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Review: ‘Christian Audigier the Vif’ doc on late fashion designer goes long on style, skimps on substance

Christian Audigier and Snoop Dogg in a still from “Christian Audigier the Vif” movie.
Christian Audigier, left, and Snoop Dogg in the documentary “Christian Audigier the Vif.”
(Double Exposure Distribution)

For those who only know the late Christian Audigier through the signature style of his Von Dutch and Ed Hardy lines, this documentary creates an impressionistic portrait of the fashion designer. However, audiences looking for more depth will find “Christian Audigier the Vif” only the barest introduction to the man.

The “Vif” in the title is French for “sharp,” and the documentary builds an image of Audigier as ambitious, hardworking and creative. From his early days designing denim to spending time in a Bali prison, Audigier consistently found ways to stand out, as much a talent at marketing and celebrity as he was at the actual craft of fashion. The documentary moves between his history and his later years and struggle with MDS, a terminal form of blood cancer.

“Christian Audigier the Vif” lacks the strong narrative structure that would make it a better documentary, and it often skips details about Audigier’s life and experience that might have offered deeper insight into the designer. The film also isn’t concerned with his flaws, spending only fleeting moments on his ego and unkindness and choosing to focus almost entirely on his saintly qualities. This is director Didier Beringuer’s first feature, and while it matches its subject in style, it offers only the barest sketch of this figure, rather than a fully fleshed out profile of the man.

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‘Christian Audigier the Vif’

In French and English with English subtitles

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Playing: Starts June 22, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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