2006 | Between Stigma and Enigma

The 1st Fashion in Film Festival London

14-27 May 2006

London | Prague | New York | Arnhem | Rotterdam | Tel Aviv

Between Stigma and Enigma, the 1st edition of the Fashion in Film Festival is a retrospective showcase of film and video work on fashion. We are teaming up with three London venues – Ciné lumière (French Institute), The Horse Hospital and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) – to present a mix of early and classic cinema, contemporary art, as well as documentary, instruction and propaganda film. Films by distinguished filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Louis Buñuel, Vera Chytilová and Bruce Weber will be screened alongside documentary, instructional and propaganda films, newsreels, artist videos and fashion image-makers’ shorts.

Fashion in Film Festival is especially delighted to host a special screening of the rarely seen cult film Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo? and welcome its director William Klein as the Festival’s 2006 Guest of Honour.

The programme features films and videos that have fashion and clothing as their central theme, bringing together a variety of genres that have reported on, promoted and documented fashion, otherwise “spoken” about it or used it to attract and entertain audiences. It explores the ambiguous relationship between the machines of Western fashion and film, revealing film’s tendency to discredit fashion while paradoxically celebrating its seductive power and enigmatic qualities. Clothing will be revisited as fashion’s proper subject, with the aim to establish an intimacy between clothing and the film viewer.

Film screenings will be followed by lectures, informal talks and Q&A sessions with filmmakers, artists, critics and fashion designers including Anna-Nicole Ziesche, Jean-François Carly, Penny Martin and Shelley Fox. Two silent films in the Shoes, Eroticism and Fetish programme, The Gay Shoe Clerk (1903) and the rare gem Amor Pedestre (1914), will be accompanied by music especially composed for the occasion by The WOLFMEN’s Marco Pirroni and Chris Constantinou.

Watch William Klein’s Q&A at Ciné lumière on the SHOWstudio website

Download the 2006 programme as PDF

Fashion in Film is a collaborative research project based at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and supported by numerous cultural and educational organisations internationally.

Programme Curators: Marketa Uhlirova and Christel Tsilibaris

Guest Curators: Roger K. Burton, Adrian Garvey, Edward Barber and Alistair O’Neill

The festival takes place in following venues: Ciné lumière (French Institute), Institute of Contemporary Arts and The Horse Hospital

Themes and Events

Loving the Alien

This Saturday film-marathon guest-curated by Roger K. Burton illustrates how fashion in its extreme sits uncomfortably in the real world.

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Dressing and Undressing

A programme which concentrates on the idea of a woman dressing and undressing in her own private space. With an introduction by Alistair O’Neill.

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Assuming a Pose

A programme of artist films, newsreels and fashion shorts exploring the art of posing, followed by fashion photographer Jean-François Carly and fashion designer Shelley Fox in conversation with Penny Martin, Editor-in-Chief of SHOWstudio.

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Wardrobe Emergencies: Fashion and the Second World War Conflict

Confronted with the War, fashion responded by entering into a dialogue with politics. Programme includes newsreels from Pathé Gaumont Archives, British Pathé and Imperial War Museum.

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Fashion Records

A two-part programme that explores the fashion world through the documentary mode.

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Hitchcock’s Woman of Fashion

Many Hitchcock films focus on transgressive female characters – strong but troubled figures who are ultimately punished for their deviance.

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Shoes, Eroticism and Fetish

This programme explores various routines of wearing and showing off shoes for the film camera, focusing on the notions of exhibiting, revealing, voyeurism and morality. Includes shorts Amor Pedestre and The Gay Shoe Clerk among others.
Introduced by festival co-curator Christel Tsilibaris.

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The Enigma of the Fashion Object

This programme celebrates the secret life of clothes, and the enigmatic qualities that emanate from them when animated by film. It explores the links between films by early cinema pioneers and artists on the one hand, and commercials on the other.

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Between Stigma and Enigma

Howards Hawks’s comedy Fig Leaves remains one of the most remarkable preserved ‘fashion show films’ of the silent era. The film light-heartedly suggests that fashion is the Satan ultimately responsible for the fall of (wo)mankind. More information »

Model and the World of Fashion

Chytilová’s Ceiling and Klein’s Who are You, Polly Magoo? make two powerful comments on 1960s fashion and cinematography. Both are prime examples of cinema d’auteur but each has a strikingly different vision and sensibility.

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