Netflix’s new period drama Halston – starring Ewan McGregor as the visionary fashion designer known by his last name only – is grabbing our attention for all the right reasons. Luxury, sex, fame – the show has it all. And then of course, there’s the fashion. But did you know there are lots of other great period dramas about fashion you simply must watch?
After finishing Halston, I recommend getting your teeth into one of these;
Audrey Tatou plays the classic French fashion designer in this 2009 biographical film which focuses on Coco’s rise from obscure beginnings to the heights of the fashion world. As the title suggests, this is all about Coco before Chanel became the iconic brand it is today. The film tells the story of her life until the end of the First World War, and looks at some of the great loves of her life.
Another period drama about fashion set in France – The Collection tells the story of brothers Paul and Claude Sabine and their family’s Parisian fashion house. Around them, the city is recovering from WWII and the occupation. This series is sumptuous and full of gorgeous gowns and couture, which markedly contrasts with the post-war suspense you get in some of the episodes. A great binge-watch.
With a title like that, The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet, was always going to make this list. Winslet plays a glamorous woman returns to her small hometown in rural Australia. With her sewing machine and haute couture style, she transforms the women and exacts sweet revenge on those who did her wrong. If you like black comedy or quirky films, you will love The Dressmaker.
One of the BBC’s classic period drama series of the 1990s, The House of Eliot tells the story of two sisters in 1920s London who establish a dressmaking business and eventually their own haute couture fashion house. It has a bit of a cult status, and even though it was aired when I was very young, its one of those period drama series that everyone has heard of – because its simply so good!
Currently available to stream in the UK via BritBox.
Definitely a lesser known period drama, I came across Ladies in Black while aimlessly scrolling Netflix one day, and it turned out to be a good watch. Its a light-hearted, feel-good film that tells the tale of a group of department store employees in Sydney in 1959. Its also really interesting from a women’s history perspective, with the principal female characters slowly realising they live in a changing world and more progressive times are coming.
This is a GREAT movie – but what else do you expect from triple Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis? In his final role before retirement, he played a 1950s haute couture dressmaker who takes on a waitress as his muse and lover. This movie garnered A LOT of critical acclaim, and for good reason. This is one period drama about fashion history to be savoured.
Another biographical film about an iconic French fashion designer, Yves St Laurent is a look at the life of the designer from the beginning of his career in 1958 when he met his lover and business partner, Pierre Bergé. Fun fact – two films about YSL came out in the same year (2014) but this is the authorized (and award-winning) version.
Liked this post about period dramas about fashion? Then I think you will love this post about the best fashion history books for the stylish historian.