Un ciné avec Diane Pernet


Tous les ans, Diane Pernet organise  le festival du film de mode  « A Shaded View on Fashion Film ».  Interview d’une figure emblématique du monde de la mode.

 

Qu’est-ce qui vous a donné l’envie de créer ce Festival  “A Shaded View on Fashion Film ”  ?

L’idée remonte au début des années 90, je pensais qu’il serait génial de faire un festival de cinéma autour de la mode. Ce n’était pas forcement le bon moment, car à l’époque, il n’y avait pas assez de matière pour le faire. L’industrie de la mode n’avait pas encore adopté la technologie et les nouveaux médias comme aujourd’hui. Puis en 2006, des événements m’ont fait réaliser qu’il serait désormais possible de concrétiser cette idée. La première version du festival n’était d’ailleurs qu’un ersatz qui se résumait à une projection de trois heures dans une salle d’Hollywood Boulevard à Los Angeles. On avait projeté les films de SHOWstudioBernhard WillhelmJeremy Scott, et certains de mes films. Cela m’a permis de jeter les bases d’ASVOFF, mais l’événement a réellement pris forme en 2008 grâce au producteur David Herman. Nous avons transformé ce happening en un festival réparti sur trois jours. J’ai pris conscience que mon idée pouvait franchir un cap et qu’il y avait une audience pour ce type de projet, mais je ne pensais pas que l’association de la mode et du cinéma prendrait autant d’ampleur. Ces films sont nés d’une volonté de sortir la mode de son carcan, pour la transposer dans l’univers magique du cinéma. ASVOFF offre une plateforme aux professionnels des deux industries, pour permettre au genre de fleurir. Le fait de se retrouver dans l’arène pousse à la créativité et au dépassement.

Votre premier souvenir de film au cinéma ?

Petite fille, j’aimais la mode et le cinéma. « Les Diaboliques » de Henri-Georges Clouzot, est l’un des premiers films que j’ai vu avec mes parents et ma sœur dans un drive-in. Ça m’a énormément marqué. Je me rappelle notamment la scène où un homme habillé sortait d’une baignoire, puis s’arrachait les yeux, causant la mort de Véra Clouzot. C’était fort et perturbant. J’ai adoré. Je pense que mes parents étaient un peu particuliers, ils nous amenaient voir des films étrangers intenses. Le genre de longs métrages que les enfants de cet âge ne peuvent pas regarder à cause de la peur qu’ils pourraient susciter. Le fait d’avoir découvert le cinéma à cet âge explique ma fascination pour le 7e art.

Quel est votre réalisateur préféré ?

Il est difficile se limiter à un seul réalisateur, mais John Cassavetes est l’un de mes préférés. Il a profondément changé le paysage du cinéma indépendant.Ses films sont d’une passion brute. On l’a d’ailleurs consacré « père du cinéma indépendant ». On lui doit Opening Night, Faces, A Women Under the influence Husbands, Shadows…,que dire de plus, c’est un génie. Mais il n’est pas le seul à m’avoir influencé, il y a aussi Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti.

Pensez-vous que la mode joue un rôle important au cinéma ?

Oui, les deux univers évoluent côte à côte. La mode permet de construire les personnages de tel ou tel film, alors que le traitement cinématographique donne vie à la mode en l’animant. Cela rend les vêtements plus importants aux yeux des consommateurs. En tant que genre, les films de mode sont la conséquence de cette réalité. L’histoire des films de mode remonte à plusieurs décennies, mais ce n’est que depuis quelque temps que ce format explose. Déjà en 1966, William Klein nous offrait « Qui êtes vous, Polly Maggoo ? ». Dans les années 70, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton et Serge Lutens ont eux aussi créé des films fabuleux à usage publicitaire. Je pense qu’il y a un gros malentendu sur les films de mode. On pense que c’est une niche qui ne s’adresse qu’aux modeux et aux cinéphiles. Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ça, un bon film peut transcender les deux genres.

Comment choisissez-vous les films de votre sélection ?

Je les choisis par instinct. Ils doivent être vibrants. C’est un genre relativement nouveau dont le potentiel est énorme. Ces films peuvent être un art à part entière et permettent l’avènement d’un nouveau type d’énergie. Diffuser la mode par le biais du cinéma, a pour effet d’attirer l’attention du spectateur sur telle ou telle marque. Je pense que la meilleure définition possible est celle-ci : les films sur la mode sont des longs métrages où cette dernière est l’actrice principale.

Pourquoi avoir planifié des happening en plein Festival de Cannes ?

Cannes offre l’avantage d’être au cœur de l’industrie du cinéma. Avec le développement des films de mode, c’est une occasion de  sensibiliser cette industrie  sur les possibilités futures qu’offre le genre. Beaucoup de réalisateurs établis ont d’ailleurs dirigé des films de ce type : Roman Polanski, David Lynch, Wes Anderson, Zoe Cassavetes et Sofia Coppola, pour ne citer qu’eux.

Quels sont vos projets ? Je planche sur mon autobiographie, à la demande d’un agent littéraire à Los Angeles. Et j’élabore aussi quatre fragrances pour mon propre parfum

 


 

What was the impulse of departure in the creation of this festival “A Shaded View on Fashion Film” which is already 5 years old ?

 

As early as the 1990s, I thought that it would be great to put together a fashion film festival.  However, the timing was not quite right, as there was not enough material out there to really constitute a festival and the fashion industry hadn’t yet embraced technology and new media channels.

Then, in 2006 a sequence of events happened that made my idea of a fashion film festival seem possible.  Mark Eley of the fashion brand Eley Kishimoto commissioned me to make a ‘road movie’ for the launch of his menswear line. The idea was to document the Gumball 3000, which was a car rally that went 3,000 miles in 6 days. In the end, I made an 18-minute film. I showed my film to the Los Angeles correspondent to my blog (www.asvof.com) and he asked if I wanted to screen it out there. The very day after that, my Mexico City correspondent Enrique Gonzales, sent me his fashion film and we decided that instead of just screening my 18 minute film, we would unearth my old idea for a fashion film festival. To call the very first experiment a ‘film festival’ was a bit of an exaggeration as it was just a 3-hour projection at Cinespace on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles and consisted of films from SHOWstudio, Bernhard Willhelm, Jeremy Scott and some of my films – a mix of short and medium length films. This event did help me prepare for when ASVOFF really began in earnest two years later.  With the help of my co-producer, David Herman, we turned the one-day curation of fashion films into a 3-day fashion film festival in 2008.

By that year, I instinctively knew that ASVOFF would fill a much needed creative gap.  I guess it was because I understood there was already an audience waiting to be served.  But what I could never have anticipated was just how quickly the cross-over between fashion and film would evolve from wild experimentation into a bona fide art form and a valuable commercial outlet.  To begin with, I think the ‘fashion film’ was born out of a real need to breathe life into the old static medium and set fashion in motion through the magic of cinema.  What ASVOFF does is to give people in both industries – and talented outsiders too – a platform to let this genre flourish.  Hopefully, by rewarding excellence in the field, it also keeps pushing them to push the boundaries forward too.

In the beginning no one had any idea what a fashion film was. In the past few years the entire industry has picked up on the idea that the best way to express the atmosphere of their brand and to reach the widest audience without any sell-out date, was to produce a fashion film. The luxury brands like YSL, Prada, Chanel picked up on this early on as did the lesser-known brands like Boudicca, Bernhard Willhelm, Jeremy Scott.

Looking back into earlier eras, of course fashion films have been around since William Klein gave us ‘Who Are You Polly Magoo’ in the 1960s and in the late 70’s Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Serge Lutins created amazing fashion films for advertising. The history of fashion film dates back decades ago but it has only been in the last few years that the medium has virtually exploded. The idea of ASVOFF is to give a platform for emerging and established directors and brands. Frankly I find the classic catwalk format a bit “last century”.  With the exception of a few shows like Rick Owens, Comme des Garcons, Junya Watanabe and Haider Ackermann, I think a film and an installation often arouses something more inspirational; reaches a wider audience and expands the market immensely.

 

When was your first meeting with the cinéma?

As a little girl I loved fashion and film. I still remember one of the first drive-in movies I went to see with my parents, ‘Les Diaboliques’.  It made such a profound impression on me as a child. I remember the scene with a man fully dressed in the bathtub rising up out of the water and taking his eyes out, causing Simone Signoret to die of a heart attack. It was so powerful and disturbing. I loved it.  I guess my parents were quite unusual because they brought my sister and I to watch a lot of intense foreign films and other genres that most children wouldn’t be able to sit through out of boredom or fear.  But I guess being exposed to it so young was one of the reasons I became so enchanted with cinema.

 

Who is your favorite director in general and why ?

It is hard to limit myself to one director but John Cassavetes is definitely one of them. He changed the landscape of independent filmmaking. His films are raw passion and he has been called the spiritual father of independent cinema. Opening Night, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, Husbands, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Minnie and Moskowitz, and his first film Shadows, what can I say, this man was a writer, an actor and a director,

If what you are asking is which film directors have had the strongest impact on me to pursue this marriage between fashion and film, they are: Rainer Werner Werner Fassbinder, John Cassavetes, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini, William Klein, Atom Egoyan, Todd Haynes, Douglas Sirk, Alfred Hitchock, Kenneth Anger…

 

Do you think that the fashion plays an important role in  cinema ?

I think that fashion and film naturally live together side by side. The fashion element is what helps to build the characters in any film and, on the other side, giving a cinematic flair to fashion helps to animate it and make it seem more relevant to consumers.  ‘Fashion film’ as a separate genre is a natural progression of this reality.  Of course I hope to bring the two worlds even closer together through my festival and my work on ‘fashion film’ but the two disciplines will also have separate existences.  The important thing is that they are able to complement each other more and more effectively and in ways that inspire — whether that be through ‘fashion film’ or through better costume design in feature films or in more animated ways of capturing fashion.

 

Why fashion brands today tell stories as of real short film ?

In fact, fashion film is still learning how to negotiate its commercial potential.  So I believe that somehow, in that elusive space between advertising, branding and art, there is a cosy space for fashion film.  Good fashion films are an inspiring way to creatively engage with people on less commercial and more noble level too. They can sometimes even be genuine work of art. I don’t fool myself into thinking that fashion film is going to touch everyone everywhere but I do believe that there is a place for it to have mass appeal and, at least, for a few special fashion films to inspire a lot of people.  What I can also say is that fashion and film have long been connected and interdependent in many many ways so, consequently, ‘fashion film’ will certainly help both of these industries to evolve into an even closer and more fascinating relationship in the very near future.  We can’t forget that ‘fashion film’ is still in its incubation period, really.  So it definitely has a lot more potential as it evolves too.

 

 How do you choose the fashion movies which make part of your sélection ?

I choose all films by instinct. Fashion film is a vibrant and still relatively new applied art form that has huge potential.  It can also be a bona fide art form of its own accord unlocking new creative energies to communicate fashion with the power of cinema and persuade consumers to tap into a brand.  At the essence of it all, I suppose that the easiest way to define it is this… Fashion film is a film where fashion is the protagonist, rather than a prop.   Fashion is a high-impact, fleeting concept by its very nature so usually they are short films.  Certainly for my festival we focus mainly on fashion films that are between 30 seconds and 5 minutes long but there are cases where they are longer.  And you could argue, from another perspective, that a few feature films and documentaries over the course of cinematic history have also served as long fashion films.

There are many interpretations as to what constitutes a ‘fashion film’. I think that we’re still exploring exactly what the parameters are because this is still a relatively new genre.  It will probably take some time before there is any kind of consensus.  And anyway, the beauty of the creative universe is that we are always confronted with new interpretations, revolutions and provocations that test our ideas on how to define things whether they be broad disciplines like art, fashion, cinema  — or sub-disciplines like ‘fashion film’.  So I am enjoying being a part of this early process.  Apart from a few feature length films that deal with fashion as a topic, most ‘fashion films’ at the moment are in the short film format length.

 

Why to have decided to throw (plan) the Festival in Cannes?

To be at Cannes is to be in the heart of the film industry and with fashion films growing enormously it makes sense to sensitize the industry about future possibilities with fashion films. There are many established directors already directing fashion films like Roman Polanski, David Lynch, Wes Anderson, Zoe Cassevetes and Sofia Coppola to name a few.

 what is your next project ?

I am working on my autobiography at the request of a literary agent in Los Angeles and on 4 scents for my own fragrance.

Home – Fashion Week

http://www.ashadedviewonfashionfilm.com

Elisa Seydi

 

© Portrait de Diane Pernet par Hassan Havier

La Fashionerie