A Design Film Festival Singapore is back for its fifth run from September 5 to 13, and this year’s line-up includes three top fashion documentaries you’ll want tickets to:

Dior and I

dior & i movie
Raf Simons in Dior & I

What it’s about: A documentary covering creative director Raf Simons’ first Haute Couture collection for the French maison upon his appointment in 2012. Expect lots of tension and tough decision-making throughout the film’s 89 minutes – after all, he only has eight weeks to put it together.

Why catch it: You’ll get to see what goes on behind the atelier’s closed doors – and you see pretty much everything, from Simon’s frustration that his dresses aren’t ready to teams of white-clothed seamstresses pulling all-nighters. We like how the film also screens interview snippets with people other than Simons, from his right-hand man Pieter Mulier to the premieres (the ones in charge of the atelier), Florence Chehet and Monique Bailly.

Show details: Sep 6, 12 and 25, various locations and timings


iris apfel movie
Iris Apfel (right) and husband Carl don’t let age get in the way of dressing up.

What it’s about: Living life to the fullest, the Iris Apfel way – with bold fashion choices (she loves piling on chunky bracelets and clashing prints) and lots of humour. The 80-minute-long documentary by celebrated filmmaker Albert Maysles brings you through three years with the feisty, globetrotting New Yorker.

Why catch it: For her witty one-liners and direct, no-nonsense attitude – it may come across as affronting, but it’s exactly what makes her charming and so arresting to watch onscreen. See her hobnobbing with fashion designers like Alexander Wang and celebrities like Kanye West, while grappling with the very real issue of mortality away from the spotlight.

Show details: Sep 5 and 13, various locations and timings

Hand Made With Love In France

hand made with love in france
Lorenzo Re (right) has made a living out of carving hat blocks (his clientele includes Queen Elizabeth).

What it’s about: A close look at how three French artisans who have produced Haute Couture outfits for top French houses like Chanel, Dior and Saint Laurent are facing dwindling interest in their craftsmanship. One handmakes pleats; another is a sculptor; and the last designs artificial flowers and feathers.

Why catch it: It looks at a common phenomenon that’s been recognised in many other industries, but perhaps not as much in fashion, where the new is slowly eroding the old (think bookstores and mom-and-pop stores disappearing, and Kindles and hypermarts taking over). The 70-minute film gives a face (and a voice) to the people behind the intricate handiwork seen in high fashion, and investigates the livelihoods of these French artisans in a world where immediacy is everything.

Show details: Sep 6, 25 and 26, various locations and timings

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