The fashion film as a discrete genre is a relatively recent phenomenon — though the marriage of fashion and film is hardly new. As a visual medium, aesthetic considerations have always been at the forefront of filmmaking, with choice of costume being one of the most important aspects of creating a movie.
Fashion has a long history of influencing film and film fashions. We need not look further than Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, where Diane Keaton’s eccentric menswear-inspired outfits influenced an entire generation of women. The partnership between fashion designer and director is a longstanding one, too: Coco Chanel and The Blood of a Poet, Hubert de Givenchy and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Yves Saint-Laurent and Belle du Jour, more recently, Tom Ford and A Single Man. It was only a matter of time before the fashion film became a category all its own.
The fashion film does not have as many limitations or constraints as other genres, it need only showcase clothing to qualify. They come in a diverse number of packages, with or without narrative structure. The 15 fashion films chosen below are the year’s most successful experiments in communicating the tone of a collection, be it through a narrative like Free People’s dynamic love story “Roshambo” via the innovative animation of Kseniya Simonova’s “Lady Dior Moscow.”
15. Dior, “Rouge Dior – 60 Years of Attitude”
Celebrating 60 years since Christian Dior imagined “dressing women’s smiles” in lipstick, this is not just an educational—but is also an artistic—tribute to the man himself. It walks us through the history of lipstick, the color red, which symbolizes power and vitality, as well as the iconic women who’ve represented the fashion house.
14. Rachel Antonoff, “Best Friends”
Lena Dunham directed this video for Rachel Antonoff’s fall 2013 collection. In classic Lena Dunham fashion, it’s a mash up of all the best parts of Girls, Frances Ha and The Royal Tenenbaums.
13. Ferragamo, “Walking Stories”
In an ambitious project, Salvatore Ferragamo released an eight part romantic set in cities around the world: Florence, Los Angeles and Shanghai. With a distinct Woody Allen vibe (think Annie Hall meets Midnight in Paris) it stars actress Kaya Scodelario and Tom Ellis.
12. Viva Vena!, “Fashion Film”
This hilarious spoof stars Lizzy Caplan, who breathilly mocks hipster culture with one-liners like, “I DJ sometimes,” and, “my guy friend who’s good at computers is reformatting my blog.” It hits all the major fashion clichés: the dreamy filter, unnecessary French and records from the 60s.
11. Prada, “A Therapy”
Prada presents a short film directed by Roman Polanski, about a therapist whose patient’s Prada fur coat speaks to him. Helena Bonham Carter is perfectly cast as the melodramatic rich woman whose stories are ultimately eschewed in favor of the coat.