Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Seamless

With the exception of the screeners that are delivered directly to our door, I don't get around to watching new movies very often. So even though this is not a new film, thanks to an afternoon with the house to myself, our internet TV and Netflix Watch Instantly, I was able to enjoy the 2005 documentary Seamless by Douglas Keeve (of Unzipped fame).

(Spoiler Alert! If you click on the links in this next paragraph, you may learn about the end results of the film, so if you want to be surprised and enjoy the dramatic tension of the film, don't click!)

The action centers around a contest sponsored by Vouge and the Council of Fashion Designers of America to discover, promote, mentor and assist an up-and-coming designer in the American fashion scene. The contest consists of ten contestants, and the documentary crew follows three of the hopefuls: Alexadre Plokhov of Cloak, Doo-Ri Chung of doo.ri, and Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCullough of Proenza Schouler. It is an eye-opening look into what the real world of fashion is like behind the glitz and glam of runway shows, posh boutiques, and glossy magazines... a world where young, talented, artistic designers struggle to make ends meet while pursuing their passion, a world where the majority of small designers who are seemingly successful due to lots of media hype run businesses that have not yet begun to be profitable (despite the enormous retail price tags of their pieces). The prize for which they are vying is $200,000 in award money as well as a mentorship with an established fashion industry executive. The judges panel includes fashion heavyweights such as Vogue's Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs CEO Robert Duffy, Narciso Rodriguez and others.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film and think it is a worthwhile, educational watch for anyone who enjoys the world of fashion or has any curiosity about this multi-billion dollar American industry. It is definitely a must watch for anyone who aspires to become a fashion designer and wants to know the dedication, talent, sacrifice and perseverance it will take to become a success in the business. The film is shot in an artistic and aesthetically interesting manner, in many ways like a fashion magazine editorial spread brought to life. The film is also quite personal, giving intimate glimpses into the lives and personalities of the people who make up the glamorous fashion industry.

The filmmaker successfully builds dramatic tension that culminates in the presentation of the CFDA/Vouge Fashion Fund Award at a star-studded, red-carpet gala event and includes some information on what became of the designers following production of the film.

I gave the film four out of five stars on the Netflix rating system ("really liked it"). It is 75 minutes long and is available via Netflix, Netflix Watch Instantly, and for sale on Amazon for $24.95.

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