The British Fashion Council invited us down to the Bike Shed in Old Street on Sunday for its Fashion Film Launch just as London Fashion Week AW16 heated up. As evenings go this one was quick and only lasted an hour but it included a thought-provoking discussion on British style and subcultures and ended with three visual pieces that felt more like elongated commercials than ‘fashion films’ as they’re more commonly tagged.
The British Fashion Council invited us down to the Bike Shed in Old Street on Sunday for its Fashion Film Launch just as London Fashion Week AW16 heated up. As evenings go this one was quick and only lasted an hour but it included a thought-provoking discussion on British style and subcultures and ended with three visual pieces that felt more like elongated commercials than ‘fashion films’ as they’re more commonly tagged. If you’ve seen Sean Baker’s ‘Snowbird’ in collaboration with Kenzo then you’ll know what I mean when I say the title ‘fashion film’ seems more apt here. That aside, all of the three films shown on the night were as stimulating both visually and aurally, as they were purposeful and compact.
The night kicked off with a twenty-minute panel discussion that had ears tune in from every corner of the room and eyes zoom in on the projector that screened raw archival sequences from Ewan Spencer’s ‘Street, Style Sound’. The conversation, as much as it digressed, touched on 90s youth culture and its aesthetic, and brought about a sense of nostalgia for those in the crowd over the age of thirty-five, because, let's face it, everybody else was at least a decade younger. A handful of the excerpts featured cool kids rollerblading and going at it at warehouse raves and it bounced off the discussion on fashion culture very well, although at times you could tell several of the speakers were coming at it from a highbrow angle, or at least they wanted you to think that was the intention.
A brief pause commenced for all to take a ‘selfie’ and to sip on bottomless booze and then the films began. They didn’t disappoint either. Nick Thompson and Douglas Cox teamed up to create a trip-inducing piece for House Of Holland that managed to be acidic in tone and yet weirdly beautiful. The cinematography revealed a blonde female model rocking many-hued patterned dresses and amber shades in a car that shielded her from the searing sun above. Extreme long shots of her vehicle weaving along the rugged landscape had your eyes twist in your skull and it was pure visual pleasure. One dress in particular struck gold and featured a desert leopard print that looked deadly on her giving the model a kind of quirkiness that could have seen her star alongside Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro in 1998’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.
The film shot for River Island’s Design Forum was noticeably different in style and played like a music video you’d stumble across whilst flicking through MTV’s pop channels. It was slick and framed with precision and saw a female model miming the words to a pounding electro tune that blared across the arched, tunnel-like room where we stood. The film itself was dreamy and it placed extra emphasis on River Island’s new faux-fur range in collaboration with Sibling X. It was seen worn on America’s sandy West Coast and also inside a gorgeous beach house where the model pranced around wearing dark-shaded tops and jeans keeping things relatively simple and straightforward. The clothing looked timeless and that’s always a good thing I think.
It goes without saying that Dorateymur’s film was the most flamboyant out of the three. Awash with colour, and set up like a commercial with a cheesy voiceover, this one grabbed everyone’s attention and for the right reasons too. It showcased models wearing blue and pink chequered tops sprinkled in confetti like it was one big party. Another highlight was a youthful blossom dress that blurred the lines of what smart casual stands for and would look perfect worn this spring. All in all this one was great and George Micheal’s 1987 ‘Father Figure’ lifted the mood completely. The reception afterwards heard Prince fill the speakers and saw everybody slowly get their dance on because by this time the free gin and tonics had already filtered into the bloodstream.