In an era of breathless biopics, we spotlight the underground fashion figures long-overdue a mid-budget streamer, from Connie Girl to Zelda Wynn Valdes

Mainstream entertainment is dedicated to producing the same thing over and over again. Streaming sites are bloated with reboots, sequels, and spin-offs, while some of the year’s biggest releases have been retellings of already familiar stories. Inventing Anna, Spencer, Pistol, and Elvis were etched into public memory long before they were projected onto the screen – and all of this has seemingly given rise to yet more biopics promising to dramatise the lives of Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. That’s not to say there isn’t a place in culture for this kind of stuff, though. After all, these people make seductive subjects – not least because of the tragedies and controversies that befell them, but also because they are “style icons”.

Each a different kind of archetype, their legacies have been codified by fashion and beauty, which explains why directors like Ryan Murphy and Ridley Scott have so often mined the industry for content. From Halston, to House of Gucci, to The Assassination of Gianni Versace, filmmakers love to stick their fingers into fashion history and pull out its most glamorous innards. Yet while the stories of so many famous designers are loaded with cinematic twists, there are a bunch of lesser-known individuals just as worthy of attention and iconisation. Those on the outskirts of the industry who grappled for a seat at the table and on the front row – changemakers like Zelda Wynn Valdes and Connie Girl, whose contributions to culture are so often reduced to a footnote. Or people like Michèle Lamy and Leigh Bowery, who created melodramas of their monstrous self-image.

They may not be household names, but they are central to the mythologising of fashion. From Isabella Blow to Dapper Dan, these are people whose lives and legacies have been etched into fashion folklore. Laced with conflict, tension, mystery, and revelation. In an era of breathless biopics, click through the gallery below to see which cult figures are long-overdue a mid-budget streamer.