Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season

LONDON, United Kingdom — The fashion film movement has hit the mainstream, with well-known brands like Prada and Y-3 running integrated, cross-channel campaigns around high-impact digital videos and a dedicated Digital Schedule for fashion films and catwalk streams now in place at London Fashion Week.

But there were no signs that the medium was condensing around fixed codes. Quite the opposite. What we saw was the kind of restless innovation and constant evolution that characterises the fluid nature of digital media itself, with an explosion of new films that energised, but also transcended, the seasonal presentation schedule, speaking directly to consumers across the internet as part of in-season digital campaigns.

During the Paris menswear collections, Stefano Pilati opened the Yves Saint Laurent show with “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” a 7-minute film by legendary photographer Bruce Weber, while on the first night of New York Fashion week, a mesmerising film by Nick Knight, featuring Ranya Mordanova in a fractured, postmodern ritual, beautifully complemented Korean designer Jung Kuho’s deconstructed Hexa collection. A week later in London, the British Fashion Council inaugurated a special screening zone at Somerset House for a series of film presentations by young designers like Craig Lawrence, Louise Gray and Katie Eary.

But much of the action took place outside the official fashion week schedule. We saw fashion films inhabiting online advertising units on sites like The New York Times, as well as the emergence of new editorial channels like TEST and NOWNESS, which joined SHOWstudio, Dazed Digital, brand websites, video sharing sites, and Diane Pernet’s international festival, A Shaded View on Fashion Film, as platforms for striking films by avant garde designers and established brands alike.

Last October, we brought you our first seasonal ranking of the Top 10 Fashion Films. This season, the competition was stronger than ever. So sit back, turn up the volume, and enjoy the Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season — and since most of the films are in HD, we recommend you expand the videos to fill your screens with the latest in digital fashion creativity.

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1. FRED BUTLER “SUNSHOWERS” by Elisha Smith-Leverock
There is a hypnotic, sharply focused beauty about Fred Butler and Elisha Smith-Leverock’s film “Sunshowers” that makes it dance through your head long after you’ve seen it. Created for A Shaded View on Fashion Film in response to a one-word brief (“Light”) from Diane Pernet, the film uses ritualistic movements, flashes of golden sunlight, and rhythmic soundtrack to perfectly heighten the experience of stunning accessories and headpieces by Fred Butler and Rosy Nicholas for Fred Butler. We think the film feels primal and utterly elegant, timeless and contemporary — all in the same breath. BoF offers you an exclusive look at this film, developed in association with Vogue Italia.

“Sunshowers” premieres at ASVOFF on May 25 in Milan.

2. HEXA by KUHO by Nick Knight
To complement Jung Kuho’s deconstructed and reconstructed A/W 2010 collection, inspired by ecdysis, “shedding our outer skins to re-emerge spiritually as more perfect or purer beings,” Nick Knight stripped away all excess to create an almost religious, masterfully controlled, magnetic film, featuring Ranya Mordanova undergoing a postmodern metamorphosis. The editing work was nothing short of sublime, playing with repetition and ceremonial body movements perfectly synced to a spellbinding soundtrack.

3. AANTENI for RODARTE by Todd Cole
Shot by photographer and video artist Todd Cole in the deserted grounds of the California jet lab that houses PayPal founder Elon Musk’s Space X initiative, this hallucinatory techno thriller stars Guinevere van Seenus wearing pieces from Rodarte’s S/S 2010 collection. Appearing in-season on new, LVMH-owned content site NOWNESS, the film invites consumers into the enigmatic, textured world of the Rodarte brand, blending art, fashion, mystery and science with visual impact and conceptual daring.

4. CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN for FASHIONAIR
Entitled “Dancer in a Daydream” and presented on FASHIONAIR, this film features the world’s most famous shoe designer, Christian Louboutin himself. The film begins with Mr. Louboutin at work in his Paris atelier, but he quickly slips into a daydram that transports him to New York’s Broadway, where he tap dances like Fred Astaire alongside two showgirls wearing his signature red-soled shoes. It’s a fun film. But what’s most compelling from a business point of view is the way FASHIONAIR displays the video alongside shopable and sharable products featured in the film — an elegant and highly effective way to integrate content and commerce and turn engagement into sales.

5. PRADA S/S 2010 by Steven Meisel
This spring, along with a YouTube channel, Prada launched not one, but two digital fashion films. The 9-minute First Spring was beautifully shot by Chinese artist Yang Fudong. Indeed, high-resolution screengrabs from the film were also used by Prada as print advertising, underscoring the flexibility of capturing content in high-definiton digital video. But we were more intrigued by the 1-minute S/S 2010 womenswear film shot by Steven Meisel. Featuring Rasa Zukauskaite as a sexy accessory-holic, twirling to a hip-hop soundtrack with bright red lips and ponytails, the film’s visual device is simple, and the focus is squarely on product. But what’s most interesting about this film is the way it appeared in online advertising units that seemed to target a younger audience.

6. Y-3 S/S 2010 by Lloyd & Co
This season, Adidas and Yohji Yamamoto also leveraged high-definition digital video to power a cross-media campaign for their sportswear collaboration Y-3, photographed by Alasdair McLellan, styled by Nicola Formichetti, filmed by Theo Stanley and art directed by Doug Lloyd. Capturing the simplicity and grace of a classic team portrait and timed to coincide with the run up to this summer’s World Cup, the campaign features football legend Zinedine Zidane and lives cohesively and seamlessly across multiple media formats, from online video to print advertising.

7. KATIE EARY A/W 2010 by Kathryn Ferguson
Shot by Kathryn Ferguson for London-based menswear designer and rising star Katie Eary, this film screened on both Jaime Perlman’s TEST magazine and Dazed Digital to coincide with London Fashion Week. The kaleidoscopic effects and use of lighting complement Ms. Eary’s A/W 2010 collection perfectly, while the film’s underground, sci-fi gothic aesthetic is charged with just the kind of raw energy and intrigue a young designer needs to catapault into the spotlight. We only wish TEST and Dazed Digital had let fans easily embed the video in their own blogs.

8. DOLCE & GABBANA by Pierre Debusschere
Created for NOWNESS in collaboration with AnOther Man’s “Outlaw” issue, this surreal film by Belgian filmmaker and fashion photographer Pierre Debusschere celebrates Dolce & Gabbanna’s tailored S/S 2010 menswear collection. Featuring young British actor Robert Sheehan, the film has an otherworldy feel, punctuated by a visual arsenal of fireworks, strobe lights and green lasers and set against a sunrise in the middle of the woods. We like that AnOther Magazine and AnOther Man are extending their print editorials online with movement and sound and giving viewers a digital asset they can share with each other in between issues.

9. YSL “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” by Bruce Weber
At the Paris menswear, the Yves Saint Laurent show kicked off with a black and white film by legendary photographer Bruce Weber, featuring music by Marvin Gaye and a special appearance by Bunny Yeager, one of Weber’s favorite photographers. As the fashion show began, a trailer for the film was circulated on Facebook and YouTube, with video from the show and Weber’s complete film appearing online a few hours later at Vogue.co.uk, YSL.com and elsewhere. By choosing to work with a photographer like Bruce Weber — perhaps best known for his semi-nude campaigns and catalogues for Abercrombie & Fitch — YSL creative director Stefano Pilati no doubt sought and succeeded in building online buzz around his menswear collection.

10. THE LOVE THING by James Lima

Independent pioneers like Dazed Digital have often presented fashion films that accompany stills shoots. But Condé Nast’s LOVE, edited by superstylist Katie Grand, is the first magazine to create a high-octane fashion film as a commercial for a “multi-media extravaganza” coming soon on their own website, thelovemagazine.co.uk. Featuring an all-star cast of internet favorites like Dree Hemingway and Pixie Geldof playing in traffic while wearing leopard coats, sheer trenches, black garters, or nothing at all, the film was shot on the revolutionary RED Mysterium-X and released on Valentine’s Day for maximum impact. “I’m very excited by the idea of moving image; clothes and bodies look better in motion. The new technology surrounding the iPad is very interesting to me, and it’s thrilling to try and find a new way of working with fashion that isn’t two dimensional,” said Katie Grand. At BoF, we couldn’t agree more.

Which fashion films made your eyes pop this season? Let the BoF community know which films you thought were special.