(Mar 2015) FRAME BY FRAME: DISSECTING THE FASHION MOVING IMAGE NOW. The 5th Fashion in Film Festival launched on Tuesday 17 March

Want to explore the recent rise of the moving image in the fashion industry and get behind-the-scenes insights into the production of fashion films? The 5th instalment of the Fashion in Film Festival is a series of panels and conversations designed to do just that. Curated by Hywel Davies and Marketa Uhlirova, this year’s season is held between 17–24 March 2015 across three leading London arts venues: Central Saint Martins, Somerset House and Hackney Picture House.

The festival features over 25 acclaimed industry practitioners and commentators, including Nick Knight, Caryn Franklin, Lernert & Sander, Quentin Jones, Caroline Evans, Alex Fury, Jessica Mitrani, Stephen Whelan, Marcus Werner Hed, Kathryn Ferguson, Jennifer Byrne, Nick Rees-Roberts, Pamela Church-Gibson, Oriole Cullen, Agnes Rocamora and more.

With the advances in digital technologies over the last decade, the fashion industry has adopted the moving image to an unprecedented degree. Many different kinds of fashion moving image have recently (re-)emerged in a variety of contexts, very often online, performing a variety of purposes including promotion, journalistic reportage and audio-visual experimentation. Taking a retrospective look at the fashion moving image in the digital age, this series of conversations and screenings aims to showcase newly prominent forms of communication, display and representation and explore in detail how the fashion industry is embracing and adapting to them. The debates will reflect on the multi-disciplinary and collaborative nature of this fashion audio-vision, and, more broadly, the changing realities of image (and sound) production, circulation and consumption. Featuring fashion image-makers, designers, producers, journalists, historians and theorists, the season is the first attempt to stage a major debate on the fashion moving image in all its breadth and variety.

The season is organised in association with Strange Love festival of the moving image at Central Saint Martins.

Full programme

(Feb 2015) Recent Awards, Reviews and News on Birds of Paradise Book

Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle (UK 2013/US 2014) awarded one of the prestigious “MOST BEAUTIFUL SWISS BOOKS of 2014″ prizes.

The New Museum in New York placed Birds of Paradise at the top of BEST BOOKS of 2014.


Read Judith Mackrell’s review of the book for The Guardian:


Pamela Hutchinson’s extremely generous review for Silent London:


More about the book:


(Nov 2014) In Conversation: Alistair O’Neill and Marketa Uhlirova

As a major retrospective exhibition of Guy Bourdin’s work opens at Somerset House, co-curator Alistair O’Neill shares thoughts on his own curatorial process, the photographer’s legacy and those elusive ‘fashion films’. Read here.

(Nov 2014) A Conversation with Mariann Lewinsky

Read our conversation with the brilliant and passionate film curator Mariann Lewinsky, one of the treasures of Bologna’s annual festival Il Cinema Ritrovato. Back in July this year we asked Mariann about her archival research, silent film performances and acting and, of course, fashion. With Caroline Evans, Marketa Uhlirova, Vincenzo Maggitti, Elif Rongen and Elizabeth Lundén.

(Oct 2014) Read more recent reviews of Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle

At AnOther magazine.

At Bright Lights Film Journal.

The book is edited by Marketa Uhlirova and published by Koenig Books, London, 2013. Find out more and buy the book from here: http://www.fashioninfilm.com/publications. Now available from the University of the Arts shop and a healthy % of the proceeds goes towards organising the next festival! Buying from the UAL shop is a great way to directly support us.

(Sept 2014) FREE DOWNLOAD: Marcel L’Herbier Dossier

This dossier, edited and introduced by Caroline Evans and Marketa Uhlirova, is the first English-language publication on the French film director Marcel L’Herbier, to whom we devoted last year’s festival season.

This downloadable online publication brings together archival visual material, newly translated quotations and newly commissioned articles by Mireille Beaulieu, Tag Gronberg, Joan Tumblety and Nick Rees-Roberts.

The dossier will be updated with more articles later this year, so watch this space!

Access the Dossier here

(Feb 2014) No More Stuff?

Screening of Alexander Mackendrick’s 1951 classic Man in the White Suit, followed by a panel discussion examining the notion of ‘No More Stuff’. Panelists include Barry Curtis (Royal College of Art), James Wallman (author of Stuffocation), Cyndi Rhoades (Worn Again), Claire Pajaczkowska (Royal College of Art) and Rebecca Earley (Chelsea College).

Thursday 13th February, 6.00 – 8.30pm. Central Saint Martins, LVMH Lecture Theatre, E003. All welcome but booking is essential: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-public-screening-and-panel-discussion-of-man-in-the-white-suit-tickets-6767195865?aff=eorg

Organised with Adam Thorpe (Socially Responsive Research Group, CSM). The event is part of the Green Week at CSM.

(May 2013) Stephen Horne takes silent film accompaniment up a notch

This year the brilliant Stephen Horne accompanies two of the silent films in the Marcel L’Herbier season, Le Vertige and L’Inhumaine. We have asked him how he does it. Interview by Sara Cozzarin

How do you approach your silent film accompaniments? 

 My approach varies from event to event, according to a number of variables. Some of these can be quite prosaic – for example, how busy I am or how much I’m getting paid! But principally my approach is dictated by the film itself. Silent films, just like today’s films, benefit from music which is broadly sympathetic to their tone and genre. This usually means music that is not overtly ‘outside the box’. But there are exceptions -for example, L’Inhumaine is a very strange, abstract film, so my music will hopefully reflect this.

Even if a score was originally composed for a particular film, I don’t usually refer to it. One thing I think most people don’t realise is just what a huge amount of time is required to learn to play an original score – and, just as importantly, synchronise it with the film. If a score survives at all, it will frequently be incomplete or not match the surviving prints of the films. I’m not against recreating original scores at all – indeed, I think they are fascinating. But that’s just not my specialism.

Whether you completely improvise or not, you clearly still must have the ability to respond quickly to the image in front of you. Is this particularly challenging? Are there any secrets of the trade?

I started accompanying silents at the National Film Theatre over twenty years ago, and at that time pianists were not given advance screenings of the films that they were booked to accompany. This meant that, for about the first ten years or so, I accompanied every film ‘cold’. This is less of an issue for silent film musicians starting now, with DVDs and the internet, but it formed the way I approached the job. Obviously, to do the job adequately in those circumstances meant having to be able to both improvise and react quickly – turn on a musical sixpence, so to speak. I now frequently seem able to anticipate how a film is going to progress, in a way that feels almost telepathic. But I don’t think this is unique to me – I think it’s a characteristic of my generation of silent film accompanist! Although I have now produced several fully composed film scores, my training was as an improvising accompanist and that’s still essentially how I approach the job.

You are known for using multiple instruments. Which ones, and why? Just how do you make the transitions seamless?

I’ve only been a so-called ‘multi-instrumental’ accompanist for the last few years. For a very long time I only accompanied films on piano. But then one day I started to incorporate the flute, which I had stopped playing after University, and a couple of years later the accordion. Almost immediately it became my ‘USP’ – which can be a bit of a trap, because people expect it of me now! But although I think the piano is still on balance the best instrument for a solo accompaniment, people do seem to like to hear a change of sound world, even if it’s only for a short while. And recently I purchased a Theremin which I hope to use for L’ Inhumaine. I’m not making any promises, though – at the moment the noise I make with it is more akin to a feral fox than the ethereal effect I’m hoping to achieve eventually!

Darius Milhaud’s original score for L’Inhumaine is notoriously lost. I am interested in how you are going to be approaching this film. Were there any sequences that you found particularly inspiring or challenging?

Milhaud’s score for L’Inhumaine was apparently an integral part of Herbier’s conception, so it would be fascinating to experience how it worked with the film. But it doesn’t survive, so for me it’s an academic point. One could put together a medley score out of the music that Milhaud was composing during this period, which would be a perfectly valid approach. But for me the most important thing is for the music to be authentic to the spirit of the film and sometimes this can best be achieved by using techniques that wouldn’t have been available at the time that it was made. For example, I think that L’Inhumaine was trying to create an otherworldly mood and it’s possible that music which might have been considered otherworldly at the time would not have that effect any more. I want to make the film work for the audience that is watching it, by creating something that will have an effect on them equivalent to the one the film is striving for. In general, I like to wrap my own musical bubble around a film. One that is essentially timeless – in the sense of not feeling either overtly then or now.

(February 2013) Highlights of If Looks Could Kill were on show in Copenhagen

Highlights of the Fashion in Film Festival’s 2008 season If Looks Could Kill were recently on show in Copenhagen. Read more about it here… Take a look at the original 2008 season here. Look at the festival catalogue here.