The Fashion in Film Festival, Wearing Time: Past, Present, Future, Dream

… is happening now until 26 March, 2017.

Some highlights which might be of particular interest are:

Last Year in Marienbad
Picturehouse Central
21:00, Thurs 16 March
Post-screening discussion with Caroline Evans and Alex Fury, moderated by Rosemary Wallin

This masterpiece of 1960s art cinema sets its mediation on time, memory and longing within the most fashionable of locations – the Marienbad spa and its endless corridors and manicured gardens. Perhaps no film has so profoundly challenged the viewer with a truly ambiguous approach to time, where truth mingles with lie, and chronology blurs with fantasy. Delphine Seyrig’s costumes, designed by (the uncredited) Coco Chanel, create an image of dreamy elegance and sophistication, and, ultimately, of ungraspable desire. While Resnais wanted to evoke the allure of 1920s cinema stars, his film ironically defined a new fashionable look for the 60s, allowing past and present to come together.

France, Italy 1961. Dir. Alain Resnais. With Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoëff. Costumes Bernard Evein, Seyrig’s costumes by Coco Chanel.

Dressing History
The Horse Hospital
18:30, Sat 18 March
A Film talk by Silvia Vacirca, fashion and media scholar at Sapienza University in Rome & contributor to L’Officiel Italia and Rivista Studio

In showing the look of the past, films inevitably display our own relationship with it. This talk will closely examine some of cinema’s most extravagant examples of costume drama, including Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) with costumes by Eiko Ishioka, or Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (1962), with costumes by Piero Tosi, and contrast them with the more historically ‘disciplined’ films such as the more recent Jackie (2016), with costumes by Madeline Fontaine, or Carol (2015), with costumes by Sandy Powell. Above all, the talk will address the sometimes conflicting demands for historical accuracy on the one hand, and engaging a contemporary audience on the other.

Genesis Cinema
20:30 Tues 21 March
Features live musical accompaniment (including a theremin!) from Stephen Horne, plus a post-screening discussion with Ian Christie and Djurdja Bartlett, moderated by Cyana Madsen.

Aelita remains one of the most ambitious endeavours of Soviet Russia’s silent cinema, and a bold showcase of its avant-garde design. The film is perhaps best known for its wild cubo-futurist aesthetic flaunted in its otherworld sequences on Mars. Here the angular geometric costumes and sets, designed by constructivist artists and designers including Isaac Rabinovich and Alexandra Exter, foreground hard, industrial materials such as metal sheets, celluloid and plexiglass. As in many science fiction films after it, Aelita’s deliberate contrast between the Earth and an alien civilisation conceals a political message. The film is, in fact, less interesting as a science fiction fantasy than as a loaded ideological portrayal of the tumultuous reality of post-revolutionary Russia, with its nostalgia for the past and dreams of the future colliding in the uncertain present.

Soviet Union 1924. Dir. Yakov Protazanov. With Yuliya Solntseva, Igor Ilyinsky, Nikolai Tsereteli. Costumes Alexandra Exter.

My Fancy High Heels
Genesis Cinema
20:30, Weds 22 March
Two shorts and a panel discussion with Orsola de Castro, Alice Willby and Kate Hills, chaired by Bel Jacobs

My Fancy High Heels is an experimental documentary that traces fashion back to its materials, and through the production chain, revealing the troubling process that haunts the latest trends. While not pointing her finger at obvious villains, director Chao-ti Ho reveals very visible victims. From its opening delight in a pair of high heels on Manhattan sidewalks to its ambiguous animated conclusion, Ho raises issues with gentle intensity and sometimes disturbing images.

Taiwan 2010. Dir. Chao-ti Ho. Music Chih-hao Ke.

+ A Lady’s Shoe
Czechoslovakia 1935. Dir. Elmar Klos for Baťa shoe factory; with cinematography by Alexander Hackenschmied.

+ Cotton Counts
UK 1951. Produced by Technical & Scientific Films; sponsored by Cotton Board.

There’s info about these events on the website here and programme pdf attached. Tickets can be bought from the venues, or via links from the FFF website.