Diane Pernet on the future of fashion film

The founder of ASVOFF handpicks her top five artists who are challenging the conventional parameters of film

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After making pit stops in Milan, Tokyo and Moscow, A Shaded View on Fashion Festival unveiled its NYC edition this weekend, presented in partnership with FIAF and Kering. Aside from the eclectic mix of fashion films, the event also featured talks with directors Mike Figgis and Jerry Schatzberg, as well as a screening of Schatzberg’s pivotal film, Puzzle of a Downfall Child.

“It was a big deal for me to do ASVOFF here. I think it’s really important to show the diversity of what you can reflect on fashion through film,” Pernet says. “That’s the whole DNA of the festival, the diversity and as well the international aspect. Every time the festival travels, the idea is to inspire and be inspired; to get more directors to submit films and more collaborations between directors and designers. It’s just about always trying to push the level up, up, up.”

In celebration of ASVOFF NYC, Dazed asked founder and fashion film pioneer, Diane Pernet to chart her five favourite fashion films from the festival’s selection.

THE FOUR DREAMS OF MISS X - SHADOWS BY MIKE FIGGIS, STARRING KATE MOSS

“I think it’s so amazing and figuring that when she was filmed, because it’s night vision, she was walking in total darkness. It’s just her and him. It creates such a mood and shows a product well. It’s a film first.  And okay, the fashion is a protagonist but it’s not like, “Here’s the product”.  It has no sell-out date. It’s absolutely as valid now as it was when it was made. It’s her first acting role and he’s such a brilliant director. Even when she bumps into something because she’s in the dark, it’s great. And playing with the voice, these are things you can do in film, you can’t do it in a photo shoot.”

SHE SAID, SHE SAID DIRECTED BY OSCAR WINNER, STUART BLUMBERG

“I just love that film. I never tire of looking at that. Again, it’s really constructed as a film. It’s not a photo shoot, it’s a film and you get totally into the characters.  They look great, the way it builds up with the sense of humour, because I think humour is something we’re really missing in fashion. I like the character development, the scene with the dog in the park, the washing the car and then the end, the dress. How much better could you show fashion? That was so good. It’s all about desire, isn’t it? The idea of doing a fashion shoot or a fashion show, it’s want and desire on one level or another and that crystallised it for me. And the actors, they’re bonafide actors, the script is great and you can’t help but laugh with it.”

I WANT MUSCLE BY ELISHA SMITH-LEVEROCK, FEATURING KIZZY VAINES

“That film has a special meaning to me. Everybody has a different concept of what beauty is, and this particular woman, she looks so powerful. I like what she said, just her approach about power and her sense of beauty, which is, like anything, so open to interpretation. What I might think is beautiful, you might think is hideous or vice versa. The way that the soundtrack was too, the credits, the colour – the whole thing I just loved it. And again, it has no sell out date, it will be as relevant in ten years as it is right now, all of those films. To me, that is what I’m looking for, which in a way maybe is the opposite of what fashion is supposed to be. Fashion is supposed to have a sell out date, otherwise the industry doesn’t continue. But I think there should be no sell out date for concepts and brands.” 

LE DERNIER CRI BY ERWIN OLAF

“I’ve loved Erwin Olaf and his work for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of his films. He’s had maybe four films in my festivals over the years. This one was in You Wear It Well, which was in 2006, my festival before ASVOFF. I like the way the set is, the tension sort of builds up. It’s very stylised, very provocative in its own way. It just leaves you wanting more.”

HOLI HOLY - A FILM BY MANISH ARORA BY BHARAT SIKKA, STARING BISHI BHATTACHARYA

“It’s fantastic because you have the story of these widows that after they became widows had to wear white, they could now wear colours. It’s celebrating the widows of Varanasi. It’s also interesting to me because Manish was on the jury for ASVOFF three years ago. He got so into the whole process, that’s what inspired him to make a film. (The making of the film) was under the worst conditions like a low budget and they hadn’t had so many monsoons in forty years. Bishi (Bhattacharya), she’s got an amazing voice and an amazing presence. They’re a great match. It’s a beautiful story and you really see the clothes. And all those things that happened by chance like the guy in the red toga walking by, there are all these little incidents. Even the fact that the rain was so intense that where you had those pyres, normally you would see them from the ground up, you only saw from the top because the water was so high. It was really hard to shoot.  You see all the water in there, it was a mess, but they did it with passion. They almost got electrocuted in the boats, but they did it a hundred percent. He couldn’t believe it when he won three prizes, he was totally shocked.”

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