Unfolding Fashion's Fictions: Fashion Film and the Narrative Possibilities of Dress
Fashion advertisements and editorials have developed persuasive stories of romance, mystery and glamour around clothing, which highlight the importance of narrative in the representation of dress. In the quest for an evermore spectacular fashion image, fashion photography has recently been challenged by the pervasive impact of the short fashion film. This new commercial medium has persuasively extended the narrative possibilities of dress through cinematic convention and self-reflexive referencing. This article contributes to current scholarly interest regarding the significance of the digital fashion film as an Internet phenomenon that has challenged traditional forms of fashion media and significantly altered the way the spectator experiences fashion. Specifically, this article considers and analyses examples of the short fashion film to argue that two distinct formats have emerged within this burgeoning genre - the 'fashion as character' film, which casts the fashion object as a central protagonist in the development of the storyline and the 'fashion as action' film, which conveys the materiality of clothing as unfolding drama. Through comparing the narrative structures of these differing formats with that of the photographic magazine editorial, this article will argue that the 'fashion as character' and 'fashion as action' films position the viewer as either a passive reader or an active author, and that this distinction can determine how the fashion film is perceived by the viewer as commerce or art.
Catwalk: The Journal of Fashion, Beauty and Style