In the current world of professional entertainment, it is often that we (both the viewers, and creators) experience film and television work blending with fashion design. For instance, the star’s of the hot CW network television series, Gossip Girl are blossoming into fashion icons because of the way they wear the hottest couture in their television roles as the newest generation of Manhattan’s elite high society. However, connections between film and fashion design don’t stop there. In fact, lately they have been getting much more literal…
Recent trends show that several high-end luxury fashion lines have commissioned renowned film directors to create cinematic short films to advertise their clothing lines. For example, director Martin Scorsese has worked with the house of Chanel on short films. Additionally, director Kenneth Anger has been commissioned by Missoni for the same, and famous film auteur, David Lynch has directed shorts for both Gucci and Dior. When considering such projects, one might wonder how fashion designers have convinced such prolific directors to work on cinematic shorts that shamelessly advertise their designs. While the shorts can hardly be classified as commercials, they certainly walk a fine line between art and pure advertisement.
In the budget-less world of luxury fashion, the success struggle is a race to the height of sophistication, as well as finding creative ways to advertise with a certain cool duplicity. It is to show off the clothes without being overt. It is a science. Since money is no object for both the famed designers and film directors, they work together to challenge each other in other ways. The fashion line strives to advertise in the least conventional way, and the director strives to take the superficial idea of a fashion line and derive from it his own creative vision in film. The result is a marriage in style. The literal style of a designer’s work is complimented by the director’s working style. This culmination of style is what makes these cinematic fashion shorts so powerful.
In 2010, the luxury clothing line Proenza Schouler released a short film directed by offbeat filmmaker, Harmony Korine. In the short, entitled Act Da Fool, Korine tells the story of a group of young women living in poverty, and entertaining themselves with child-like antics on the slummy streets of a town in Tennessee. All the while, the girls are dressed to the nines in Proenza Schouler’s latest designs. What is perhaps captivating about Act Da Fool is the stark contrast between the lives of the characters in the short film, and the clientele to which a high-end fashion line like Proenza Schouler is actually available to.
The obvious disconnect between the world of luxury couture and the universe of hopelessness in which Act Da Fool exists must be trying to say something beyond the admiration of clothes, or the fetishism of a lifestyle of poverty. Perhaps there is a connection to be drawn between the nihilism of the life of a street kid and the nihilism of the utter excess of the fashion world. Both are fetishized, romanticized and in their own ways, useless, yet existing nevertheless.
This is the reason in which several fashion designers decide to work with famed film directors to create fashion shorts. They are looking for advertisements that say more than just, “buy my clothes! “.