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Fashion in Film

Row House Cinema screens a week's worth movies that examine the world of fashion

click to enlarge The True Cost - TRUECOSTMOVIE.COM
The True Cost

Every week, Lawrenceville theater Row House Cinema screens a selection of movies around a specific theme. For the week of Sept. 20-26, Row House has teamed up with nonprofit Style 412 to present films that are about the fashion world or have otherwise influenced it. 

Matinee Brunch. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sun., Sept. 22.

Clueless premiered more than 20 years ago, but its impact on fashion continue today. The film’s costume designer, Mona May, did what no one else was doing in the '90s; she mixed high-end fashion items with mall clothes and thrift store finds. At the time, women in media were either depicted in all designer clothes or head-to-toe grunge. By combining those elements, May created iconic looks that hold up now, most notably Cher’s yellow all-plaid blazer and mini skirt.

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood’s life and legacy is chronicled in this documentary. She’s cited as the driving force behind bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into mainstream culture.


On the surface, Zoolander, the 2001 film about a high-end male model brainwashed into killing the Prime Minister of Malaysia, is little more than a showcase a for a cast of comedic actors (it’s directed by and stars Ben Stiller, along with Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell). The action-comedy, however, oddly predicted, or perhaps spurred, significant events and trends in the fashion world. “Homeless” chic, athleisure, and boiler (industrial) jumpsuits all appear in Zoolander but have only become fashionable in mainstream culture over the last 10 years or so. The most important prediction was the rise of fast fashion. Which directly relates to the next film …

The True Cost Screening and Fashion 412 Panel
7 p.m. Fri., Sept. 20. (Opening Night)

This eye-opening documentary, directed by Andrew Morgan, sheds light on the production of cheap clothing and the price we truly pay — economically, environmentally, and morally — for the clothes we wear. Filmed in countries where clothes are made all over the world, The True Cost features interviews with fashion power-players such as Stella McCartney, Livia Firth, and Vandana Shiva, and takes viewers from the runway to the communities where garments are made by workers living in poverty. Ahead of the screening, which takes place on the opening night of the film festival, there will be a panel discussion from leaders in the local fashion scene about shopping sustainably in Pittsburgh, moderated by Pittsburgh City Paper contributor Tereneh Idia.

7 p.m. Thu., Sept. 26. (Closing Night)

Follow the rise and fall of a fashion icon in this documentary about Roy Halston Frowick, better known as Halston, who reached international stardom in the ’70s with his clean, minimalist designs (his simple, streamlined dresses were a hit on the disco dance floor). However, with the rise of the Wall Street era, Halston was forced to take a gamble when his clothing empire was threatened. 

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