Lina Lamont

"What do you think I am, dumb or something?"

The First Monday in May

M
91 mins
4.5 stars

I used to own a pair of sparkly pink uncomfortably high heels I wistfully called my “photoshoot shoes” – hoping, as you do, that one day Vanity Fair magazine might need me for its cover, and that I would look stylish in some outlandish outfit, without having to walk or move about.

If I had you at “uncomfortably high heels” then this latest fashion documentary (for there seems to be at least one a year nowadays) has you embroidered all over it. The First Monday in May follows the curation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual costume exhibition, and the corresponding lead-up to the event’s annual fundraising shindig: the Met Gala. (It’s little wonder the intoxicating combination of Hollywood starlet and wrinkled camp designer can bring in $12.5 million to support the museum.)

There’s not a lot of drama plot-wise, but the behind-the-scenes footage of the exquisite ensembles and in particular the juicy almost-gossip of Who Can’t Sit With Whom on the celebrity tables is more than compelling.

And the clothes. Oh my. Not just “fashion” but “clothing as artworks” say the exhibition’s insiders and the documentary’s only downside is that the camera often glides too quickly for you to absorb the incredible detail and breath-taking beauty.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour has a starring role (she is surprisingly restrained when questioned about The Devil Wears Prada), and the interviews with famous designers, although fairly safe in their content, are fascinating purely as an opportunity to get so close as to admire the handiwork of the interviewee’s surgeon. Compulsive viewing for wannabe fashionistas.

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