By  on March 15, 2010

Popcorn would have been the perfect accessory for those attending the fall men’s shows in Milan and Paris.

Just ask John Galliano, who believes there is nothing like a little movie magic to build excitement. “Fashion shows are trailers to a whole season,” Galliano observes, riffing on a modern interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, the super sleuth recently portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., for fall.

In both cities, celluloid scene-stealers transported audiences from cramped show spaces to far-flung locales. In the case of Dolce & Gabbana, guests were directed to Sicily, since images from the Italian film Baarìa were used as a backdrop.

“The idea was to bring out different moods and expression, because just like with a movie, we wanted to leverage the emotional side,” explains Stefano Gabbana. Prepped with acting classes to best interpret their roles, glowering models-cum– film stars entered in packs from stage left to a melancholic Ennio Morricone soundtrack, echoing the emotion-packed scenes from the film, which included handsome Latino men hanging out in tattered corduroys and tank tops, hordes of people massed on the street at a Sicilian village festival and a little boy running as fast as he could to see if he could fly.

But playing tear-jerker movies wasn’t the only way to get a rise out of the audience. Pringle of Scotland’s creative director, Clare Waight Keller, for instance, tapped a fellow Scot, artist David Shrigley, to dream up a whimsical animated short about the making of Pringle’s knitwear that had guests, including Tilda Swinton, in stitches. “Dude, that was brilliant. I want a copy for my kids,” Swinton said on the sidelines of the show.

It was a learning experience for Waight Keller as well as for Shrigley, who admitted, prior to filming, that he had no idea what a twinset was. “David’s film didn’t directly influence my collection, but it absolutely made me think about Scotland, its traditions and heritage,” Waight Keller recalls. “He could give another point of view, almost in layman’s terms, and teach us not to take ourselves too seriously.”

It’s also a viable communications tool, to boot. The film generated more than 40,000 hits on YouTube alone. “It has been such a wonderful way to communicate the message with humor, which is infinitely more memorable,” Waight Keller says.

Taking a more serious approach, Stefano Pilati, YSL’s creative director, called Bruce Weber to the director’s chair for his recent men’s show. Weber’s seven-minute clip presented beautiful men and women frolicking in states of undress, setting an erotically charged mood for the androgyny-tinged show that followed.


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