Los Angeles-based actress, red-carpet model, writer and producer Dominika Juillet said the convergence of fashion and film is accelerating due to social media and new technologies, which is also making it easier for designers, independent filmmakers and consumers to share stories and create brand narratives. It’s also helping social and environmental justice messages go mainstream.
For example, Juillet wrote a short video directed by Ash Baron Cohen titled “Slick,” starring herself and Kane Soofie. The 1-minute, 19-second “Beauty for a Cause Project” clip opens with lovers on a beach reminiscent of the 1953 film “From Here to Eternity.” But it ends on a dark note with a strong environmental statement.
This past month, Juillet wrapped up work on “Cupid Episode 1” starring herself and Kayde MacMullen and directed by Nick Bicanic. It’s positioned as a TV miniseries, and uses 360-degree video technology. The pilot opens with Juillet in an alley leaning over a dead man. She’s wearing an evening gown lightly splattered with blood. The purpose? To capture a viewer’s attention.
“We use fashion and sex to get our audience immediately interested in something,” Juillet told WWD. “And then we tell them a cool story about something that we actually care about.”
With “Slick,” Juillet said the production was simple. “We had this male model that came in, and it was just me and him in Malibu — and you think it’s an ad for perfume,” she said, adding it was written “to feel like an opening to a couture collection, but there’s actually a deeper story behind it.”
Juillet, who has appeared in more than two-dozen films as well as in shorts and TV shows and has credits as writer and producer as well, said fashion provides a lot of inspiration. “What I love about fashion is the way it moves,” she explained. “The way that it flows.” She noted that designers are creating shorts and social film clips without plots — “but this is exactly how fashion should feel. I want a sense of the passion that drove a creation, and I think in a lot of ways designers are having to get more creative.”
With the democratization of fashion and film via social media, Juillet said technologies are relatively cheap, and “now an average person can operate a drone. But where is it headed? Fashion.”
“What are the most visual things? Fashion is all visual,” Juillet said. “There’s nothing more visual than fashion. So you can almost design an entire film around this notion.”
Juillet said in the current “digital or iPhone age,” anyone can “start making content. But there’s a difference between making content and making curated or articulate content.” The latter is born out of art, she added. And when married with fashion, it becomes something more elevated.
“There is no better convergence than placing your item of clothing or fashion apparel in something that’s going to be a poetic tribute to it,” Juillet said. “That’s film.”
Sometimes the convergence involves theaters as well. This past New York Fashion Week, Alexander Wang, for example, pushed out a video on social media touting the designer’s fall 2017 collection. It was filmed by Juergen Teller after the runway show, which was held at the abandoned Hamilton Theatre in Harlem, New York. The clip focused on models postshow, interacting with one another in the crumbling plaster and graffitied theater.
For her part, when on the red carpet, Juillet said she dresses to be “edgy.”
“For me, edgy is conversational and thought-provoking and is as interesting or as desirable as being just pure beauty,” she said. “Because beauty at the end of the day is just easy. It doesn’t stir conversation. It doesn’t get people excited. I like fashion that gets me excited and that’s one of the reasons that we did Cupid that way.”
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