Where the world of cinema and that of fashion meet
Modeconnect has invited French film director Coban Beutelstetter to propose a selection of fashion videos around a theme of his choice. Coban has chosen 8 fashion films. He explains below how and why. Every day between Sunday April 28 2013 and the Sunday May 5 2013, Modeconnect will publish one of these fashion films.
I am a filmmaker and naturally a film enthusiast; I confess I am more interested in films than fashion. What of fashion film, you may ask? Well they are films aren’t they? When I first started looking into fashion films however, I thought that the world of cinema and that of fashion were world apart. I could not imagine how they would connect or how they could feed one from the other.
For this to happen I felt a number of difficulties needed to get resolved first. At the time the most obvious problem was a financial one; only a few years ago film production costs were such that only the largest labels could afford to produce a fashion film.
Furthermore, the fashion film genre was not well defined and had to be refined. A real collaboration between fashion designers and film makers had to happen to create a new mode of expression. The commercial purpose and distribution network of fashion films were ill defined and the genre had no codes, no references that allowed an easy grasp of the experience. In the early days most fashion films were visual UFOs. There was some great fashion films and some really strange ones, often you could not be entirely sure what you were looking at and what the point of it was. Fashion films seemed to fall in either of two categories: the motion look book or the art films. In either case there was little cinematic storytelling.
In recent years, increased distribution of videos through the internet and collapse in production cost as led to an explosion of films making. Distinctions between genres have become increasingly fuzzy and our ability to watch and make films that cross those borders has greatly increased.
Filmmakers do not hesitate to submit draft short films to designers. Designers are more easily seduced by the idea of a cinematic narrative and no longer fear that their designs, the garments, may be seen as secondary. In a few years fashion films have been transformed; neither simple nor obscure many are full fledge films with solid narrative. These stories prove solid foundations to promote garments and label; sometimes associating a strong emotional response with their brand. By talking about people’s lives these films help designers engage and connect with their customers.
Certainly the exercise remains tricky. I see the balance between form and content as a key element in the success of fashion a film. Film making must be effective to support a narrative, while the telling of the story must be light enough avoid overloading the viewers with information, running the risk to make the collection invisible.
Modeconnect has given me carte blanche to curate this selection of fashion films. When selecting these 8 films, I was interested in finding out how the traditional codes of cinema could be of service to fashion films. I was interested to understand how different filmmakers changed and adapted the codes of various cinema genres to meet the needs of a brand identity. I am very happy to have been able to select films from a large range of traditional genres including film noir, thriller, comedy, and independent cinema.