The advent of digital has changed the face of our industry, enabling brands to become ‘entertainers,’ and no medium entertains more than motion pictures. As fashion is no longer handcuffed to television and their 30-second formats, fashion houses have flocked to the medium, producing everything from series to first person narratives. To ring in the new year, and hopefully inspire the next round of cinematic masterpieces, here are THE IMPRESSION’S TOP 10 FASHION FILMS OF 2015.
BY KENNETH RICHARD
10 Breakfast at Chanel | Model Jade de Lavareille
Coming in at number 10 was model-turned-director Jade de Lavareille of IMG Models, who strapped on a camera to take us behind the scenes at the Fall 2015 Chanel show. The result was the best backstage video of the year and what we hope is the beginning of a fresh fashion career for the young model and filmmaker.
The film was shot entirely from Lavareille’s point of view as she wakes at 4:30, skateboards throughout Paris to the Grand Palais, enters backstage at Chanel’s “Brasserie de Gabrielle”, gets hair and make-up ready, sits with her fellow models to listen to instructions, does a run-through, gets dressed and stands in the line-up. It is as holistic a fashion backstage film as ever there was and Lavareille shows a panache for storytelling beyond her years. The Impression isn’t sure if we are looking at a model with the wisdom to tell a story from a new angle or the next Kathryn Bigelow. Either way, we wish her well and keep on rolling, Jade.
Director/Editor/Model | Jade de Lavareille IMG Models
Music | “Fade out Lines” by The Avener
9Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin | A Fistful of Wolves
Fashion has its own set of laws – from visual esthetics to marketing speak – that admittedly, when viewed from outside, are understandably hilarious. Berlin Fashion Week title sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, and fashion insider Justin O’Shea, buying director at online high fashion boutique MyTheresa.com, were in on the joke and more than happy to poke a little fun at the drama of fashion in their video for Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week.
The short, directed by Danny Sangra, was a joy ride of fashion parody with O’Shea suffering from a Walter Mitty syndrome of fashionable delusions of grandeur. Along for the ride, in a stunning 1970 Mercedes C111 with gull wing doors no less, were Justin’s real-life girlfriend and fashion editor Veronika Heilbrunner, fashion editor Julie Knolle, and fellow colleagues at Mytheresa.com, Gabriel Chipperfield and Raphael Chipperfield.
O’Shea, who along with Heilbrunner is often featured as a street style star here at The Impression, showed some sharp acting chops and seems destined to be cast in a Wes Anderson film at the very least. The Impression appreciates a little fashion parody now and again and laughing at oneself, especially when it comes from one of our own.
Written & Directed by | Danny Sangra
Creative Direction | Aldona Kwiatkowski-Neulandherzer
Producer | Scott O’Donnell
Talent | Justin O’Shea, Veronika Heilbrunner, Julia Knoelle, Gabriel Chipperfield, Raphael Chipperfield
DOP | Yannick Bonicka
Set Manager | Roland Albrecht
Colourist | Jack McGinity/Rushes
Makeup | Isabel Lipi
Music | Laurie Erskine
Sound | Johannes Kaschek
8H&M | Modern Essentials
H&M bends the fashion film genre, giving David Beckham his first speaking role for the fast fashion retailer and paring him with comedian Kevin Hart. In the film Hart shadows Beckham to research playing him in a new upcoming movie entitled ‘iBeckham’ and takes his method acting to comedic heights while living in Beckham’s house, sneaking into his bedroom to sleep next to him, answering phone calls from Beckham’s Mum while pretending to be Beckham, and even stealing his toothbrush.
The spot earns our eighth ranking because while Beckham plays straight man to Hart’s comedian, the retailer, under the capable hands of director Fredrik Bond, entertains while showing off the assortment of their Modern Essentials collection. Often on two totally different body types, as Hart wears the exact outfits that Beckham does.
The tagline “It’s all about getting the essentials right” was the perfect double entendre for the pairing, the collection, and what makes for a successful fashion film.
Agency | Adam & Eve/DDB London
Director | Fredrik Bond
Actors | David Beckham & Kevin Hart
Production Company | Sonny London
7MyTheresa.com & Balenciaga | Une Incroyable Excuse
Director Danny Sangra again makes our list with his ‘McGuffin’ of a movie, pairing MyTheresa and the house of Balenciaga. A McGuffin, popularized by director Alfred Hitchcock, is a plot device that builds motivation for the characters, but isn’t seen by the audience. Think: the glowing mysterious suitcase in Pulp Fiction.
Within the short a group of friends are supposed to meet for lunch but one is late. Which, as it turns out, is a habit that comes with a series of elaborate excuses. Eventually she shows up with another suspect excuse, and one amazing McGuffin of a Balenciaga handbag.
The three friends played by Marie Trestef, Jessica Cressy and Ines Terlet inject a sophisticated and comical sense to the spot, which has rich characterization. The short takes a completely nonsensical direction and the audience goes along with it due to their superb acting and good sense of humor. And if MyTheresa continues to call upon their McGuffin Man, Danny Sangra, he will quickly become one we can all claim to know.
Writer and Director | Danny Sangra
Models | Marie Trestef, Jessica Cressy, Ines Terlet
Director of Photography | Martial Schmeltz
Makeup | Celine Martin
Stylist | Isabella Caruana-Gordon
Hair Stylist | Olivier Henry
6Prada | Postman Dreams
Fashion films owe a profound “Thanks” to Miuccia Prada for her continued exploration and support of the medium. This year, the house of Prada continued their foray in championing fashion films with 5 new shorts by American photographer/filmmaker Autumn de Wilde to showcase the house’s Galleria bag.
The series, entitled The Postman Dreams, revolved around a Buster Keaton-like postman and his adventures in a surreal hybrid of Los Angeles meets Tuscany. The Postman threads through the series like Tim Roth’s comedic bellhop in the 1995 farce Four Rooms, weaving in and out of stories entitled The Postman, The Make Out, The Battlefield, The Tree, and The Laundromat. A brass band, The Blasting Company, provides the soundtrack and periodically pops up in the stories as part of the backdrop.
De Wilde, who came to fashion via her music videos and portraits of musicians such as Beck and The Raconteurs, has a director’s artisan touch for creating a world that is both familiar and fanciful. As writer and director, she showed a sharp comedic wit for storytelling along with a cinematic eye for direction. The characters are endearing, memorable, upbeat and playful, reminding us how a bag can be more than an accessory. And, ultimately, how a photographer can be so much more than a lensman.
Executive Producers | Max Burn, Eric Stern
Producer | Jessica Cooper Carlson
Director of Photography | Matthew J. Lloyd, CSS
Production Design | Adam Siegel & Tna Pappas
Editor | Miky Wolf
Casting Director | Dan Bell
Music | The Blasting Company
5Miu Miu | Subjective Reality
The pairing of cinematographer Gordon Von Steiner with Creative Director Giovanni Bianco and photographer Steven Meisel resulted in one of this year’s most sublime fashion films. Part mystery, part Urban Cowboy and part 60’s era photographs, the piece has an eerie allure, drawing the viewer into a world rife with contradictions and characters.
Shot by Steven Meisel, the campaign showcases the Miu Miu models lingering throughout the city, casting mysterious glares and turning heads. It seems as though the characters are part of a plot that is not quite revealed to the audience… leaving us longing for more. Ultimately, the piece touches on all the nuances that are ‘fashion’: emoting, emotional and engaging. It was a film that lives up to it’s title, “Subjective Reality.”
Agency | GB65
Creative Director | Giovanni Bianco
Photographer | Steven Meisel
Film & Editing | Gordon Von Steiner
Models | Maddison Brown, Hailey Gates, Mia Goth & Stacy Martin
Stylist | Olivier Rizzo
Hair | Guido Palau
Makeup | Pat McGrath
Set Designer | Stefan Beckman
4Tom Ford | I Want Your Love
There has been a wave of changes regarding how to present seasonal collections over the last few years, with everything from grandiose sets in foreign locations to short form video installations. Few, if any, have chosen to create what the world beyond fashion desires, which is, quite simply… entertainment.
Tom Ford broke that boundary, releasing his Spring 2016 collection in the form of a Soul Train dance off music video, featuring a lineup of models plus none other than Lady Gaga herself.
The result hit on all cylinders, blending the sexual energy of models flashing leopard panties, with the wow factor of a new music video by Lady Gaga. Smart, very smart. The thinking expanded the brand and resulted in the house’s most viewed fashion film.
Creative Director Trey Laird of Laird+Partners played the social card in a way that fit stylistically with the design house. Nick Knight’s visual acumen, along with Director of Photography, Benoit Delhomme, brought the standard Soul Train setting up to date. And long time Tom Ford collaborator, Carine Roitfeld, reminded us of why we are watching in the first place, as the collection dripped with sexiness we’ve always wanted from the house of Tom Ford.
And then there was the music. A specific piece concepted exclusively for the video and performed by Lady Gaga was again another sharp move by the designer, who knows sharp. All around this was a stellar piece of work by a team experienced enough to unite and take fashion to its next level, as well as help us usher in the next wave of sexiness.
Designer | Tom Ford
Agency | Laird + Partners
Creative Director | Trey Laird
Director/Photographer | Nick Knight
Director of Photography | Benoit Delhomme
Stylist | Carine Roitfeld
Entertainer | Lady Gaga
Models | Alex Dunstan, Aymeline Valade, David Agbodji, Kayla Scott, Lexi Boling, Lida Fox, Lucky Blue Smith, Mica Arganaraz, Tarun Nijjer, Valery Kaufman, Xiao Wen Ju
Casting Director | Stefanie Stein
Music | “Funk the Punk” by Lady Gaga
Producer | Niles Rodgers
3Coach | Suburban Splendor
There is a long held belief in fashion circles that the hiring of ‘fabulous’ talent delivers ‘fabulous’ results. The ‘fabulous’ creative director, the ‘fabulous’ photographer, the ‘fabulous’ model, the ‘fabulous’ manicurist, will ultimately deliver ‘fabulous’ results. But those in the know will inform you that while it helps hedge the bet, there are no guarantees. Results are the accumulation of talented players coming together to collaborate, develop a unique point of view, and partner in a way that brings out the best in each other. For the Spring 2015 Coach ad campaign video, the fashion guns of Baron, Meisel & Templer did just that, bringing cinematic wingman Gordon von Steiner into the mix and delivering something that was, in fact, fabulous.
The video dripped with memory, saturation, sophistication, sexiness and humor, all while shot in the unlikeliest of places, the suburbs. Steiner and Meisel partnered throughout the year and with the addition of Fabien Baron’s creative direction, the piece fell right into place, hitting all the emotional notes as the viewer was brought into the Coach world with just the right amount of windswept pause before ‘Every Night’ by Josef Salvat starts to play. The music was ‘choice,’ providing just the right amount of smirk and sexiness as we watched this suburban girl we’ve seen before. The one who was too big for the town and was ready to break out. The Impression hopes this dynamo team, too, breaks out and into features, as this is one team that understands that fabulous isn’t something that is made from trading on their names. It is made by the work those names produce.
Agency | Baron & Baron
Creative Director | Fabien Baron
Photographer/Director | Steven Meisel
Director of Photography | Gordon von Steiner
Models | Binx Walton, Dylan Xue, Grace Hartzel, Helge Vonderau, Julia Bergshoeff, Lexi Boling, Molly Bair, Valery Kaufman
Stylist | Karl Templer
Hair | Guido Palau
Makeup | Pat McGrath
Set Designer | Mary Howard
Casting Director | Ashley Brokaw
Music | ‘Every Night’ by Josef Salvat
2 Cartier | The Proposal
For Valentine’s Cartier went all out this year, developing a series of stories to celebrate love with an ensemble cast for filmmaker Sean Ellis. Intertwining three love stories set in the City of Lights, the film entitled “The Proposal” is just that… a real film full of characters, dialogue and something most fashion films lack: a beginning, middle and end.
Each of the storylines revolves around a proposal, of course, but it is how Ellis draws us to these characters that makes it a meaningful film. We get a sense of who they are, why they wish to propose and how profound their love is, in what is really a short amount of time.
The narrative arch draws the viewer into the spirit of the holiday as well as showing how the brand plays a role in the most important three words of all . . . “I love you.”
Director | Sean Ellis
Writers | Sean Ellis & Olivier Lécot
Actors | Christa Theret, Oisin Stack, Ana Girardot, Nicolas Bridet, Pierre Perrier & Anne Charrier
Cinematographer | Benoît Delhomme
Music | Robin Foster
1 Rag & Bone | Men’s Fall 2015 feat. Baryshnikov and Lil Buck
The design duo Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, aka Rag & Bone, took The Impression’s number one spot for fashion films this year for breaking show boundaries and paving the way for others to follow. Rather than take the traditional approach of showing their Fall 2015 Men’s collection via runway, the duo partnered with creative director Georgie Greville of Legs Media to create a fashion film that was literally out of the box. And so was the result, as the film went on to rack up close to 1.3 million views, which is sizably more than they could have reached via a full men’s fashion show.
Set in a vastness of space, the film entitled ‘Kinetic Conceptual’ stars dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov & Lil Buck, one a formally trained ballet dancer and the other a jookin street style dancer. The juxtaposition of the two couldn’t be more original in terms of casting. Making for an explosive pairing of dance styles set to the best music selection of the year for a video, and likely most difficult piece to edit to, “Ongyilkos Vasarnap” by Venetian Snares.
Greville knew well enough to let her dancers explore their space, all the while assuring the collection played a hero role. Wainwright and Neville were wise enough to understand disruption as well as have faith in Greville and the team at Legs Media to bring it. The piece was sublime and without boarders, on all levels. And for that it has earned The Impression’s pick as the Top Fashion Film of 2015.
Agency | Legs Media
Director | Georgie Greville / Legs Media
Photography | Andreas Laszlo Konrath
Starring | Mikhail Baryshnikov & Lil Buck
Supporting Cast | Jon Boogz, Race Imboden, Randy Carroll, Yuri Pleskun
Stylist | Clare Richardson
Hair | Cim Mahony
Makeup | Gucci Westman
Set Designer | Andrea Huelse
Cinematography | Santiago Gonzales
Executive Producer | Prodject
Video Producer | Sophia Rothbart/ Legs Media
Music | “Ongyilkos Vasarnap” by Venetian Snares