To launch my Spring/Summer collection "A MODERN RITUAL" I have decided to stage my first ever performance art event and premier my first ever fashion film at the prestigious fashion boutique, The Service Depot, in Wellington.
The work is actually completely in response to the themes promoted in A MODERN RITUAL, although in an entirely rebellious way. One explored control, monotony and structure, the other explores organic movement, mark-making and above all, chance.
All else will be revealed when we launch the film online.
Oh and ps. Keep your eye out for the film trailer too :)
This year a new medium was born into the consciousness of the fashion industry...
The Fashion Film.
Witnessing a new development in the communication of both film and fashion is an exciting time. We now have the privilege to watch this art-form grow and mature... Watch people make mistakes... Theorise over the successes and failures. I think a way to begin to analyse the potential of the fashion film is to compare it to the current means of communication used within the fashion industry.
The ability to see the garment in motion on the body.
Also to familiarise yourself with the fabric.
And there is no trickery of the camera.
The lack of an environment. Clothing exists only within a social context. What you wear, when and where, defines how the garment is perceived. Catwalk shows pluck the garment out of any real context, and wipe away most of the potential for social communication.
Also, the live experience is limited to audiences within the physical vicinity of the event.
Directly opposing pros and cons to the "Catwalk" scenario, photographic campaigns provide a story and the social context, but with limited movement, and the ability for digital manipulation (good and bad).
Also has the benefits of online sharing without loosing the essence of the experience (As with photographs of a live catwalk show)
Fashion Films on the other hand, solve all of the issues shown above. We can witness movement... in a social context... with the ability to reach a greater audience through online sharing. Voila!
However, I think there is one very important component to the fashion film which I don't believe is receiving adequate consideration...
Film is a time-based art. I have found myself, more often then not, resigning from a fashion film viewing at least half way into the performance. The pace of the fashion industry is fast. I view your standard photographic campaign in a magazine at the pace of about 3 seconds per page. If I like what I see, maybe 5 seconds?? Max?? Now most designers are actually creating their fashion films from their campaigns. So what you end up viewing is the same shots with slow-mo features and some pretty impressive editing techniques. Usually the film last for about 3mins... Showcasing the same imagery I would have originally consumed in a photographic format in 36 seconds.
So... I don't think the answer is to make the films shorter or to speed them up. Or am I claiming that those slow moments are invaluable. I think the key to successful fashion film is that they must generate intrigue. Seeds of curiosity must be planted in the viewers mind, tempting them to continue watching. This is most commonly achieved through the use of narrative, and narrative can be subtle. Intrigue can also be based entirely on the spectacle, and fortunately with the standard of VFX these days, the spectacle is also an achievable goal.
In consideration of some of these musings, I have attached some of the most successful fashion films I have seen to date :)
P.S. One of the pioneers of innovative fashion imagery, Nick Knight, actually believes that the next step beyond fashion film may include a model in full fashion attire beamed directly into your living room via the medium of a 3D hologram! Yikes! See here for more info.
This is a Thierry Mugler campaign in creative collaboration with Lady Gaga. I think the model functions as the spectacle and is truly captivating...
One of my closest friends asked if she could come along to the shoot of our S/S collection "A Modern Ritual" to film... Having never filmed or edited before, this is what she produced... Sarah Burton presents A Modern Ritual.
If you know Alaia's history you will realise how ridiculously backward this must sound... Alaia hit his greatest high in Paris in the 1980's, and this is "fash-un honey - old news!"
However... Alaia stepped off the ready-to-wear hamster wheel over a decade ago, insisting on producing fashion when it was right for his creative process rather than the consumer or retailer (This is a particularly relevant concept for 2011, as the current fashion climate demands up to 8 collections a year) Re-emerging in 2002, Alaia has once again grown to dizzying heights, and has now just released his first ever haute couture collection.
This imagery is the first I ever saw of Azzedine Alaia from 10 Magazine in 2007.
I have never forgotten it.
"Alaia has changed fashion, without allowing fashion to change him"
Gareth Pugh (apparently pronounced "Pe-ew") is my favourite at the moment. Having been announced as the 21st century's enfant terrible, he provides me with the comfort that some designers can still essentially survive as "fashion-artists." Very intrigued by the unapologetic drama of his work, I decided to find out more...
Interesting stuff about Gareth Pugh:
- He's a graduate of the renowned Central Saint Martins in London (absolutely no surprises there)
- He has completed 11 collections, having first launched his line in 2006
- He has just turned 30 years old (Yes - only 24 when he first showed at London Fashion Week)
- He is being sponsored by Rick Owens, and managed by Owens' wife
- He had originally interned at Rick Owens
- He's always been described as part of the very hip London "clubbing" scene.
My favourite thing about Gareth Pugh:
"He never gives his collections a title or clarifies a theme for them. He sees his work as a single seamless flow of ideas that expands or contracts to his bidding." (Style.com)
I see this kind of undefined process as having a visual conversation with one-self entirely in the public eye - every statement made is an offer to respond. It's like we have been invited to eavesdrop on Pugh's very personal, very emotional monologue, and witness it develop as a result of the speed and immediacy demanded by the industry. This means that when you buy a Gareth Pugh product, you buy one of his thoughts, his sentences... Definitely the kind of design integrity the fashion industry needs.
Below is a time-line of some of his work beginning in 2006 (I have selected some of my favs, however these are not always the most dramatic of his work. I recommend checking out more at Style.com)
Oh and one more thing... How lovely does this guy look???
Earlier this week we filmed the first ever Hermione Flynn fashion film. The result was phenomenal and truly exceeded all my expectations. The film is yet to be released and will not be launched for at least several weeks, so instead I am dedicating this post to one of my greatest inspirations... Matthew Barney's The Cremaster Cycle.
The Cremaster Cycle, is my fashion-film inspiration bible. Quoted as "one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema."Made up of five feature length films, The Cremaster Cycle is an exploration of body, character, costume, movement, space and sculpture all through the lens of a moving camera. The aesthetic is like none other. Beautiful, crisp and considered, as well as raw, shocking and visceral. The preoccupation with the body as a living, breathing, seeping, excreting biological form is prominent throughout the whole series, and this is presented in conjunction with a kind-of sterile commercial mania. It is these juxtaposing aesthetics which I find most engaging about Barney's work.
Ps. Matthew Barney is also Bjork's husband... Go figure!
It was less than 11 months ago when I was announced as one of the Top 10 Westpac Young Fashion Designers in NZ. Three collections, one website, one fashion film and 4 retailers later... It sure has been a busy 11 months!
This was my entry at the time, The Gentlewoman.
And this was the collection entered by the very talented Celia Phillips called "Yearning for Zion." I was well impressed by her work.