The Impression’s Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season

BY KENNETH RICHARD | The Impressionist

We are living in one of the most dynamic eras of marketing, with unprecedented change due to the internet. Like TV and radio, marketers are learning to adapt to the consumer’s appetite for content, with many now recognizing that they are in fact publishers, every bit as much as magazines have been. The advent of digital has changed the face of our industry, enabling brands to become ‘entertainers,’ especially as the barrier to entry is as simple as a web page. No longer locked into the exorbitant cost of thirty second television spots, fashion is slowly starting to recognize the handcuffs are off and they can now tell stories in motion like never before. At The Impression we love to champion these forward thinkers and doers who have embraced all the internet has to offer and are delighted to share The Impression’s Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season.

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Designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of New York cutting edge label, Public School, play with the theory of fashion this season by continuing to pull at its strings. The designer duo has teamed up once again with Creative Director Christopher Simmonds and lensman Gregory Harris for their Spring 2015 ad campaign, which features models at a glass board writing equations. Up-and-coming director Maria Gordillo, who is no stranger to writing herself, as she was after all a copywriter for 8 years, directs the fast-paced piece.  The Impression hopes all parties involved solve the ultimate fashion equation of growth. Looks like they are all on their way.

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In yet another example of a model taking on multiple roles, model Jade de Lavareille of IMG Models straps on a camera to take us behind the scenes at the fall 2015 Chanel show and adds director, filmmaker, and editor to her resume. The result is the best backstage video of the season and what we hope is the beginning of a fresh fashion career for the young model and filmmaker.

The film is 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 has a great eye for knowing where to focus and when, all while multitasking as a model.

The French Swiss model’s editing and music choices in post production show a panache for storytelling beyond her years and 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.

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Fashion has its own set of laws –  from visual esthetics to marketing speak – that admittedly, when viewed from outside, are understandably hilarious. It would appear that Berlin Fashion Week title sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, and fashion insider Justin O’Shea, buying director at online high fashion boutique, are in on the joke and more than happy to poke a little fun at the drama of fashion in their new promotional video for Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week.

The video, directed by Danny Sangra, is a joy ride of fashion parody with O’Shea suffering from a Walter Mitty syndrome of fashionable illusions of grandeur. These illusions cross over into his everyday activities, causing him to walk in slow motion while imaging his life as a fashion icon or monolog in fashion speak to no one in particular. Along for the ride, in stunning 1970 Mercedes C111 with gull wing doors no less, are Justin’s real-life girlfriend and fashion editor Veronika Heilbrunner, fashion editor Julie Knolle, and fellow colleagues at, Gabriel Chipperfield and Raphael Chipperfield.

O’Shea, who along with Heilbrunner is often featured as a street style star here at The Impression, really shows some sharp acting chops with the piece and seems destined to be cast in a Wes Anderson film at the very least. We appreciate a little fashion parody now and again, and encourage all of you to give the slow-mo walk a try.

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For the last several years, fashion, film, and brands have been at a crossroads, trying to determine the role that film plays in fashion. Meanwhile, fashion publications have skated by that pileup to glide down their own lane and simply enjoy all the medium has to offer.

For Spring 2015, Vogue enlisted director of the moment, Gordon von Steiner, to help them take us back to the era of roller disco while showing off the resurgence of high-waisted pants. Set designer Graham Huber helps transports us to a 70’s, neon-colored world of electric blues, greens, violets, and reds as model Vanessa Axente does her roller boogie thing. Vogue reminds us that fashion is just fun and some of the best ideas are the simple ones. It’s high-waisted pants being shown off at a roller skating rink . . . now go. However, that ‘go’ is all about the craftsmanship and execution, which are designed to do one thing . . . entertain. So before you dig too deep into an ethereal video concept and overwork your fall campaigns, The Impression suggests just lacing up some skates and rolling with it.

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Talk about business casual! Quiksilver Japan has created the “True Wetsuit,” a wetsuit that is designed to look like an actual business suit, and together with digital agency TBWA/Hakuhodo, has created a kowabunga of a video to show it off.

The video begins with a man dressed in his business suit driving, we assume, on his way to the office. But the waves are calling him! He drives to the beach and runs into the sea with his surfboard, all without changing from his suit. As he catches the waves, he casually pushes the button on his pen, which automatically sends texts to his boss reading “Stuck in traffic”. The video closes with the man at work, looking professional in his suit, as if nothing ever happened.

With a combination of jersey neoprene and “dryflight” fabric, this wetsuit is fully functioning from office to ocean. The suits are available in three options: navy, black and tuxedo for a price tag of $2500 as well as shirt, pants and jacket separates. Quiksilver Japan created corresponding accessories, because what true suit would be complete without a tie? And just in case inspiration strikes while on board, not to worry, Quiksilver Japan even created a waterproof diary and pen.

As others join, The Impression imagines this will bring a whole new meaning to ‘Board Meeting.”

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Vera Wang, the designer whose brand has grown to quintessentially represent bridal, has released a bridal video that boldly zips to the industry’s zag. Rather than resting on the industry laurels and offering a canned, realistic tribute to the transformative event of getting married, Vera Wang and director Gordon von Steiner produced a hauntingly romantic film that feels like a fever-induced dream that drips with passion.

In the piece, a coven of brides wearing sultry, sheer dresses are haunting a decrepit building, passionately lounging on day beds, running through hallways and caressing sheets, all set to an eerie soundtrack. Mid film, the tempo quickens as a new muse emerges through a ripped sheet to provocatively dance with fierce and passionate bravado.

Director von Steiner worked with Wang last year on her bridal piece and went on to become the director of photography on Prada’s haunted resort film by Steven Meisel as well as Coach’s spring film by Meisel and Fabien Baron. Von Steiner has a fluid cinematic hand that is uniquely his in the pieces and knows just how to draw the viewer in with sweeping pans and orchestrated movements by his actors. It is clear that not unlike the legendary director Sergio Leone, von Steiner starts with the musical piece first and films to synchronize, which makes for more emotional storytelling.

The film is not what first comes to mind when one thinks of bridal. It is passionate, lustful, unexpected and original. No wonder Vera Wang represents bridal so well.

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You have to hand it to Miuccia Prada for her continued exploration and pushing of fashion, art, and film boundaries. For spring Prada continues its 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, revolves 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 comes 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, De Wilde shows 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.

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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 is, in fact, fabulous.

The video is dripping with memory, saturation, sophistication, sexiness and humor while shot in the unlikeliest of places, the suburbs.  Steiner and Meisel recently partnered on Prada’s holiday haunting and have developed a shorthand of sweeping camera pans. With the addition of Fabien Baron’s creative direction, the piece falls into place, hitting all the right emotional notes as the viewer is brought into the environment with just the right amount of windswept pause before ‘Every Night’ by Josef Salvat starts to play. The music is ‘choice,’ providing just the right amount of smirk and sexiness as we watch this suburban girl we’ve seen before. The one who is too big for the town and is 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.

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The design duo Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, aka Rag & Bone, understand that creating consumer mindshare requires thinking beyond borders. So 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 boarderless film.

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 and Rag & Bone completely filled the void.


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Fashion film is a medium that lets brands break out of the confines of the still images to expand upon their DNA and develop an emotional connection with the consumers. This season Cartier takes our number one spot for fashion films with their French ensemble film by Sean Ellis, “The Proposal.” The film intertwines three love stories set in the City of Lights, offering the brand to show how they play a role in the most important three words of all . . . “I love you.”