The most controversial fashion movies and documentaries to binge watch today

Many controversial movies on fashion have been released in the past few years, and quite a number have struck a chord with the audience.

Joining the list of such controversial movies is Ridley Scott’s The House of Gucci, a biopic based on Sara Gay Forden’s book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed.

In a star-studded cast, Adam Driver plays the role of Maurizio Gucci — the former head of the luxury fashion house Gucci — and Academy Awards-winner Lady Gaga will be seen as his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani, who was tried and convicted of being instrumental in the assassination of her former partner. The film also includes other acclaimed actors like Al Pacino, Jared Leto, Salma Hayek and Jeremy Irons.

The House of Gucci is already creating a lot of buzz amidst fashion insiders, and that includes the Gucci family, who have been pretty vocal about their thoughts on the portrayal. “We are truly disappointed. I speak on behalf of the family. They are stealing the identity of our family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system,” said Patrizia Gucci, second cousin of the late Maurizio Gucci to The Associated Press.

The project is indeed one of the most controversial movies on fashion in recent times, but it’s not the only one. Whilst we wait with bated breaths on the release of the film in November, here are four other equally buzz-worthy and controversial fashion movies, documentaries, and series that you can catch up on in the meantime.


Director Daniel Minahan joined hands with producer Ryan Murphy for this biographical miniseries, adapted from Steven Gaines’s book Simply Halston.

The five-episode Netflix series sees Ewan McGregor as the titular designer, who was best known as the first American celebrity fashion designer and showcases his rise to fame and his increasing dependence on cocaine, which ends up ruining his life.  Halston’s cast also includes talented heavyweights like Rebecca Dayan, David Pittu, Krysta Rodriguez and Bill Pullman.

Since its release on 14 May 2021, the TV series has received five Emmy nominations, including ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie’ and ‘Outstanding Period Costumes’.

Despite the critical acclaim, the miniseries has also received its share of backlash. Many from Halston’s family have called the show “inaccurate”. His niece Lesley Frowick, who is also CEO and founder of Halston Archives, released a statement saying, “the Halston Archives and Family were not consulted on the upcoming Netflix series involving an inaccurate, fictionalized account of famed fashion designer, ‘Halston’. The Halston Archives remains the only definitive and comprehensive source on the man and his legacy as the personally appointed custodian of his private papers and effects.”

Even McGregor’s casting as Halston raised a few eyebrows. In an interview, Murphy told Vogue that the actor was the “only choice” as he “really connected with the pain of Halston and the longing of Halston, and how confusing it is to have to be an artist and a businessman at the same time.”

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

On 17 January 2018, the much-acclaimed nine-episode series premiered on FX. Based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, the series revolves around the murder of Gianni Versace by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

The Versace family criticised the makers of the show even before its release, and issued a statement which read: “As we have said, the Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace, which should only be considered as a work of fiction. The company producing the series claims it is relying on a book by Maureen Orth, but the Orth book itself is full of gossip and speculation. Orth never received any information from the Versace family and she has no basis to make claims about the intimate personal life of Gianni Versace or other family members.”

The illustrious clan wasn’t the only one who had a bone to pick with the makers. In an interview with The Observer, Gianni Versace’s partner Antonio D’Amico stated that Ricky Martin’s (who plays D’Amico in the series) depiction of his reaction to Versace’s murder “is not how I reacted.”

The series starred Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, and Penélope Cruz as the inimitable Donatella Versace.

The series went on to win seven Emmy Awards in 2018, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (for Criss) and Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special (for Murphy). The crime drama also bagged two Golden Globes in 2019 in the Best Television Motion Picture and Best Actor in a Television Motion Picture categories.

Saint Laurent

Directed by Bertrand Bonello, this French biographical drama see Gaspard Ulliel take on the eponymous role. Released in France in 2014, the plot entails the life of French designer Yves Saint Laurent at the pinnacle of his career. Saint Laurent can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video.

The movie, however, found itself in the eye of the storm. According to reports, Saint Laurent’s long-time partner Pierre Bergé wasn’t happy with the project and even disallowed the director from using any YSL clothing in the film. The explicit use of drugs didn’t go down well with Bergé either, who felt it depicted him and the design maverick in an unflattering way.

Yves Saint-Laurent: The Last Collections

A little more on the controversial side, the documentary film shot by Olivier Meyrou — from 1998 to 2001 — saw a theatrical release in 2019, after Saint-Laurent’s long-term partner Pierre Bergé gave his nod to an edited version of the documentary in 2015.

However, the latter had pulled all strings to halt the distribution of the documentary, as he thought it was too revealing and portrayed his partner in a negative light. This controversial movie on fashion, which can be watched on MUBI, captures the designer as he prepares for his last show before his retirement.

(Main and Feature image: Lady Gaga/Instagram)


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