Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Olga": New Directions in Fashion Films

Finally we are seeing advancements in fashion films. Fashion films put out by fashion companies originated as short films (between 1-5 minutes) that featured beautiful models wearing clothes by the respective companies and followed them around in certain locations all depending on the mood and feel the company wanted to convey. While I think that it was a great start to the genre of fashion films, it is refreshing to know and see that fashion films are evolving (as any genre of film does) and becoming more conceptual. Filmmakers and fashion companies are realizing their beautiful imagry isn't going to be enough.

The fashion film "Olga", produced by Armani (written and directed by Olivier Zahm and Can Evgin) for their F/W 2012 collection, is one such film that exemplifies how the genre is developing and morphing to be more about a story, feel, mood, idea, and person, rather than only focusing on the clothing. Unfortunately, this film isn't the official Armani F/W 2012 campaign but can be seen here. Through these films the clothing companies are asking us to identify how their story and mood is reflective of their brand identity rather than shoving it in our face.

In this film, the story centers around one character, the widow of a famous art collector and gallerist, who is alone and trapped in a familiar environment that she once shared with her husband. Her identity in terms of establishing her character is important to recognize in relation to her husband, who he was and what he did, yet the filmmakers explore her identity independent of her husband once they set up the context. Ironically, her identity can't fully be separated from her relationship to him and her physical environment.

Beautifully shot in black and white, the film is evocative of Italian neorealist and French new wave cinema and explores ideas of remembrance, moving on (rebirth), identity and love. The clothes fade into the background and are perhaps the least important part of the film visually; we can't take our eyes off of the main character and her environment, yet the clothes subtly make reference to her position in life, financial situation and reinforce certain silhouettes, and movement that are integral to the feel of the film. Simply put, the clothes are important but they aren't what the film is truly about. To me, that understated recognition is what says more about the company and the brand and what they are saying about themselves than just putting the clothes on obvious display.

Olga - Olivier Zahm & Can Evgin for Emporio Armani from Can Evgin on Vimeo.

Images taken from here.


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