FASHION ON FILM: CATWALK (1996)

by Jeremy Danté

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INTERNATIONAL – as the second installment to my fashion documentary review series, ‘catwalk’ was the best choice to follow behind installment one. following supermodel christy turlington around the world, the documentary falls in line with the same 90’s black and white aesthetic that was seen in ‘unzipped’. filmed during an era where supermodel careers were something of fairy tales, the documentary showcases the proactivity of models during an era where they functioned as free standing businesses who were allowed power to make decisions rather than being told what to do. which i love, completely. there was less of a fashion structure in those times. it seemed as though the feel of fashion was so strongly represented with that black and white feel. it created an environment all too nostalgic, all too raw. hailed as the fashion film event of the year, the time of it’s release, you witness a true camaraderie of model talents. you get a chance to see naomi campbell and christy share a hotel room and hammer out decisions on what to order for dinner. you follow christy from fittings to runway shows around the world, in new york and paris being chauffeured through each of the fashion capitals. the film begins with christy speaking of her discovery as a model, during her equestrian lessons in pleasanton, california. discovered at the age of 16 years old, christy historically segued rapidly into the pages of vogue and the choice to follow her along her way during this one of a kind documentary was greater evidence of the public’s fascination not only with christy, but with models. the journey begins in milan, where christy is seen arriving for a cover shoot with the house versace for W magazine, where we see both donatella and the late gianni versace. intimate conversations are heard amongst models and make-up artists, providing an even greater sense of behind the scenes exclusivity.  we’re then lead backstage at the 90’s powerhouse of versace for a fashion show, where rupaul is seen snapping photos with a young kate moss, who rebelliously speaks about getting her nipples pierced. a catty veronica webb appears to be in competition with christy, as both speak playfully about their film and video opportunities. the result is christy saying into the camera, “she didn’t take that very well”, before taking a spin on the catwalk. while you see a long list of industry veterans and legends, the documentary is something you really have to see to believe. almost impossible to get as a stateside edition, the documentary is one of my favorites for it’s undeniably exclusive look into the world of fashion during a run of it’s golden age for models. incredible that, after all these years, the models featured are among the industries most powerful, even well into their 40’s, proving that supermodels are forever.

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