Fashion blog icon Diane Pernet’s shaded view on fashion is one of the most influential insider regards on the industry. Based in Paris, the New Yorker’s passion is promoting any talent – young or established – that pushes boundaries or does something transcendental. Since 2008 her film festival – A Shaded View on Fashion Film (ASVOFF) has been lauded as a major catalyst in the use of the moving medium to explore the sartorial.
This year, ASVOFF will be at the Centre Pompidou concluding Paris fashion week, with special guests including Daphne Guinness and Rossy de Palma on the awards night.
ASVOFF has also diversified into ASVOFF Art to curate the experimental side of the medium, with video artists Sergio Cruz, Kathryn Ferguson and Socrates Mitsios & Actually Huizenga collaborating respectively with Alex Noble, Charlie le Mindu and Simon Preen.
Jim Morrall poses a few questions to Diane in the midst of her preparation…
Jim Morrall: How is your fashion week going, aside from the preparation for ASVOFF?
Diane Pernet: I did a few days in London, passed on NYC and Milan and today is the first day for Paris. My first show is Aganovich and I am looking forward to that but because of all the preparations for ASVOFF4, I think I’ll be super selective on the shows I actually attend.
JM: How did the fabulous posthumous Richard Avedon/Jun Rope’ entrant come about?
DP: In fact I had tea with a few friends at Cafe Flore, Olivia Bransbourg of Iconofly and Serge Carreira of Prada and they told me that I absolutely had to check out these films of Jun Rope. They said they had no idea where they came from or who Jun Rope was but I took the ball and as they say, ran with it. I contacted my producer in Tokyo, Akiko Hamaoka and told her I needed to find out more about these films and how I could obtain permission to screen them. She was Sherlock Holmes and unlocked the door to the mystery and now they will be screened at ASVOFF4 ‘s opening.
JM: Tell us about your own filmmaking… aside from video-journalism I read that you studied documentary filmmaking…
DP: Yes, I got my degree from University in filmmaking and must say that I’ve loved films since the first Disney film I watched as a little child dressed in my pj’s in the back seat of a car. This was in the days of drive-in movies.
JM: Since 2008 when ASVOFF started, the genre is growing. What might the future hold?
DP: I think that brands are understanding that this is a great way to get their message out there and unlike a fashion show which has a relatively short life, a film has no sell through date. I think it will continue to grow. I would love to see films take the place of catwalks and make catwalks a public event that is like an entertainment that people pay to attend and are around at the time the clothes arrive in the shops.
JM: Many films are collaborations and commissions for brands; a promotional tool. Does that compromise artistic integrity?
DP: Not at all, it is up to the brand and the director to find a novel way of getting their message across. A few years ago we had a YSL ad with Michael Pitt, we only saw his beautiful face and a voice off, we did not even know what the product was but it left a lasting impression about the brand. Some films are clearly advertisements and some are creative adventures. I love MUTA for Miu Miu; I think it is a wonderful fashion film. There are so many that are innovative and through them we appreciate the diversity of the medium.
JM: Will you do some more cameos?!
DP: You mean like in Prêt à Porter and 9th Gate? Not in my plans but you never know!
JM: There are a lot of entrants and collaborators from London, especially for ASVOFF Art, why do you think that is?
DP: In fact there are a lot of entries in the entire ASVOFF that come from London; I think that is because London is great with image. As for ASVOFF Art, my producer at large in London is Konstantinos Menelaou, he is based there, a filmmaker himself and good at getting out the word. It is the first edition of ASVOFF Art and although it had been on our minds this is really an initiative of Konstantinos and one that I support. He’s in London, many talented directors are there hence the ASVOFF Art this year is quite London. For next year we might be a bit more diversified.