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Defining Moments: Girls on Film

Designers are increasingly embracing the charms of the digital world.

A still from the Gareth Pugh film.
Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 11/08/2010

While the focus during the shows is on the runways, designers are increasingly embracing the charms of the digital world. Indeed, there were so many fashion films on a loop during the spring 2011 shows, it seems the still image could have a rival for the fashion world’s affections. Hussein Chalayan and Gareth Pugh both showed films instead of holding conventional runway shows to present their spring collections. Pugh collaborated with director Ruth Hogben to make a film showing model Kristen McMenamy writhing around wearing Pugh’s flared leather pants and sculpted jackets.

Chalayan directed a stark film for his collection, which was inspired by Japan’s isolationist Sakoku period. Models were filmed walking in a spare spotlight, and in one of the shots, hooded figures fluttered the skirts of a model’s delicate floral dress. “There is always this performative element to my work, [so] film for me has been quite a natural medium,” Chalayan said.

Some emerging London designers also took to the screen, like Jonathan Anderson of JW Anderson.

While film is undeniably having a moment, many labels are also showing their wares on smaller screens, via the Internet. Louis Vuitton showed spring looks in 360 degrees on Facebook or via the iPhone and iPad, on the same day as its show. And Burberry, which has led the charge in live-streaming runway shows, offered customers the chance to buy selected pieces from its spring Burberry Prorsum collection online—for delivery seven weeks later— and via an iPad app as the looks were shown coming down the runway on its Web site. Bottega Veneta live-streamed its show via bottegaveneta.com—but the video was only visible on that day and to the label’s top customers who were given a password to access the site, and invited to place their spring orders immediately following the show.