PHOTOGRAPH BY ARAKI
What role did your film background have in initiating the ASVOFF festival?
I've loved cinema ever since I was a small child in pajamas watching Cinderella in a drive in. As I grew older my tastes changed to Pasolini, Visconti, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, John Cassavetes, Kenneth Anger, Guy Maddin, Alfred Hitchcock and documentaries by Errol Morris. I studied documentary filmmaking at Temple University but at that point in time I was not that much into working with a team and after a short while got into reportage photography and gradually shifted my interests to fashion design. Creating ASVOFF put the two loves of my life together, it's like making the circle complete.
How was the ASVOFF idea conceived? Was there a eureka moment?
More than ten years ago I had the idea to create a fashion film festival but at that time there was not enough material out there. Six years ago Eley Kishimoto asked me to make a road movie for the launch of their menswear collection. They designed the inside and the outside of a G10 and entered the car into the Gumball 3000 car rally and asked me to shoot the film, I called it Adventure of Pleasure, you can see it on www.asvoff.com . I showed the film to my LA collaborator at the time and he asked me if I wanted to screen it in LA. I said, sure, why not. Then a day later EGR my Mexico City contributor sent me a fashion film that he made, I liked it and I posted it to “You Wear it Well” (the name of my first fashion film festival) and the first festival was born. It was launched in Los Angeles and travelled the planet for the rest of the year. Three years ago I decided, with the encouragement of David Herman, to take the festival from a one day program to a three day program and to make it an extension of my blog, hence the name ASVOFF (A Shaded View on Fashion Film). In September 2008, ASVOFF was launched in Paris at Jeu de Paume. A eureka moment, I guess would be in 2006 when I launched my first fashion film festival at Cine Space in Los Angeles, then as a three day festival at Jeu de Paume.
The jury for the festival is impressive with jurors such as Nan Goldin, Rick Owens, and now Elisabeth Quin. What qualifications do you seek in your jurors, or do your jurors find you?
My jurors are a truly dynamic and talented group, they complement one another brillantly. They are all passionate about style and capture it in their own ways. I suspect that the jury will be filled with that positive kind of tension you need for good debate. They also bring a vast amount of experience from both sides of the camera through many lenses of creativity. To date I've approached them and not the other way around. This year's jury includes:
ASVOFF 2010 COMPLETE JURY LIST
Olivier Saillard, Fashion Historian and Director of the Musee Galliera, ASVOFF President
Mike Figgis, Academy Award nominated writer/director; films include Leaving Las Vegas and Timecode
Elisabeth Quin, film critic and a French government representative for fashion
Michael Nyman, film composer for The Piano and 12 Peter Greenaway films
Bryan Adams, photographer and musician
Dita Von Teese, performer and style icon
Fabrice Brovelli, TV production director, BETC EuroRSCG.
Paolo Roversi, photographer
Emmanuelle Castro, film acquisitions and co-production director, Wild Bunch
Daphne Burki, reporter for Canal + television
Nadja Romain, independent producer
Sara Maino, senior fashion editor, Vogue Italia
Zowie Broach, designer of Boudicca
Abdel Bounane, chief editor, Amusement magazine
Olivier Seguret, journalist Liberation
Do you personally have a favorite category of submissions?
This year the prize categories include: Best Film, Best New Talent-SAMSUNG, Beauty Prize - Shu Uemura, Best Sound and Best Acting. I won't be making the divisions that I did last year which was basically commissioned and personal work and music videos. Instead all the films will be judged equally. There are, however, films that are out of competition.
As one of the forerunners of the medium of blogging, what direction do you think blogging is headed in, and what advice do you have for bloggers?
When I started blogging in February 2005 most of the world was still wondering what blogging was. Of course political and economic blogs were already existing but for the world of fashion this was a brand new territory. I embraced the potential of the new medium by launching A Shaded View on Fashion which attracted fashion enthusiasts as far afield as Sao Paulo, Beijing and Sydney. Over the past few years there has been a subsequent proliferation of the 'blogosphere'. I am happy to have been one of the pioneers in this field. I think that it has changed fashion reporting because the majority of the bloggers are fashion consumers so they are reporting on what they love without the constraints of magazines with advertisers that must be satisfied with editorials. My advice is to keep it personal and not just cut and paste from other people's sites, original content is far more interesting. As for the direction that blogging is heading, like Twitter, it has become a requirement for all of the traditional journalists. It is also making the magazine industry rethink their own approach. More magazines are headed in the direction of books, experimenting with different kinds of papers, typeface and more reflective articles that are not based on time. Magazines will never be as immediate as the blogs but they can and will still remain valid.
In what way has fashion replaced art’s role of setting aesthetic standards for the public?
Art. for most people, is something they can only admire from a distance, in galleries and museums, books, etc. Fashion is something that they can actually buy. There have always been designers that walked the line between fashion and art, but for the most part that is really not the case. I think that the cross over has always been interesting from as far back as Elsa Schiaparelli's collaboration with Salvador Dali or YSL in the sixties borrowing prints from Mondrian, De Stijl and Picasso. Honestly, I don't really believe that fashion has replaced art for setting aesthetic standards for the public.
You are known for working between the boundaries of fashion and art. As Mdvanii is a work of art, but also a fashion icon, how do you think she fits in or elaborates on, the discourse between art and fashion?
The biggest difference between fashion and art is the fact that art is something we place around us but not on us, for the most part, and fashion is meant to be worn. They will always walk a fine line and inspire each other but I'm still not sure that we can call fashion art.
Mdvanii is to Barbie what 'haute' couture is to prêt-a-porter, she is a dream.