LONDON, United Kingdom — For years, fashion brands have struggled to produce compelling creative content and fulfil the potential of digital media. This season’s fashion videos, however, set a high bar as we compiled BoF’s Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season list.
With online video accounting for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2019 — according to California-based technology giant Cisco — fashion brands are finally cottoning on to the ways in which they can engage Gen-Z and Millennial viewers through innovative online content.
This season’s most successful video campaigns shied away from the traditional product-focused narrative that drives many fashion films, instead taking a more cinematic approach. As a result, many are substantially longer than their more conventional predecessors, with clothing and accessories woven into a wider story rather than being the sole focus.
Consider "The Secret Life of Flowers," the Baz Luhrmann-directed film celebrating H&M’s collaboration with London-based womenswear label Erdem. It earned this season’s top spot with its captivating visual portrayal of Erdem’s romantic aesthetic, which perfectly complemented the famous director’s romantic storytelling style.
Several others chose narrative over product, including Grace Wales Bonner, who travelled to South Africa for a documentary-style film directed by Harley Weir. Adidas Originals explored the past, present and future of American contemporary artist Daniel Arsham in a semi-fictitious film. Kenzo showcased the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2017 collection in "Cabiria, Charity, Chasitity," a surrealist video directed by Orange Is the New Black actress Natasha Lyonne.
Humour and optimism were recurring themes in this season’s best films, as seen in Gucci’s extravagant science fiction inspired short, Miu Miu’s musing on 1920s New Orleans Jazz starring Kate Moss, actress Naomie Harris and Adwoa Aboah, and a Gordon von Steiner-lensed series featuring Céline Dion traipsing around Paris in some of the season’s most opulent couture looks.
Watch our Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
1. "The Secret Life of Flowers" by Baz Luhrmann for Erdem x H&M
Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the "Secret Life of Flowers" explores the fantasy of Erdem’s collaboration with H&M. Set in Reddham Gardens, a countryside mansion where it is eternally spring, the narrative follows a young love triangle. Opulent and dramatic, Luhrmann’s big-budget production moves away from the traditional fashion film approach by creating an engaging narrative around Erdem's romantic sensibility.
2. "Practice" by Harley Weir for Grace Wales Bonner
Following the story of Leroy Mokgatle, a young dancer from South Africa, "Practice" is a powerful exploration of movement and sound. The 11-minute documentary-style fashion film by British menswear designer Grace Wales Bonner and photographer Harley Weir moves between reality and fantasy, thoughtfully incorporating Wales Bonner’s clothing with a soundtrack scored by Dev Hynes from Blood Orange.
3. "Hourglass - Past" by Daniel Arsham for adidas Originals
Directed by Ben Nicholas and contemporary artist Daniel Arsham, the film features Arsham as a child, in present day and as an old man, reflecting on his memories of being caught in a hurricane as a child and the significance of the event on his work as an artist. "Hourglass - Past" balances the suspense of an impending storm with moments of calm and contemplation to create a film that draws in the viewer and questions the nature of time.
4. "Cabiria, Charity, Chastity" by Natasha Lyonne for Kenzo
"Cabiria, Charity, Chastity" is the fifth film made under Kenzo creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, directed by Orange Is the New Black actress Natasha Lyonne. With a celebrity-filled cast including Saturday Night Live veterans Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen, Kenzo's surrealist feature follows Rudolf’s journey to self discovery through clown school, all the while dressed in Kenzo’s hypercolour Autumn/Winter 2017 collection.
5. "Want It All" by F. Gary Gray for Nike
The F. Gary Gray-directed film follows a young boy envisioning his dream to become an NBA star and play alongside LeBron James. Seamlessly moving between the present and future, the fast-paced film squeezes the trials and errors of the boy’s journey to success into an adrenaline-fueled ride that symbolises Nike’s core values around determination, confidence and perseverance.
6. "Movement: W-Base" by Sandra Winther for i-D x New Balance
Continuing the trend in documentary-style films, i-D and New Balance present the story of W-Base, a Tokyo-based bike crew, as they defy the expectations of Japanese culture and explore the country by BMX. Directed by Sandra Winther, "Movement: W-Base" is the third in a series of short films by i-D and New Balance that uncover athletic subcultures through film.
7. Palace “The Merchandise”
Tapping the streetwear scene with a film reminiscent of 1990s skate culture, “The Merchandise” by London-based skate label Palace speaks to its core customer in an authentic way. Low-fi and gritty, “The Merchandise” follows a group of skaters, including Palace poster child Blondey McCoy, through the streets of London, New York and Miami.
8. "Gucci and Beyond" by Glen Luchford for Gucci
In an homage to cult 1960s science fiction films like "Star Trek" and "Creature of the Black Lagoon," the Glen Luchford-directed advertisement extends the Gucci universe into the great unknown with a cast of "Gucci-fied" aliens, lake monsters and other extra-terrestrial characters. The film fits Gucci’s retro aesthetic and proves that humour can work as a strong marketing tool for luxury brands.
9. "Miu Miu Fall/Winter 17 Campaign" by Alasdair McLellan for Miu Miu
Miu Miu dives into the free-spirited glamour of 1920s in a joyous film shot by Alasdair McLellan. The New Orleans Preservation Hall Brass Band accompanies an ensemble cast featuring Kate Moss, actress Naomie Harris and sisters Adwoa and Kesewa Aboah as they explore the American city in Miu Miu’s jewel encrusted, faux fur Autumn/Winter 2017 collection.
10. "Trench Coats and Scarves" by Alasdair McLellan for Burberry
Shot by Alasdair McLellan, Burberry heads to the English countryside, filming in Christopher Bailey’s home county of Yorkshire. The film intersects the old and new directions of Burberry with model Agyness Deyn, musician Loyle Carner and skater Blondey McCoy, who signal a fresh direction for the brand with a patriotic embrace of the heritage Burberry check.
"Céline Dion Takes Paris in the Best Couture Looks of the Season" by Vogue
Directed by Gordon von Steiner, Vogue's series of short films which features Canadian singer Céline Dion in Paris, encapsulates the singer's flamboyance and is one of the season's most joyful, light-hearted fashion films. Wearing couture looks from Christian Dior, Maison Margiela, Chanel and Valentino, Dion commands each scene — from her suite at the Ritz to a riverboat on the Seine — with her theatrical presence, making her one of the season’s most unexpected stars.
Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season