If reality TV favorite "Project Runway" is any indication, the fashion world is one driven by greed, motivated by fear and stocked with people who would just as soon step on your throat as help you out – Seamless, director Doug Keeve's follow-up to 1995's Unzipped, paints the cutthroat world of couture in slightly rosier shades, but it's undeniable: you'd better come ready to play if you want to make it in this fast-paced industry.
Charting the exploits of a handful of young, up-and-coming designers vying for an award doled out by Vogue magazine and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Keeve's camera tracks 10 finalists as they cut, sew, sweat, freak out and solve crises in pursuit of the potentially star-making award. Along the way, Keeve takes some time out to let the likes of Vogue's Anna Wintour and Vera Wang expostulate on the business of being fashionable – while it gives Seamless star power, it somewhat detracts from the quartet of perfectly compelling stories. Clocking in at a brisk 75 minutes, Seamless certainly doesn't overstay its welcome, but I almost wouldn't have minded spending a little more time exploring the complexities of the fashion world through the eyes of these relative neophytes.
Seamless is a fleeting, fly-on-the-wall documentary, primarily exploring the ascent of four promising designers, competing for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make their mark upon the ever-fluid world of fashion. Director Douglas Keeve does a fine job sketching each of the competitors, but sidetracking himself with established stars saps a bit of the film's power – it's not a film that lingers but for those who salivate over clothes, this might rocket to the top of your must-see list.
Presented in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen, Seamless, filmed on digital video, suffers from most of the expected flaws inherent in the source material: a slight softness, contrast and a tendency to look blown out. Otherwise, there's not too much to complain about visually – the transfer looks about as good as could be expected.
While the visuals are occasionally dodgy, the Dolby 2.0 soundtrack included here is rich and booming with bass; for the most part, the mix renders dialogue clearly, although there are certain sequences where I wished for English subtitles to make out what everyone's saying.
Zip, zero, nada – there's not a single bonus feature to be found. On top of that, there's not even a keepcase, as this film is part of the "Netflix First" series.
Douglas Keeve's decade-later follow-up to Unzipped is a low-key documentary exploring a competition between up-and-coming designers, vying for their chance to make their mark upon the world of fashion. At an almost too quick 75 minutes, Seamless leaves you wanting a little more. Rent it.