Fashion and film are two artistic disciplines that have always maintained close ties, and the recently-concluded fashion month proved to be no exception. Many houses across the four fashion capitals chose the medium of film to showcase their Spring/Summer 2021 collections.
This creative choice makes sense amidst a largely runway-less season — film is an accessible way to get a cohesive sense of the creative process behind and the particular aesthetic of each line. Whether you desire a touch of intrigue with Salvatore Ferragamo's Hitchcockian fantasy or a glimpse into the minds of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, designers offered up plenty of cinematic fashion content in recent weeks.
Here's a breakdown of our seven favourites:
The luxury house tapped Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino (he of Call Me By Your Name fame) to direct a short film that was shown right before its Milan runway. Guadagnino also headed this year's documentary about Salvatore Ferragamo himself, which premiered out of competition at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.
For the Spring/Summer 2021 collection, creative director Paul Andrew and Guadagnino sought to showcase the house's impeccable tailoring against the backdrop of deserted locations across Milan, with undertones of Hitchcock-inspired mystery and intrigue (drawing on Vertigo, The Birds and Marnie). With a focus on gesture, colour and atmosphere, the short film features models Mariacarla Boscono, Maggie Cheng, Jonas Glöer, Samer Rahma and Anok Yai darting through an empty Milan clad in the house's suiting, leather and draping.
Prada's Spring/Summer 2021 show marked the eagerly awaited debut of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons as co-creative directors. Premiered during Milan Fashion Week, the film captures the collection in a runway-like format, with models parading the streamlined looks amidst the whirring of overhead cameras. The presentation was followed by a conversation between Mrs Prada and Simons, who answered crowdsourced questions submitted by the label's huge following.
LVMH Prize-winning designer Marine Serre decided to go the fear-inducing route for her Spring/Summer 2021 video presentation, titled Amor Fati. The 11-minute film, directed by Sacha Barbin and Ryan Doubiago, feels more like a cut from a science-fiction or horror movie than a fashion show built solely for aesthetic pleasure. Opening with a shot of a nude woman lying on an examination table as she gets tattooed with Serre's signature crescent moon motif, the film's tone matches the clinical, apocalyptic feeling that has characterised 2020 as a whole.
British photographer Nick Knight documents John Galliano’s all-encompassing creative process for Maison Margiela in S.W.A.L.K II, the sequel to July's original S.W.A.L.K. Created during the COVID-19 lockdown, the film utilises a variety of techniques — Zoom, body cameras and even drone footage — to capture the creation of Maison Margiela's latest co-ed collection. These methods work together to give a sense of voyeurism to S.W.A.L.K. II, where the audience becomes a fly on the wall observing the cutting-edge work that Galliano accomplishes with his team. Beyond the documentary aspect of the film, tango music serves as the soundtrack to a narrative drama about a South American wedding tragedy, which is dispersed throughout the 45-minute feature.
Jil Sander's Lucie and Luke Meier opted to present their runway collection sans audience in a film short by Stephen Kidd. Adapting the label’s minimalism to the present moment, the designers leaned into easy silhouettes defined by both chic and comfort. In the film, models walk in a vast space, moving along the illuminated catwalk and sometimes through the darkness — the simple set complements Jil Sander's pared-back approach.
Vivienne Westwood also released a short film in order to showcase its unisex, punk-inspired Spring/Summer 2021 designs. Shot on 8 mm, the two-minute video features close-up clips of models triking poses to the vibrant sounds of atmospheric music. Directed by Louis Simonon, son of Clash guitarist Paul Simonon, the film encapsulates the most notable features of the brand's new collection, echoing its fierce versatility and rock 'n' roll aesthetic.
For Marni's latest collection, creative director Francesco Risso organised a global livestream. The designer sent looks from his Spring/Summer 2021 collection to friends and family across Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York City, London, Milan, Paris, Dakar, Shanghai and Tokyo. Motivated to break down the barriers imposed by quarantine, he sought to create worldwide connectivity through the presentation, dubbed Marnifesto.