Over the years, fashion designers have embraced the mutual inspiration and influence between fashion and cinema. As film is considered to be an extension of photography, it is an extended medium for storytelling. Although, the relationship of film and fashion isn’t anything new, the representation of fashion through video content has expanded through commercials to feature-length films. The role of which fashion plays in a film or production is significant to an extent of how it contributes to building the aesthetic and dressing a character.
Fashion Film has been notably recognised to have come into its own genre. Through the visual medium of film, designers have opened up to the idea of collaborating with filmmakers to help further express their creativity, aesthetics, ideas and values. There are no limitations; all that is required is that the clothes are showcased. This allows a creative freedom for the filmmaker to express, play around and create any kind of structure that portrays and reflects the tone and influence of the clothing, whether it follow a narrative, abstract or even experimental structure (i). As it is often that a season collection is created and inspired to embody a kind of character and/or a theme, then there is that opportunity for it to be further imagined, portrayed and visually expressed and communicated in a short film, however, the process may vary.
Many fashion photographers and filmmakers have gone behind the camera to create fashion short films; such as Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Prada, Lena Dunham for Rachel Antonoff, Spike Jonze for Olympia Le-Tan and countless more. The room for innovation also allows considerations for possible aspects such as music, production and set design, hair and make-up, visual effects and the many departments and creative talents to enhance and contribute to the mood, experience and vision. Often well-known or up-and-coming talents are brought into the project modelling the clothing in the film, in some cases as costume. Through this extension of video content, fashion brands have also come to understand the value of how this medium can, not only share their vision, but also promote the brand and be accessible to larger audiences through the rise of the internet and social networks. It is acknowledged that photographer Nick Knight was one of the first to really recognize the internet’s potential, in 2000 with showstudio.com and how he reinvented the way we perceive fashion images (ii).
The idea of potential storytelling, creative expression and vision is exciting, and the possibilities for reinventing fashion images are unpredictable. Contemporary fashion house, Rodarte has collaborated with photographer Todd Cole for three short films to date. Their recent 13 minute short film, “This Must Be The Only Fantasy” is an interesting example that has creatively engaged with the means of storytelling and the experience of their pieces.
It is an epic fantasy film inspired by Rodarte’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection that brings together magical realism, 1980’s video games and haute couture, and is a visual effects-driven ode to fantasy role-playing games (ii).
As the phenomenon of the fashion short film has taken off quite impressively, it’s interesting to see how it will progress from here.
(i) Ferrucci, F, (unknown year), The Rise of The Fashion Short, viewed 24 August 2014, http://www.goodshortfilms.it/en/articles/the-rise-of-the-fashion-short
(ii) The Creators Project, (unknown year), This Must Be The Only Fantasy by Rodarte and Todd Cole – About the Video, viewed 24 August 2014, http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/show/ithis-must-be-the-only-fantasyi-by-rodarte-and-todd-cole
Stills from the film, This Must Be The Only Fantasy by Rodarte and Todd Cole, viewed 24 August 2014, http://officialrodarte.tumblr.com/post/83561792707/vote-for-our-short-film-this-must-be-the-only