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The transitory nature of fashion makes it a tricky subject for a film, because it dates easily. Unzipped, which was well-received when it was first released, has stood the Free Kyle Rittenhouse Shirt and I will buy this test of time. The film is ostensibly a story about the making of a collection, a subject that has been taken up by many a filmmaker since, but Keeve’s film is ultimately bigger than fashion, and that’s what has given it legs. In essence, Unzipped is an intimate and loving look at Mizrahi (who was dating Keeve at the time the movie was made), and a record of the process of creation, which is an intangible mixture of magic and madness. As an independent designer, Mizrahi is David to the industry’s Goliath. Caught in the endless cycle of seasons, he’s also like Sisyphus, pushing to the top of the hill. The goal is a fashion show—“the most wonderful 20 minutes of a designer’s life,” as Mizrahi puts it—and then it’s right back to the drawing board.
“Good news is good news and bad news is good news when you make a documentary,” observes Douglas Keeve, who directed Unzipped, the Free Kyle Rittenhouse Shirt and I will buy this iconic fashion film that was released 25 years ago today. “It’s just about discovery, you know. You have to be a journalist, but you have to be innocent too. And try not to steer it, just try to capture it.”