Irreverence, fantasy, and an electrifying bass reverberated at the 5th annual New York Fashion Film Festival last week in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Filmmakers, photographers and the fashion crowd packed the SVA Theater, and our own Saks Fifth Avenue editors sat front and center.
Co-founded by photographer Bon Duke, he says the festival began “out of pure will to expose what was out there and show them on a big screen compared to a small device.” This year’s edition screened 16 films, followed by fashion stalwart and iconic editor/writer Glenn O’Brien’s panel discussion about whether the showcased works were, in his words, “really films or merely screen-savers”.
On the eve of New York Fashion Week, veteran fashion consultant Julie Gilhart deliberated on the intense and fast impressions the films make: “We all see so many runway shows, and when it’s over, it’s over. [Fashion Week] is a grueling schedule. I’d rather watch a film.”
So what were the panelists’ favorites? Steven Meisel’s Show Girl, featuring an anti-fashion burlesque dancer, proved to be O’Brien’s, while Gilhart’s pick was Pierre Debusschere’s abstract Holy Flowers – Fade Into You. Photographer Cass Bird endorsed Habib Yazdi’s Somewhere in America and Matt Lambert’s The London Collections for their documentary-like portrayals of fashion in “real life”, and Sylvain Labs founder Alain Sylvain, sheepishly smiled and professed to “enjoy the hip hop.”
Four panelists, each with their own favorites. Go figure: in fashion, film, and fashion films, everyone has a feeling, but no one has a magic formula.