Fashion film is a relatively new concept, but fashion in film has been on our screens and influencing our perceptions of dress since reels began. Opening today, the third Fashion in Film Festival presents Birds of Paradise, a multi-layered, multi-stranded city takeover.
From the trick and féerie films of the 1890s and 1900s, to the Orientalist films of the 20s; the captivating silent film era and the decadent cinematography of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, the festival is a stunning tribute to centuries of films, mapping the evolution of costume to fashion.
Authenticity is the supporting role of the festival, with six installations across London of ‘The Kinoscope Parlour’, a re-imaging of the kinetoscope, the first cinematic device invented in 1890 by Thomas A. Edison and W.K.L Dickinson. Now over a century later, the Kinoscope Parlour, designed by Mark Garside, will screen early costume films with the modern day addition of an interactive wheel that allows you to control the speed of the films. Somerset House presents a newly commissioned work entitled ‘Hemline’ by award-winning artist collective Jason Bruges Studio. The installation pays homage to the belle époque dancer Loïe Fuller, who twirled her way to fame in the late 19th century, incorporating masses of sinuous fabric into her performances.
With visionary filmmakers such as Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith and Rob Rice, and films such as Lupe, 1966 (Tate Modern 5 December, 4pm), The Red Spectre, 1907 (Barbican 4 December, 4pm) and Moulin Rouge, 1928 (BFI, 7 December, 8.20pm), the festival will be packed full of fashion and film fanatics, like us.
Fashion in Film Festival: Birds of Paradise runs from 1 -12 December