Perpetually dressed in black with a veiled head, Diane Pernet hides his devouring eyes behind a pair of sunglasses with very dark lenses. She is the founder of “A Shaded View On Fashion Film”, a festival dedicated to short fashion films and videos from around the world that aims to bring together the worlds of fashion and cinema. Redmilk meets her to discuss some of the hidden aspects of the fashion world.
How has fashion changed with the possibilities of video and blogging?
More than how fashion itself has changed, I think it is how we consume and receive fashion that has changed with the era of blogging. Everyone is privy to fashion in real time, via live streaming and instant coverage thanks to sites like Nowfashion.
Are you referring to the fashion shows in particular?
Yes, because the old way of presenting fashion to an exclusive few is over. The power of the once omnipotent fashion PRs is also changing because it really matters less if you receive a ticket to a fashion show because, at the very least, you can watch it from the comfort of your computer where ever you want to be or wherever you are. Granted it is not the same experience but, more and more, the virtual experience of capturing shows is improving and advancing so that the gap between quality of the actual show and the show online is narrowing. Of course you can’t replicate the experience of being live when a true “fashion moment” happens on those rare occasions in shows when something is exceptionally moving, emotive or touching. A few designers do go far beyond the conventional catwalk presentation but for the most part it is just people walking up and down a ramp wearing clothes. The mood around the show isn’t often a spectacle or performance art like it used to be. So the difference between showing on the catwalk and showing in a showroom is not all that much anymore for the most designers. The real reason that most people need to attend shows now is to be seen themselves. To be seen is to be important enough to be in a good seat or to be seen outside a show to be photographed for their style to be documented and disseminated around the world. Either way, ultimately, it is more about self promotion than about experiencing what is being presented by the designer.
What are the blogs that have made an important contribution to the fashion world?
The one that I read on a daily basis is The Business of Fashion, for the rest I follow links of articles that interest me or are recommended/forwarded by people I trust. There are many blogs that fit the criteria of having made a contribution but the only blog that I go to regularly on a daily basis is BoF.
What aspects of the fashion world do you think the videocamera is able to bring out?
Fashion film works on levels that only the cinematic medium can do – obviously that includes elements like sound, movement, sequence, narratives and all the things that can create a rich atmosphere and context for a brand or designer. Crucially for fashion, with film, you are able to capture the clothes in motion and with a 360 degree perspectives – you also get a sense of subtleties like how a garment sounds or the light and shade it produces. All these qualities and many more make fashion film especially attractive for a fashion brand – especially in certain circumstances. Essentially, film allows the creators to tell the brand story or the collection’s story better.
What movie do you think best represents the perfect harmony between fashion and cinema?
The first fashion feature film, “Who Are You Polly Magoo”, by William Klein is still one of the best and “Les Stars” by the prolific image-maker Serge Lutens is a spine-tingling masterpiece that will be screened at ASVOFF 6 later this year. Aside from these, I love fashion documentaries like the one on Diane Vreeland, “The Eye has to Travel” (2011) and “Bill Cunningham New York” (2010).
Which movies has influenced your sense of style?
Nothing is ever a direct influence on my style. Not film; not icons; not a particular brand or designer. My style is something that’s very personal and probably a bit complex even if it is austere in some ways. In any case, I don’t see film as a source of inspiration for my personal style. But of course film is a wonderful and captivating source of inspiration for many other people when discovering their sense of style or refining their image. If you’re asking which films correspond in a way to my stylistic world, then I might say directors like Visconti, Pasolini, François Truffaut, Fellini and so on. They occupy my personal creative universe in some way. But there are many other directors and movies which have touched me in other ways that are just as important – being either intellectually stimulation or visually inspirational or emotionally provocative or viscerally moving…
Who is the most talented filmmaker of the moment?
There are many. If you mean “fashion filmmaker”, then I’d say a mix of established legends like Bruce Weber and Ellen Von Unwerth and slightly younger or more up-and-coming names like Lernet and Sander, Mert and Marcus, Marie Schuller, David Sims, Jason Last…
Together with Fondazione Pitti Discovery, you have launched a video contest to promote filmmakers who have made videos inspired by the world of fashion and Turkish culture, giving voice to one of the most vibrant creative forces in the world. What other countries do you think are the bearers of a creative and meaningful energy able to offer a new vision to the world?
Again there are many. A few places that immediately come to mind are London, obviously, and also Mexico, Iceland, Denmark, Malaysia… Every corner of the planet has a pocket of creativity. They just need platforms and access to the global network.
Which emerging designer you think could become big in the fashion world in the next years?
Iris Van Herpen, Jean Paul Lespagnard, Heaven Tanudiredja, looking forward to his first clothing line; his accessories line are brilliant.
Can you imagine yourself dressed in a different way?
No, not really. Can you?
What do you see through your dark sunglasses?
Everything, They help give me my “shaded view”.