The fashion world is not short on beauty, drama, or unforgettable personalities—all of which makes for good television. In 2024, fashion and fashionable people have inevitably become the inspiration for a slew of new television shows that strike a different chord from South Korean dramas or an HBO Original series. One title that has everyone talking at the moment is Ryan Murphy’s Feud: Capote vs. The Swans, which recently had its stylish premiere in New York with stars like Naomi Watts, Demi Moore and Chloë Sevigny in attendance.
That show, as well as other TV releases this year, offer viewers more than mere entertainment. They give us a glimpse into the past, namely the 20th century, when fashion designers like Cristóbal Balenciaga and Christian Dior were inventing new silhouettes and transforming the ways that people dressed. These shows provide context into the larger-than-life characters who continue to influence the fashion world. And there’s inspiration to be found in their stories, too. For some of us, that may serve as a good reminder of the point and power of fashion.
Looking to enjoy a different kind of a fashion show? See our list of new series to stream this February.
WHAT IT IS
A Spanish-language television series on Cristóbal Balenciaga, the innovative haute couture designer whom Christian Dior once called “the master of us all”. The show follows the Spanish couturier’s life from 1937, when he made his haute couture debut in Paris, to his death in 1972.
WHY TO WATCH
For Balenciaga, first and foremost. The fashion designer was famously reclusive and rarely gave interviews. This series would offer some insight into his personality, by way of Spanish actor Alberto San Juan’s performance. The series also looks at Balenciaga’s relationships with the likes of other influential designers, such as Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy and Dior.
Then there are the costumes. Balenciaga’s revolutionary haute couture designs are brought to life thanks to the show’s costume designers, Bina Daigeler and Pepo Ruiz Dorado. The duo enlisted the help of luxury fashion brands Balenciaga, Chanel and Dior in their research and recreation of the couture master’s cocoon coat, the sack dress, and more. The show also features collections by Dior and Chanel, which will hopefully inspire a deeper appreciation for haute couture.
Watch it on Disney+.
WHAT IT IS
The second season of Feud, an anthology series by Ryan Murphy that focuses on real-life rivalries. This latest instalment spotlights the relationship between American writer Truman Capote and his “swans”, the high society ladies who ruled New York during the 20th century. Their famous falling-out came when Capote published their scandalous secrets.
WHY TO WATCH
The show, which follows the lives of Manhattan’s elite in the ‘50s and the ‘60s, is like a grown-up version of Gossip Girl. That is to say that you can expect plenty of drama, glamour (including costumes by Zac Posen!) and witty one-liners, especially with Murphy’s involvement as producer and creator of the show. Murphy is the man behind popular television series like American Horror Story, Glee and Halston. He’s also joined by Gus Van Sant, known by cinephiles as the director of My Own Private Idaho, and by fashion fans as one of Hedi Slimane’s favourite collaborators during his Saint Laurent days.
The cast of Feud is just as impressive. Naomi Watts transforms into former Vogue editor Babe Paley, while Chloë Sevigny channels her own It-girl charm to portray C.Z. Guest. Calista Flockhart returns to the screen to play Lee Radziwill, the younger but no less stylish sister of Jackie Kennedy. And you can also watch for performances by Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore and Tom Hollander, who plays the tragic character at the centre of it all.
Watch it on FX.
WHAT IT IS
A historical drama series that depicts the meteoric rise and legacy of fashion designer Christian Dior. Set in post-war Paris, the show takes us through the creation of Dior’s influential “New Look” collection, his rivalry with Coco Chanel, and much more. Its release date is set for 14 February.
WHY TO WATCH
Consider The New Look as a crash course into fashion history. Besides telling the story of Dior (who is played by Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn) and Chanel (Juliette Binoche), the Apple TV+ series also looks at other important designers of the 20th century: Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Balmain and Pierre Cardin. You will also be introduced to other figures that shaped the fashion world, such as Catherine Dior (played by Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams), Dior’s sister and the muse of the Miss Dior fragrance; as well as fashion editor Carmel Snow (Glenn Close).
Across the 10 episodes, you will also be tuned into a soundtrack featuring the likes of Lana Del Rey, Florence Welch, Nick Cave and The 1975’s Matty Healy. These musicians have recorded covers of popular songs from the mid-20th century especially for the show.
Watch it on Apple TV+.