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NEW YORK — Beyond the glitz and glam of the red carpet, the Toronto International Film Festival will become even more fashion-savvy when Giorgio Armani premieres “Films of City Frames,” the design house’s new film initiative.

Created in collaboration with Luxottica and Rai Cinema, the project includes work from international film students, who were asked to create short movies using Armani’s Frames of Life eyewear as a “perceptual filter.” Giorgio Armani is also a sponsor of the festival.

This story first appeared in the September 6, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I have always thought that there is a close relationship between fashion and cinema, as they share a great power of fascination and the ability to create imagery,” Armani said of the initiative. “The image of the stars on the screen is conveyed not only by their behavior but also by what they wear. In the success of a film, not surprisingly, costumes and accessories are crucial, and it is not unusual for a film to launch a fashion trend. ‘American Gigolo,’ for example, launched my deconstructed jackets and my natural colors, taking my fashion aesthetic to an international level.…It was a crucial moment for me because it helped me to understand how much fashion is linked to a way of being, and how the cinema —and media in general — affects the public’s imagination. The link between fashion and cinema is very complex and fascinating.”

Armani noted that “Films of City Frames” should not be considered a “fashion film,” but rather “a collection of cinematic short films with true narrative value.” The project compiles the work of film students studying at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, London’s National Film and Television School, Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Paris’ Groupe Esra and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. The students were asked to film around their respective metropolitan areas, but given general free rein.

“I find that in many areas, like fashion and film, there is young talent that should be encouraged and supported,” said Armani. “Dealing with young, promising filmmakers and their work is undoubtedly an incentive for me: New and different perspectives always enrich one’s own vision.”

The final, 30-minute product is a collage of the six five-minute films, which are linked together by Armani’s eyewear. The scenes range from a wordless peek into a day-in-the-life of a photographer in Paris to a narrative of the countless missed connections on the streets of New York; a nearly silent look at aging in Hong Kong to a blossoming love story set in a London flower shop.

“I was struck by the uniqueness of each short film and the way in which the stories are developed within the urban space,” said Armani. “All of the films show a high level of technical proficiency and have interesting scripts. Seeing how these young artists perceive their own cities was the biggest surprise. They were all able to capture a subtlety and a narrative angle that were different and original.”

The film’s premiere, hosted by Roberta Armani and Academy Award-winning producer and director Edward Zwick, will take place today at 11 a.m. at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. A cocktail party at the CN Tower, also hosted by Roberta Armani and Zwick, will follow the screening. “I’d like the audience to allow itself to not only be seduced by the unprecedented portraits of the different cities but also to understand the true spirit of the whole project: the importance of the personal viewpoint and the exciting possibilities that open up when you permit creative people to be free from ‘the norm’ ” said Giorgio Armani. “This is what makes ‘Films of City Frames.’ ”

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