Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The New Fashion Film Movement & Chanel

The New York Times ran an article a little while ago titled Fashionable Shorts: These Movies Have Credits written by Amy Thomas about the short fashion films that companies like Prada, Chanel, Dior and countless others have created as another means of advertising. There are many I love and many that I am disappointed with. These films aim to promote their clothing within a world that fits their specific marketing goal. Films like "First Spring", put out by Prada, is a great example of a film that achieves this while "Remember Me" by Chanel I feel is lacking in advertising umph. I guess today I went a little crazy writing about the Chanel film, but as much as I didn't like it, it made me think the most about the industry, these powerhouse fashion companies, and the marketing strategies they are using in their campaigns.

You can watch the Chanel short film for the Chanel Cruise 2011 line here (youtube) or maybe better quality here (

I can imagine her doing that first line over and over and over again because the final cut just felt way too contrived. It would have worked great in a print ad but throw film into the mix and it reinforces the stereotype that models shouldn't be actresses. Lagerfeld brings us into the exclusive world we can't get into and brings us onto the red carpet, into the dance club, into the conversations, into the clothes. Whether you like it or not, these films are making the lifestyle accessible. The french models sound a lot less stiff and fake than the english model does with their lines even if the french acting is just as bad. Maybe it's because I can't understand them?

I think I loved the clothes and hated the models because they are part of this world that I am not a part of and never will be.

With photo shoots it is easy for me to love that world of the model and the rich and famous because an entire lifestyle doesn't really come alive for me in photographs. That isn't to say that they aren't portrayed or depicted, but it is a completely different thing to fill in the blanks with your imagination of how their lifestyle is and actually see it being played out in a film. When I see a film like this I see the "characters" and I know that the lives that the models lead (in real life) really isn't much different from the characters they are playing. They seem spoiled and priviledged and there is nothing that makes me like them as people or characters.

Karl Lagerfeld's special guest appearance at the end of film was very interesting. Not only did he write and direct the film but he was also in it, which isn't surprising considering that he is a part of the very world that he "recreated" for his film. It was almost like this detail was emphasizing an overarching theme of entitlement in both the lives of the "characters" and themselves as entitled people in real life.

The introduction of the older man in the club was the only thing (besides the clothes and beautiful location) that interested me about this film. I feel like they could have made an entire film directly about him and I finished the film only caring or being interested in his character. As an older man he has had so many memories of a time that this younger generation is looking back to celebrate by way of listening to older music and having 70's themed parties. He is the only one who was actually alive at these times and his nostalgia and "rememberance" (main idea behind the title?) of thsese times is so much different than this younger generation and how they imagine life at that time to be. I feel like that deeper message could resonate throughout any viewer of this particular fashion campaign, however many people dont take the time to really think about it, and to be fair, the only reason I am is beause I wanted to write a blog post on the larger subject of film fashion campaigns.

I think that as the short film for an advertising purpose becomes more popular and definitely more accessible, these companies like Prada and Chanel are opening themselves up to the masses and are, in a way, becoming less exclusive. Their clothing prices are exclusive (obviously kept high because they wouldn't be anything special or unique if they weren't) but their ideas are not. Are these companies going to keep making the world that their clothes live in exclusive? Are these campagins really meant for the average consumer like myself who can't really afford to buy much, if anything, at these designer stores? The answer is no. This new medium certainly makes it possible for me, for anyone, to watch these videos but they certainly have the potential to affect the class gap between the average viewer and the average consumer. It seems as if the average consumer of the advertisements are people who aren't the average consumer of the product. People like myself are going to watch these videos and hate them because they present a shallow and priviledged world that I can neither identify with nor be a part of. Then again, when has Chanel ever marketed to the demographic that I am a part of?


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