"Dark glasses are like being behind a waterfall - daring and safe at the same time"
January 5, 2013 1:00 PM   Subscribe

The 1992 BBC investigative documentary series The Look, aiming to examine the 'serious side of fashion', is available to watch online. The episodes cover the power of licensing luxury names, who benefits from catwalk shows, how the industry commodifies identity, the story of Yves Saint Laurent, the power of the press, and how fabric itself makes a difference.

The series is both insightful and - pre the death of Gianni Versace and the rise of celebrity perfume (particularly in the UK) and the influence of the internet - a document of its time.
posted by mippy (10 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
There is also a BBC documentary on perfume (called 'Perfume') on YouTube, but I wasn't sure if it was sketchy to link to things uploaded there...
posted by mippy at 1:01 PM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thanks for posting this.

The BBC also made "The Collection" in 2009 - which is a fly on the wall documentary about Chanel. I seem to recall that this also talks about the notion of haute couture as a loss leading activity to boost sales of bags and perfume.
posted by rongorongo at 1:36 PM on January 5, 2013

I've been reading Chandler Burr's The Perfect Scent recently, which is the story of the research/development/creation of two perfumes - one a Hermes scent made by a celebrated 'nose' (perfume creators who are often contracted to houses or fragrance lines) and the Sarah Jessica Parker scent developed off the back of the success of SATC. Two things jumped out at me - one is that most designers not only don't create the fragrances bearing their name (they are developed at a small handful of companies which create fragrances for everything from perfume to toilet cleaner) but often don't even smell it, and the second is that the process involving SJP to come in, test fragrances and discuss what she liked herself is actually very unusual in the industry - most celebrity scents are merely licensed products, no more or less than a pencil case or a doll, which the celeb doesn't even test themselves before going to market.
posted by mippy at 1:47 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is a perfect companion post to the post on tiaras!
For those interested in perfume history, The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume is a fascinating read.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:24 PM on January 5, 2013

I found this far more fascinating than I'd like to admit. Far outside my usual realm of interest, thanks for posting it.
posted by holmesian at 3:24 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can anyone tell me the song playing in the background during the Versace segment?
It's kinda driving me nuts.
posted by TangerineGurl at 5:16 PM on January 5, 2013

Specifically "Material World" Versace segment
posted by TangerineGurl at 5:30 PM on January 5, 2013

TangerineGurl: "Can anyone tell me the song playing in the background during the Versace segment?
It's kinda driving me nuts.

According to Shazam, it's "Orpheus Und Eurydike": Ach, Ich Habe Sie Verloren performed by the Pro Musica Sympohony Orchestra Hamrug & Pietro Des Monaco.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:03 PM on January 5, 2013

Wrong song. Somehow.
This one was soulful - almost R&B
Comes in at 20:32
posted by TangerineGurl at 6:11 PM on January 5, 2013

great post. thanks.

i had forgotten how much i love Christian Lacroix. i wish stylists would pull more of his clothes for photo shoots.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 6:43 PM on January 5, 2013

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