Dressing The Screen

Curator Kathryn Ferguson takes British fashion film, including clips for Gareth Pugh, Vivienne Westwood and Hussein Chalayan, to China

Vivienne Westwood (BFI Archive)

If you're in Beijing, you still have a chance to catch Dressing The Screen, China's first exhibition of fashion film supported by the British Council, featuring designers and filmmakers including Nick Knight and Ruth Hogben, Alexander McQueen, Tim Walker, Rifat Ozbek, Vivienne Westwood, Ossie Clark, Hussein Chalayan and Gareth Pugh. The show highlights pivotal moments in fashion, film and technology – from pre-internet experiments such as the early films of Ossie Clark, Rifat Ozbek, Bodymap and Bella Freud, to pioneering technological advancements such as Burberry's holographic catwalk show and Cassette Playa's Augmented Reality. With the UK seen by many as the birthplace of fashion film, the exhibition explores the origins and role British filmmakers and designers have played in its development, alongside exciting demonstrations of China's own fashion industry experimenting with this new form of expression. Curator Kathryn Ferguson shares her thoughts.

"Fashion Film has become one of the main tools for showcasing fashion to the digital generation, giving immediate access to high fashion delivered in an exciting and dramatic way. The creative media of film allows the screen to capture, celebrate and disseminate the beauty and movement of garments on the body to ever-widening audiences.

The exhibition in China is a much larger exploration of the genre of fashion film and tracks its development from the mid 1930s through to today. We have been working together on this project for many months so we hope the two sections [UK and China] feel quite harmonious and serve as a cultural conversation between the two countries. The main difference between the Chinese and British parts is the historical content. Fashion film is a very new concept in China so most of the films from that section are from the past four years. We are incredibly fortunate in the UK to have extensive archives, in particular the BFI archive, which meant we could show early fashion and film experiments that date back as early as 1939.

I think narrative will play a larger role in the future, as will new technologies. It is a genre that is developing very rapidly and is literally shifting by the season. There is no doubt the craft of film making will become a bigger component of fashion promotion. In addition, one of the most interesting aspects of film, and one which potentially could have a huge impact, is that many of the fashion filmmakers are women. I'm incredibly excited that so many women are now shooting the female form. I believe this in itself is going to change how we view and experience fashion in the years to come."

The exhibition runs until 11th November at UCCA Gallery in Beijing's 798 Art District. All images courtesy of Dressing The Screen.
 

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