love for vintage American movies in his work.

The movie is done by Isaac’s then boyfriend Douglas Keeve and shot mostly in grainy black and white. I’d say that this and Signe Chanel are the two best fashion documentaries I’ve seen so far. Unzipped is much better than the 6.0 average that IMDB users have given it. My only criticisms are that it could have been 10-20 minutes longer, some things are skipped upon, and I think that a comment voice or written commentaries between some scenes could have been beneficial since some things lacks context. But all in all, this movie is absolutely fashionable fabulous!


  • Betty
    January 11, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    This movie has been on my “want to see” list since it was released! I can’t believe I haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet. When it first was available on video, I couldn’t find a copy. Then I guess I forgot about it. But once in a while I see a reference to it, and I think “oh yeah, I need to get a copy of that.” I’m going to make a point to get a copy and watch it this month.

  • Christina
    January 11, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I haven’t seen this one yet. Who is the young bespectacled assistant??

  • Johanna
    January 12, 2009 at 10:17 am

    >>Betty: Same here! First it was impossible to find here in Sweden, and then I sort of kept forgetting about it. But I'm really glad I bought in the end.
    >>Christina: Since no one has stepped in and claimed the bragging rights in the comment section I'll drop it here, it's Robert Best from Project Runway season 3. He looks about 15 years old in Unzipped, much have been fresh from fashion school.

  • Kyle
    November 15, 2010 at 4:43 am

    sigh, the Princeton Public Library doesn't have this one. 🙁

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