Claudia De Salvo
As with numerous creative industries, the new found prominence of the internet has altered the fashion industry irrevocably. Not everyone will have the opportunity to see the ready to wear collections of high fashion brands modelled live on the runway. Conversely, everyone with an internet connection will still be able to tune into the action, whether it be from the comfort of their own homes, or from a pocket sized screen on the bus on the way to work. Brands would be foolish to ignore the new found omnipresence of the internet when campaigning for their yearly collections. The ready to wear collections of brands such as Prada and Givenchy have recognised this relatively recent market as they require a commercial approach to promotion, whilst still maintaining the prestige that is almost synonymous with haute couture. The fashion film is an optimum medium for this as it has the accessibility which is needed for a larger target audience, whilst the duration (slightly longer than your average TV commercial) allows for the conceptual growth and nuance which is associated with high fashion (i).
Prada: Spring/Summer Collection, 2014
Prada’s 2014 spring/summer ready to wear campaign capitalises on the potential of the fashion film. Resembling a collection of rare and exotic birds, eighteen models styled in Prada’s latest and brightest are portrayed as an audience of individuals who react to a series of unseen events. A tennis match, a horror film, a horse race and an opera to name a few, the viewer is never entirely sure what it is the models are watching, and we don’t really care. Herein lies the premise of the film; the girl in Prada turns the spectator into the spectacle (ii: The Telegraph, Feb 2014). This is emphasized by the simple black backdrop and This particular concept references a new approach in regards to the consumption of fashion. As a primarily online medium, the fashion film facilitates the viewer as an active spectator with the power to interfere with the time sequence of moving images. It is in this way that Prada, with their use of models as animated and engaging spectators, touches on a new fundamental way of consumption. Both the models and the viewer are no longer passive, and in the case of the ever prominent online fashion films, the viewer can be just as powerful as the garments being presented to them (iii).
(i) Khan, N 2012, ‘Cutting the body: Why the fashion image is no longer still’, Fashion Theory, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp. 235–250, retrieved 19th September 2014.
(ii) TheTelegraph.UK, Feb 2014, ‘Prada spring/summer 2014 campaign video: The spectators become the spectacle’, sited 16th of September, 2014, http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/videos/TMG10599386/Prada-springsummer-2014-campaign-video-The-spectators-become-the-spectacle.html
(iii) English, B 2007, ‘Globalization and E-fashion’, A cultural history of fashion in the 20th century: from the catwalk to the side walk, Oxford, UK: Berg, ch. 8, pp. 136-152.