Last Thursday, New York City played host to the Vimeo Festival Awards, celebrating the best and brightest short videos on the Web via video-hosting website Vimeo. What made this year’s ceremony even more special than the past few years’ festivities was the fact that it featured a brand new award category for fashion videos. The category debut was made all the more exciting by some of the spectacular judges attached, including Opening Ceremony/Kenzo‘s Humberto Leon, SHOWstudio’s Nick Knight and style superstar Nicola Formichetti.
The big winner for Best Fashion Film was director Amanda Boyle and her short, “Skirt,” which was created for Mulberry in honor of InStyle UK’s 10th anniversary back last fall. InStyle had asked six designers and labels to create their own fashion shorts (think Henry Holland, Diane von Furstenberg and Christian Louboutin) which were then played during the magazine’s 10th anniversary soirée in London, appearing on the magazine’s website a day later.
Boyle’s “Skirt” managed to beat out three other fashion films that were up for the award, including a short for surf label Pret-a-Surf, Opening Ceremony for Target’s Step, Clap, Go! and the supremely beautiful Dynamic Blooms by Tell No One and Nick Knight. Considering that two of the category’s judges each had some association with one of the videos up for the category made it all that more refreshing to see Boyle’s flick take home top honors.
To make matters more interesting, “Skirt” is also a fashion film that’s very not much like a fashion film at all. For starters, there weren’t even any Mulberry items in the flick. There was also an absence of the sexy, high fashion models that most fashion shorts feature these days, as well as any high fashion duds for that matter. Instead, “Skirt” isn’t so much about the visuals but rather the story, connection and the relationship that develops between the two characters of the film.
We wanted to find out more about where Boyle got the inspiration for the film, which was shot over the course of three days in London’s east-end neighborhood of Bethnal Green (and happened to be her first fashion film ever). She tells us:
The brilliant Eilidh MacAskill at InStyle magazine came up with the idea of making a collection of films about style with various designers. I heard about the project and wasn’t sure initially if I knew anything about style but I was keen to make a new short, particularly one which had little dialogue. I’d just come off directing back to back television where dialogue is king and longed to do something that was all about the texture of things.
I then enlisted writer Mike Lesslie. Together we started brainstorming what style was. For us it was the aesthetic choices we make to express who we are, the way we interact those choices and the way those choices affect the people around us. We imagined how style might be explored within a relationship between two people. This then became the story of two people having to share a flat — how their personal possessions might become a way for them to baffle, fight, flirt and maybe fall in love. Mike and I bounced this structure back and forth.
Then I started to shape this with production designer Jacqueline Abrahams focusing on what their objects might be, what those objects would say about the two characters and how the scenes might develop visually. We were interested in looking at one character’s choice of objects, and what these might mean to the other. How far do objects define or come close to any definition of who a person is?
When asked about what specific instructions she received from Mulberry for the film, she simply mentioned that the brand was great, and wanted her to “be bold”. “It was more the sense of fun and feel of the piece they [Mulberry] responded to,” added Boyle. “Then there’s also that card four seconds in that subliminally says ‘BUY A BAG’. I’m joking, of course.”
And if you’re looking for a take-away message from the film, don’t: Boyle says there really isn’t one. She did say, “If it makes you smile, our job is done.”
Even though Boyle’s main foray is television (think Skins and Misfits — both shows we’re big fans of here at StyleCaster), we at least wanted to get her two cents if she thought that maybe there was something lacking from fashion films these days that she’d like to see more of. “This is my first fashion film,” she said. “Give me a few more and I’ll tell you…”
Fingers crossed, someone will indeed give her an excuse to create some more fashion shorts down the line.