FashFilmFete, a film festival celebrating fashion storytelling, is debuting in the Valley April 30 at the Phoenix Art Museum. In the first of a two-part interview, I caught up with the founder Mignon Gould to discuss fashion films and her big-screen favorites.
- Tell me more about your love for Fashion Films? Furthermore, which ones are your favorite, and tell us why? Fashion and film are two art forms that have long been passions of mine—film for its unifying and educational possibilities; and fashion for its accessibility. Fashion is the one art form that everyone participates in, regardless of ethnicity, cultural beliefs or economic status. Fashion and film together, are an undeniable force for storytelling and shaping narratives.
My favorites are “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) for the classic styling and the collaboration of a studio with a designer. Hubert de Givenchy costumed many of Audrey Hepburn’s films and from this film, the love of the little black dress was born; “Mahogany” (1975) for its rich cultural perspective and the fact that the film’s star designed the costumes that she wore; and “Clueless” (1995) for its satirical use of fashion and sense of style to set the stage for the character’s storylines.
- Are you in love with a specific era, look or aesthetic? I am definitely a fan of a classic and preppy aesthetic in films such as “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) and “Love Story” (1970). But I am also drawn to period pieces from the 50s and 60s such as “Selma” (2014) and “Jackie” (2016). In an interview I conducted with costume designer Madeline Fontaine for “Jackie” she emphasized the importance of the costumes from the film in helping “transport you to that era and time…where everyone knows many of Jackie’s iconic outfits.”
TV shows and streaming series also use fashion to make an impact. A streaming favorite that has caught my eye is Netflix’s “Bridgerton.” I love the fashions of Great Britain’s Regency era, featuring brilliant colors and decorative embellishments.
- Period and historical movies have to have a carefully curated costume component. What are your thoughts about those that “cut” corners in terms of fashion? “Cutting corners” for period and historical films may be unavoidable depending on a studio or filmmakers budget. I think as long as the costuming stays true to the era and helps tell the character’s story, using budget-friendly options is acceptable.
It only becomes an issue when fashion in a period film is second thought and there is no attention to detail. An example of this occurred in a scene from the film “Pearl Harbor” (2001), where a group of women were fashioned in knee-length dresses with no hosiery. In 1941, the era in which the film depicts, there would have been a more conservative attire such as longer dresses or nylons.
- One of my favorite movies in terms of theme, style and fashion is “The Thomas Crown Affair,” where fashion is an intrinsic component and part of the plot. Do you have a favorite plot from a fashion film? I enjoy films where fashion illustrates the evolution of a character such as “My Fair Lady” (1964), “Mahogany” (1975) and “Pretty Woman” (1990). In each of these films the main character goes through some type of transformation and their appearance needs to reflect that to make their scenario believable and relatable.
- I loved “Sex and the City” TV series. Then, the movie happened. It seems that it was a “forced” fashion extravaganza to keep the fashionistas “glued” to the screen. What are your thoughts about the current “And Just Like That” series? It’s not fashion related, but I was shocked that they killed off Mr. Big. When it comes to fashion, I love how Carrie Bradshaw’s style maintained a similar aesthetic from the original series, but with a more mature and Boho chic vibe.
However, I felt like the styling of Miranda and Charlotte was stale, as if their characters had not grown since the last time we saw them on the big screen. But I think it is always risky when there are multiple sequels to a film or TV series. The only franchise that I believe has been able to successfully adapt in plot and style is the James Bond film series.
Image source: Paramount Pictures (Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Mahogany), Fox Searchlight Pictures (Jackie), HBO Max (And Just Like That)
The long awaited FashionFilm Fete will be here before you know it.
So, I urge you to get tickets today.
Please visit this web site to get all the information you need to know to attend this celebration of fashion and style!
Always in style,