LONDON, United Kingdom — In the world of fashion films, strong visual appeal is the price of entry. But this season's best films went further than this, attracting audiences with surreal storylines and unexpected plot twists, a la Philip-Lorca diCorcia's “Terminal 3” by Dior, which saw an ex-lover return to town, and Karl Lagerfeld's “Reincarnation” for Chanel, featuring Pharrell Williams, Cara Delevingne and Géraldine Chaplin.
However, it was the power of humour that drove Autumn de Wilde's “The Postman Dreams” for Prada to the top spot in our ranking. Tasked with creating a series of short films celebrating Prada’s recognisable Galleria bag, de Wilde took a comedic approach, playing with the idea of obsession through a sleepy postman and his funny fantasies, set to a soundtrack by a Prada-clad street band called The Blasting Company.
Many brands stuck to the traditional route, producing visually-driven videos closely linked to their print advertising campaigns. Yet, in the case of Dolce and Gabbana and Lanvin, the results were surprisingly strong. “Incredible,” “beautiful and elegant,” and “Sicily and bull fighters, beauty so much beauty” were among the praiseful comments left by viewers on Dolce and Gabbana’s film.
Now, without further ado, sit back, relax and enjoy BoF’s Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season. And don't forget to let us know which films you liked best this season in the comments below.
1. The Postman Dreams by Autumn de Wilde for Prada
Securing our top spot this season is "The Postman Dreams," a film series directed by American photographer Autumn de Wilde, starring the Prada’s classic Galleria bag. It’s the first time the Italian house has made a film about this particular handbag range, named after its first store in Milan. Shot in a villa in Los Angeles, three individual films titled "The Postman," "The Makeout," and "The Battlefield," respectively, follow a central postman character. The first of the series (above) tells the story of a bored mailman dozing off on the job and dreaming about the coveted Galleria bag. Marked by light surrealism and eccentric humour, de Wilde’s distinctive style is a well-suited match for Prada. Indeed, this is just the beginning, as Prada and de Wilde are planning five short films in total.
2. Kendall Jenner’s Burn Book by Dazed & Confused
Kendall Jenner has attracted a lot of haters, mostly for being rich, privileged and a member of the infamous Kardashian family. What’s a girl to do with all that hate? In a short film for Dazed & Confused, styled by Robbie Spencer, the 19-year-old model makes a major nod to the classic teen movie Mean Girls by scribbling down and reading aloud the nasty jibes, taunts and rumours that have circulated about her, several of which involve her foray into the world of high fashion. None of these mean-spirited comments seem to faze Jenner in the video, who laughs it all off like a good sport.
3. Terminal 3 by Philip-Lorca diCorcia for Dior
Filmed in the suburbs of California, American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia's film adds a dark lustre to the glamorous surface of Dior’s Cruise 2015 collection, inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Age. Known for his ability to transform the banal into theatre, diCorcia’s first video for Dior tells the story of a complicated love triangle between a young man, played by actor and model Eric Monjoin, and two rivals for his love, Ingrid Schram and Jessica Joffe, whose metronome-like footsteps provide the drumbeat to a suspenseful story. Styled by Simon Robins, the film artfully conjures a range of emotions: passion, jealousy, ambiguity, rage and doubt. No small feat for a silent fashion film.
4. Reincarnation by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel
In a short film for Chanel entitled Reincarnation, Karl Lagerfeld recounts a key episode in the life of Gabrielle Chanel while she was on vacation at an Austrian resort in 1954. It was on this trip that the designer found the inspiration — in the hotel elevator operator’s outfit — to create the iconic Chanel jacket. The video stars Cara Delevingne and Pharrell Williams, who perform a moonlit waltz to “CC The World,” an original song composed by Williams for the film. Chanel regulars such as Lady Amanda Harlech, Baptiste Giabiconi, Heidi Mount, Brad Kroenig and his son Hudson, and Lagerfeld’s longtime communications director Caroline Lebar, also make appearances, as well as Géraldine Chaplin who reprises her role as Coco Chanel.
5. Dolce and Gabbana
Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce’s enduring love affair with Sicily is one of the few constants in fashion. However, this season’s campaign, shot by Dolce and art directed by Gabbana, both in print and in film, focused on the Mediterranean island’s 300 hundreds years of mixed Spanish and Sicilian heritage. As a focal point, José Manzanares, an internationally famous Spanish bullfighter who faced his first bull aged 12, wields his pink capote in the southern Italian sun, replete with matching stockings. Looking onto his gyrations and the insistent stamps of a female flamenco dancer are models Bianca Balti, Vittoria Ceretti, Irina Sharipova, Blanca Padilla and a perfectly cast triumvirate of older ladies, along with a huddle of brooding Sicilian men. As mise-en-scènes go, few are as rich or immersive as this.
6. De Djess: Women’s Tales #9 by Miu Miu
For latest installment of its short film series ‘Women’s Tales’ — an ongoing project that has featured the work of Miranda July, Ava DuVernay and Zoe Cassavetes — Miu Miu tapped Italian filmmaker and recent winner of the Cannes Grand Prix Alice Rohrwacher. Pieces from Miu Miu’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection play key roles in the film — literally — as dresses choose their owners instead of the other way around, an intriguing concept. Dress “Number 328” won’t let itself be worn by a blonde actress, who is distressed for unknown reasons, but lends itself to a lowly waitress, played by Yanet Mojica. We also witness a throng of photographers who burst into a lobby without explanation, snapping away at each dress they see. But the dresses choose the story they want to tell — not these invasive photographers — which leads to some unexpected quirks, such as the cameras of all the paparazzi coincidentally running out of power at exactly the same time. A visually arresting film to watch, we expect no less from Prada’s off-kilter little sister.
7. Lanvin by Tim Walker
Keeping things familial, Lanvin enlisted photographer Tim Walker to capture their mother-and-daughter Spring/Summer 2015 campaigns, starring models Kirsten Owen, Pat Cleveland and Violetta Sanchez paired with their respective daughters, Billie Rose Owen, Anna Cleveland and Luz Godin. Meanwhile, brothers Callum and Haydn Rockall and DJ partners Joshua Quinton and Andy Bradin nod to family ties of a different sort, and represent the brand’s menswear offering. Set to a French synth wave soundtrack, the models casually caper around on set, while doodling on glass with red lipstick. Given that Lanvin is well known for its whimsy and focus on interesting and eccentric individuals, Walker’s ability to capture the characters works well with the brand's DNA. The video is styled by Jacob K, with makeup by Val Garland and creative direction from Ronnie Cooke Newhouse and Stephen Wolstenholme of House + Holme.
8. The Bubble by Aaron Rose for COS
As part of COS’ launch into the US earlier this year, the H&M-owned Scandinavian retailer enlisted LA filmmaker Aaron Rose (who worked on our very own BoF video last season) to contribute to a series of films examining two of America’s most influential cities: New York and Los Angeles. Entitled "The Bubble," Rose's film, which focuses on New York, was inspired by Peggy Guggenheim’s artist salons and shot at Max Fish, a legendary drinking hole for skaters, artists and creatives on the city's Lower East Side. Leo Fitzpatrick (most famous for his appearance in Larry Clark's Kids), artist Aaron Young, art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, journalist Glenn O’Brien and photographer Petra Collins are among the denizens of the downtown scene wearing COS pieces throughout the film.
9. Stella Sport x Adidas
Young, fresh and punching some serious fashion clout, Adidas StellaSport’s campaign video is as infectious as the athletic collection itself. Aimed at a younger audience than the designer activewear line Adidas by Stella McCartney, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, the campaign video features model Mona Matsuoka running and jumping, dressed in neon-trim leggings, branded hoodies, graphic logos and patterned tees. The video is set against catchy J-pop track “Sick Beat,” written and performed by the London-based, Anglo-Japanese band Kero Kero Bonito, an interesting choice for the brand, given that its mainline video this season features popular Tokyo-based DJ and singer Mademoiselle Yulia on the streets of Japan.
10. The Lady Web ft. Lykke Li for Gucci
Gucci takes us on a dreamy adventure for Spring/Summer 2015 with a video featuring the brand’s iconic Lady Web handbag, worn by Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li. While her moody track “Just Like a Dream” plays in the backdrop, the footage follows Li as she plays the piano and makes her way through the city, visiting a record store to dig through some vinyl, then returning to a decorated suite where she plays the guitar and writes in a journal. Having cinched the fashion world’s attention since her musical debut in 2008, Li’s cultivated style and enamoring vocals make her an apt fit for this season’s free-spirited, bohemian collection, the last to be designed by former creative director Frida Giannini, who exited the brand, along with former CEO Patrizio di Marco, in January.