Desire: c’est la vie

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Jalouse / Matthew Frost

There is an interesting quote from film philosopher and cultural critic ‘maven’ Slajov Zizek that says:

“Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn’t give you what you desire – it tells you how to desire.”

In a sense, that’s also true for fashion film: we don’t actually get to have all those nice clothes, accessories, that beautiful face, a nice apartment or anything that we see on screen. We’re just there to look at them. Seeing those images, it tells us what we should want from life. It shows us why we should aspire to certain things, not only materials (such as clothing), but also larger idyllic ways of seeing the world around us. But fashion film also complicates this statement…

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Fashion film is not just about “pretty”

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Youness Benali

When first encountering the “fashion film,” many people have this idea that it’s all about glam, that it’s about showing these fashionably dressed and made-up personas in an idealized world of transcending beauty where everything just seems so overly perfect it’s surreal. To some extend, this is what fashion film does, Chanel being a perfect example. But there’s a whole different face of the fashion film…

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Cinema for your phone

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Innfâll / Miquel Díaz Pont

 

Schermafbeelding 2016-04-06 om 11.14.00

Miquel Díaz Pont’s fashion film “Vertical Love” is especially made to be seen on the telephone screen.

The fashion film is a genre that exists almost exclusively online. Yes – of course we have the fashion film festivals too, that puts the digital film, or rather video, back in the classical context of cinema, consisting of a dark room with a big wide screen on which the film is projected. But the contemporary fashion film is originally digital and is therefore meant to be seen on any screen we have available to us every day. How does this differ the fashion film from film in general?

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The difference between the fashion film and commercial

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Ted Baker

When I’m being asked to explain what a fashion film is, one of the most common confusions people have is the difference with straight-up fashion commercials. They wonder, is the fashion film actually just a covered-up advertisement that is only made in order to stimulate the sales of fashion consumer goods? What exactly is it that distinguishes the fashion film from more traditional audiovisual publicities?

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The fabric of fashion film

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Issey Miyake
“If fashion can be said to be cinematic in its social and visual effects, then cinema is also very clearly a primary product of the aesthetic and technological processes of fashioning.” – Christopher Breward

When you think about it, fashion and film have quite a lot of things in common. For example, the montage and cutting techniques that build up a film is similar to cutting and stitching clothes. Even their materiality is related, as both the film and the fashion industry were boosted by the expansion of the plastic industry: celluloid was first used in (wearable) synthetic materials (see Esther Leslie). But there is more.

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High fashion and fat juicy fast food

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Tn'T / Vogue
Mukbang” is a type of performance in which someone eats large quantities of food, while interacting with their audience. Usually done through a webcast, mukbang became popular in South-Korea in the 2000s.

NY based filmmakers Tn’T (Tarik Malak & Timothy Douglas), in collaboration with Vogue Korea and supermodel Jessica Stam, wanted to take the first “haute couture” spin on this digital phenomenon. The film is also a tongue-in-cheek homage to the glorious days of “porno chic” fashion photography, as well as low-fi internet graphic design, and a genuine love letter to modern Internet culture and Korean food.

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The “liquid” universe of the digital fashion film

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Kevin Frilet / Uncategorized

Under is a film about depths. About being completely indulged in our surrounding. It’s about touch, connection, and love. And about being alone. It’s about our barest bodies. But what’s the place of fashion?

“Up there the light is white. Bodies fall from the surface. The water is bright, seems alive. Down there, from the abyss, darkness reigns. There she will deploy as for the first time. It’s there, amid the darkness, that will appear another form, that of a man.”

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Backstage Fashion Week with Alexa Chung

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Akoo / Alexa Chung / Vogue

Alexa: “I’m giving them an inside scoop on fashion week”
Nick Grimshaw: “Oh it’s really serious ;)”

Since the initiation of Vogue’s style.com, which allowed for a visual opening up of the former strictly exclusive world of fashion (read more), magazines have found different ways to engage with the bigger public. This was caused and reinforced by two things: one is the immersive growth of consumer culture, the other the emergence of the digital world. People needed and wanted to consumer more, which was of course partly made possible by advertisement and the becoming “visible” of more products and services. Also, the online network stimulated still another way of shopping for which one didn’t even have to leave the house, encouraging the global exchange of goods for competitive prices, which is what the capitalistic society drives on. It promoted the idea of “I shop, therefore I am” with the availability of an ever increasing diversity of goods and services. This implicated that what you consume defines who you are as a person. It’s a way of consciously creating your identity – that is, by means of unconscious manipulation of course.

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Animation and the fashion film

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Hermès / Ugo Gattoni

Animation in fashion film is hot, whether it’s a cartoon, a collage or an interaction of illustrated elements with the camera’s eye. Its techniques are versatile and can, most importantly, create an infinite amount of possibilities. Everything we can imagine can be animated. That’s why the world of animation is limitless. This makes it the perfect medium to portray the dreams of fashion.

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The fashion film as lucid dream

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Iris van Herpen / Nick Knight

“When I design, the draping process most of the time happens to me unconsciously. I see lucid dreams as a microscope with which I can look into my unconsciousness. In this collection, I have tried to bring my state of ‘reality’ and my state of dreaming, together.” – Iris van Herpen


Historically, dress used to be a reflection of one’s social status in society. It wasn’t until the disappearance of the solid “classes” in the 20th century that dress became rather a means of individual expression of the inner self. Today, Iris van Herpen has gone even further than that. With her collection “lucid” she intents to create fashion as an expression of the unconscious as a means of ultimate “being true to one self”.

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