Fashion films are getting a bit funny

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Comedy is a very difficult beast to master, especially on screen. In my eyes a truly talented actor can do comedy well and I think the same goes for talented filmmakers. I’m currently working for the brilliant LOCO London, producing the industry training programme for their festival in January 2013 and I have comedy on the excited brain, even more so than usual. Which has gotten me thinking about funny fashion films.

The fashion promo is still in relative infancy, if you compare to, say, music videos that have been through the various creative peaks and troughs over the years, and whose development translated to the internet fairly fluently. The sudden acceleration of fashion film output has spawned in a new digital age where online retail is rocketing. So when it comes to developing innovative, compelling and beautiful content that sells fashion in a successful way, there have been all sorts things to consider, let alone being funny.

When you think of a typical fashion film, what usually springs to mind is a bold, beautiful, emotive, poetic piece of work spawned from a photoshoot aesthetic, dramatising the fantasy and escapism of fashion, and perhaps in black and white, and perhaps in slow motion… Many of the attempts that I’ve seen to lighten the mood and be more playful have been generally reserved for the younger, fun brands or the more high-street brands. Is this because fashion takes itself too seriously? Or has it been a lack of versatile filmmakers who can successfully use comedy and fashion together?

Typically it has been photographers and image-makers from within the fashion industry producing fashion videos, visualising concepts in the same ilk of magazine editorials, with a few high profile filmmakers experimenting with fashion film along the way and bringing cinematic drama and a few Hollywood A-listers to the fore (if a little clumsily), but not necessarily bringing humour. More and more budding filmmakers from the “slashie” generation are now getting involved in producing fashion content, approaching film and fashion in a more savvy and diverse way. And lets not forget these are filmmakers that grew up with the viral video concept and understand the importance of comedy to win over an audience quickly and effectively.

Though of course humour and self-parody has always tickled the fashion industry – a recent example being the charming and witty promo for Lagerfeld for H&M (though the self-parody fails somewhat when you know what happened next…).

The Lagerfeld for H&M video marries the idea of highstreet/designer, perfectly expressed in its comedy/aesthetic, no doubt exploiting humour to garner mainstream appeal. It tapped into a new generation who appreciate design but can’t quite meet the price tag or perhaps equate exclusivity to dull snobbery. And in the same way that our intricate taste for fashion is developing, our taste for more interesting ways of being sold fashion is increasing.

Perfume adverts have always been an easy target for parody, mocked for their absurd oversincerity, the ultimate fashion promo cliché. But there has also always been a little part of us that indulged in the magic of them and so encouraged the formula to keep churning them out. The continuing fatigue with this worn-out grandiose aesthetic was highlighted this year, with the cruel yet highly entertaining backlash towards the Brad Pitt Chanel No.5 advert directed by film director Joe Wright, which produced a wild avalanche of parodies (most famously on Saturday Night Live).

So it is rather timely and as important than ever, that fashion brands have been finding a stronger sense of humour, reflected in the films that they are commissioning. The comedy is still a little wobbly, still a little fluffy round the edges with some, but it’s definitely there and getting better, and proving a nice breath of funny fresh air.

Below is our pick of some of the fashion films that we think embrace being funny and playful and still leave room for fantasy, emotion, drama and a little bit of magic. And if you have seen an inspiring fashion film recently that has made you chuckle, share them with Fashion Popcorn!

Knot Yourself from Andrei Zakow on Vimeo.

And finally speaking of fashion and funny, we couldn’t resist adding in a little skit from the adorable P’trique, the satirical fashionista who serves as a good indicator of how fashion welcomes a bit of friendly fun-poking every now and then:

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2 Comments

  1. […] We asked Bornshorts what they’re looking for in the fashion film category and they told us that the video has to be the official commissioned version by a brand and that they go for “contemporary explorations of fashion, revolutionary films that smells of sex and danger.” Oooh lala. Which might explain why last year’s fashion film winner was Get Richard, a superb fashion film favourite of ours, directed by Justin Anderson, and recently featured in our post about funny fashion films: […]

  2. […] feel is a small sign that film directors and fashion brands are meeting in the middle a lot more. Comedy in fashion film strikes […]

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