Head case: Diane Pernet in her trademark black ensemble | Zoom
PARIS — Fashion icon, cult blogger, fashion critic, and video journalist Diane Pernet launched the fourth international edition of A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival (ASVOFF) , a film festival devoted to fashion and style in film. This year, brands and designers featured in the films include Yves Saint Laurent, Balmain, Undercover, Miu Miu, Comme des Garcons, Maison Martin Margiela, House of Holland, Stephen Jones, Prada, Dries Van Noten, Calvin Klein, and Gareth Pugh. Behind the camera are photographers Bruce Weber, Ellen von Unwerth, Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Lisa Eisner, Mark Borthwick, and Bryan Adams. A few blocks down from the Eiffel Tower, there was a fortuitous occurrence, one among many that I have had while living in Paris. I had just bought a batch of eggs to make an omelette and while balancing this and tomatoes in one hand, I saw Diane Pernet sauntering down the street. She looked the way I had seen her in photographs: black attire and blackheadpiece, stark against the sunshine. She looked, not imposing, but rather, costumed. I introduced myself, sent her some writing samples via e-mail, and got a tiny glimpse of her world, ashadedviewonfashion.com. There were writing stints, an interview, and seeing her at events, where people bow their heads at her profusely and kiss her hand, as if she is a goddess. To be sure, a cult following is behind the woman and her website, and now, with her film festival that was launched in 2008, a larger and wider audience. She tells parts of her story: having lived over a decade in Paris, and before that in New York as a designer, Pernet says she simply has always done what she loves to do: fashion. As a designer she had reached the caliber of the known designers of the time: fashion editorials in all the important Vogues, worn by famous models of the day; editorials with Ralph Lauren, her line a rising star in New York. Transforming from designer to editor to witty commentator — from Joyce magazine to Elle to VogueParis.com — to style maven, her blog launched in 2005 and its direct, often under-the-radar and always informative content has gained her international fame and respect in the industry. These heights of fashion she does not talk about in the interview; saying, instead, in what seems to be a characteristically modest manner: “You can find more information on my blog.” What she mentions is living in New York as a fashiondesigner, and making her way in Paris afterwards, where — although to an observer with a global view it was apparent that she had already achieved fashion highs — having found that Parisians were infinitely more critical than New Yorkers, there was an extra bit needed to again make one’s path. She is down-to-earth, with a whisper-thin voice, and discusses A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival, which at the time of this interview, is just about to launch another edition.
Film star: ASVOFF4 screened at the Centre Pompidou in Paris
ASVOFF began in 2008, to meld Pernet’s love for film with the passion for fashion. It is also intended as a platform for emerging talents: filmmakers who want to express their creativity via fashion, or designers and other fashion stakeholders who try their hand at fashion film, often for the first time. There are films from the past, such as fashion défilés from the 1950s or fashion brand advertisements of past decades, for intensive fashion history courses. Often held over three days at the Centre Pompidou in Paris where the best films are awarded, the festival then travels around the globe. To understand the breadth and quest for excellence of ASVOFF, one should only watch the entries submitted: talented takes on fashion, beauty and style. In 2010,Lust Lust by Martins Grauds, which won best film, showed a funny and powerful story, utilising several visually powerful fashion accessories: hanger-inspired blouses, carefully wrapped packages, handheld mirrors, a knit bodysuit. These accessories propelled the story forward; if not entirely making sense to the protagonist, to the viewer they propelled the plot forward. A man has a transformation: a delivery agent who meets various characters on the way learns to appreciate differences, and discovers his style. In 2011, the winning film, I Want Muscle by Elisha Smith-Leverock is just as accessorized — a seeming prerequisite in fashion film — but in one location. Its plot is a Q&A of a bodybuilder; here, strength, body forms, power, and again the metamorphosis, are apparent. The genre, fashion film, being relatively new, has little defined criteria, and thus the judges’ discretion is a powerful tool. The fashion education given in the festival is a very potent and useful way by which fashion can be dissected and studied as a sociological phenomenon, and use in one’s personal or professional life. In this, one can see Pernet’s continuing influence in fashion.
PARIS — Amid the blur of events and shows that is Paris Fashion Week, there was a light breather. Japanese designer Mihara Yasuhiro, of the label Miharayasuhiro who is known for both his men’s and women’s wear, and who recently held an exhibit in Joyce in Hong Kong, where he also sells his collection showed a dream-like installation at the Tranoï tradeshow. The designer, who first began his career in footwear and has collaborated with Puma for several years, has been called a propeller of Tokyo street fashion. His men’s collection was launched just a few years after his footwear to critical acclaim, and his women’s collection followed in 2009. After showing in Milan initially, Yasuhiro began to show his men’s collection in Paris. He does not normally have a runway show for women; instead, he chooses a theme per season. This season’s theme was a photograph inspired by Millais’s “Ophelia,” photographed by Paolo Roversi. The interactive installation, named “Ophelia Has A Dream,” was set against a wall, framed to resemble a Baroque painting. As one came nearer the photograph, projections of butterflies or flying confetti flurried from the ground, via a motion-sensitive projector, onto the picture. In the photo lies model Karen Elson, as though expiring in a blissful swoon. “It is right before she dies. It is about eternal beauty… the feeling,” says Yasuhiro.
Sleeping beauty: Yasuhiro’s “Ophelia” tribute installation
After the tsunami hit Japan last March 11, Yasuhiro says he had a clear vision of what he wanted to do: “I feel so strongly about nature. Life is so fragile.” And so, inspired by a painting that he had liked since his childhood, he conceived the photo as “the surreal time before death.” In this moment, he says, one sees life and the spirit: it is something that does not keep going but is temporary. “This time is not necessarily negative. She is having flashbacks; she is thinking of happy days,” says Yasuhiro. It is the time, he says, between what is real and not, as if in a dream. Tranoï CEO and president Michaël Hadida says this fashion season was treating him well. “It has been very nice to me,” he says. “For us it is something that we do naturally and with passion.” The tradeshow has been in existence for several years and is usually held in key spots around the city every fashion week. “What we like to do in Tranoï is to share our vision of added value. It is something different from a tradeshow, where designers show their vision and needs of the market. In a way it is very social, and it is also music and art,” says Hadida.
Mihara Yasuhiro answers some questions about “Ophelia Has a Dream.”
The remaining days included the shows of Chanel, Shiatzy Chen, and Impasse de la Defense. Elie Saab showed long lovely dresses in simple beige and stark green — chiffon draping and flowing silk, and proper in the best sense of the word — that could only be described as classic. “The dresses were very princess-like, and did you see Princess Beatrice in the first row wearing red?” wrote one blogger. For any lady who likes their simple lines, unfussy drapes and a lot of flowing fabric, there was a nice added touch to it all: lace at the chest and tiny belts in the same color as the dress, a small, graphic and pretty accompaniment to ankle-length slightly pleated skirts. Mint, green and purple, and their pastel counterparts, were an apparent trend for next season, as was electric blue and bright red. Lace was also in abundance.
Instantly Striking: Dr Mabuse at Addict Galerie in the Marais
The artist Markus Butkereit reinterprets the scribbles of Dr Mabuse, the character in the novel ‘Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler’ by Norbert Jacques; Dr Mabuse was made more popular in films by Fritz Lang. Apparently an expression of the character’s unconscious, there seems to be a breaking down and chaos. Somehow, in a painting, the character’s gibberish is articulated.
PARIS — It was a blur of events and some shows during Paris Fashion Week, the time of the year when buyers, journalists, bloggers and movie stars gather in front of a catwalk to peruse next season’s fashion trends. Anna dello Russo and Diane Pernet were in Gareth Pugh, as were Rick Owens and other high-profile stars of the fashion world. Lindsay Lohan was in the club Le Baron one evening and Raspoutine the next, surrounded by a posse. At Gareth Pugh, frames and windowpanes enveloped the models, if not in the edges of a shirt, then in cutout squares that looked light on the body. Models were encased in hard forms, making them look objectified and stilted. Several dark themes on a movie screen played behind, including fire, and minutes later, dark gowns emerged with pointed black plastic masks at the head. As if following a cult, there were robes that flowed behind, following a leader. Sharon Wauchob, meanwhile, showed pretty lace ensembles, fragile dresses in black and the occasional spring color. Jackets that would work anywhere, cropped and slightly draped, rounded out the looks. Backless and spaghetti/string backs were evident in the show, as they were in Luis Buchinho’s, which extended the string-look into silk drawstring pants all the way up the leg. Jackets were printed with trees from the tropics, in summery pastel colors. Anne Valerie Hash’s signature relaxed draping was paired with more tailored jackets and pants, and struck a very wearable balance. Orange and blues were the themed colors, and the last looks’ flowing chiffon trains summed up a trend seen in other runways, such as Peachoo and Krejberg’s. The duo’s show also included a showing of red, in dresses and in beaded fringe on a white jacket. Fringe and stringy backs were seen on several dresses, which also included draped fabrics— these somehow looked complicated in one ensemble. Yellow was another color of the day. Amaya Arzuaga’s graphic lines, such as a black stripe in the middle of a white dress, was toned down in slightly shiny sheer dresses perfect for the summer. A light blue dress looked like a pretty cloud. In the midst of the ready-to-wear was a breather: Yiqing Yin’s couture clothing in a special presentation in Galeries Lafayette. The Chinese designer showed her first couture collection last couture season; she intends to come out with her first collection of pret-a-porter in next season’s shows. Yin talked about her technique, most of which are done by hand, including what looked like perfect tears on a black gauze-y dress. “I learned just by experimenting,” she said. Draped and ruched dresses, formed and intricate, included dresses with simpler forms but were adorned with Swarovski crystals that looked like shards of ice. Her favorite dress was on display in the store window: a black gown with Swarovski crystals. Several events took place in the evenings such as the launch of Kriss Van Assche’s Londerzeel magazine, Numero 2. The event included a film of the designer’s 2012 collection, directed by Joost Vanderbrug, called A Moment in Time. A few days later, in the same venue, was the launch of Tod’s Signature Collection in Paris. In bright blue, red, and a creamy white, the collection offered soft but structured pieces. A video installation showed an important brand icon: the bottom of the original Tod’s driving shoe — back when the brand was still called JP Tod’s. Hogan by Karl Lagerfeld, in the meantime, also showed textured bags, and easy flat shoes for every day. It was the designer’s third collaboration with the brand. The handheld clutches were simple and functional; the trench coats were just as easy to use. All the items were in black and white.
Paris Fashion Week SS 2012: Miharayasuhiro installation outtakes
Death Becomes Her
Miharayasuhiro’s installation for SS 2012
Miharayasuhiro does not have usually have runway shows for his women’s collections, choosing instead every season to have a themed project and showrooms. His installation at Tranoi, photographed by Paolo Roversi, is inspired by Millais’ Ophelia. “Life is so fragile. It is the time before death, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s about happiness,” said Yasuhiro.