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film

Douglas Keeve's Unzipped

DOUGLAS KEEVE’S DOCUMENTARY Unzipped, about fashion designer (and Keeve’s former boyfriend) Isaac Mizrahi, operates, perhaps involuntarily, as a corrective to the smug fatuities purveyed by Robert Altman’s recent, regrettable film about the fashion industry, Ready-to-Wear. Whereas Altman’s fictional account of fashion week in Paris was intent on demonstrating that the fashion business is—say it ain’t so!—venal, meretricious, dumb, and populated with characters to make Tod Browning’s Freaks look like The Brady Bunch, Keeve’s perspective is essentially that of the empathetic yet shrewd-eyed insider. Altman saw only shrill queens, power bitches, and oleaginous tradesmen; Keeve sees them too, but allows for the possibility that these gargoyles might basically be nice, or, failing that, interesting, which is better still.

The arc of the film is simple: failure to success. It begins with a solitary

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