I ordered “Unzipped” on YouTube and, tempted, re-watched its trailer. I had the realization that the film, which I had watched over and over as a middle-schooler and high-schooler, was what had completely defined me as a person. Not only do I still have memorized nearly all of its lines (“Iguana!”) but I have internalized its lesson: creative people suffer, but suffering is dumb. I learned that it’s best to just play around in the face of stress, to jump out of the moment and remember how you were as a child imagining what you’d be when you grew up – how absolutely cool it is that you ended up here. And I learned don’t take yourself seriously. Wear fur jumpsuits. Watch bad movies. Decorate your apartment in zebra print. Mizrahi is a success (within the context of the film) because everyone brings their morose energy to him. He deflects it with giggles. Which is not to say he isn’t working hard, he just does it without infecting others.
There’s one rather subtle lesson here that I think about when I sit down at every keyboard. “I don’t have to have gone to like Africa to have designed a collection about Africa, I can have just watched an episode of the Flinstones or whatever.” (I’m paraphrasing; I memorized it.) This I think is what every student writer flubs. We don’t want accuracy, we want reinvention. Whatever motivates you motivates you; let it, don’t feel burdened by your white childhood in Long Island (his). Jonathan Safran Foer could not have written about the shtetl without this idea, and Tolstoy would’ve written a shitty Natasha if he thought you had to be a woman to do it.
Which is all to say, I can’t believe this isn’t on streaming.
MUST WATCH Trailer!