Wings of woman, performing the past

(by Simonetta Buffo)

Well, you know, the new net aesthetic is what fascinates me. Every time I watch a fashion film, I find a lot of amazing and visionary elements for creating a new type of fashion communication. The strong reference to an old language of Cinema is surely one of these elements.

It’s undeniable that many fashion films use a cinematographic language, also mentioning great directors as, for example, Fritz Lang or Alfred Hitchock. Probably you remember Ugly  and Like a Worrior. Recently, several filmakers did fashion films with their own cinematographic style according to a particular idea of cinema: I’m thinking about Lady BLUE Shanghai –Lady Dior by David Lynch or Salvatore Ferragamo by Luca Guadagnino .

But we can find cinematographic references also in those fashion movies that are more visionary, for example in fashion films for Gareth Pugh by SHOWStudio, in which the movement of the lady shows a futuristic dance and, at the same time, it’s very similar to old frames of old movies, in which the movement of the lady was a pretext to admire her clothes.

I meditated on this aspect, while reading an article Book Review: Fetishes and Needful Things: Birds of Paradise and the Fashion in Film Project, by Lesley Chow  –

The author analyzes two old filmakers:

Fashion in Film (you know, the fashion film festival organized by Central Saint Martin) invited us to take a long look at L’Herbier’s The Sparrowhawk (L’Epervier, 1933) and Scent of the Woman in Black (Le Parfum de la Dame en Noir, 1931)

What it’s very interesting is to notice the author’s considerations of the strength of these images; she said:

Since space is not clearly defined, we glance up and down, here and there, becoming disproportionately attracted to a detail.… Stunning garments may appeal to consumers, but they are also a way of drawing the eye into an intense level of detail.

I find it amazing that we can observe the same linguistic approach in the most visionary fashion films, as The New York Performance by Gareth Pugh is; here we have three videos about the meaning of creating a collection, from the idea to the actual creation of clothes.

In the first one(Megalith), the screen is divided in eight equal parts, in which mainly there are different people with different clothes: the lay out changes frequently, because of a frenetic but harmonic movement of people;

in the second one (Chaos) there is not a clear screen subdivision, but we see people moving from left to right with the same frenetic but harmonic movements as in the first one. In these two films, the eye can’t fixe one of these figures: ciaks are very frequent, with a bombing effect. The result? We are attracted to the details, constructing our own choreography.

Contrarily, the third one (Ascension) goes on very very slowly, almost without music: for the first two minutes, more or less, nothing happens: a lady slowly is ascending with her flying dress, that becomes an angel shape with big wings. No movement, no sound. We are witnesses of a celestial moment, like creation in fashion may be, according to Gareth Pugh.

And it’s true: thanks to these images we have the opportunity to contemplate the supreme attention to the details of this young fashion designer.

At the end, this mezmerizing and expertly controlled use of this new fashion languague seems to work very well, starting from the oldest cinematographic language. Really incredible.


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