DIANE PERNET – Arbiter of Style

The Founder Of ASVOFF Tells Us How The Convergence Of Fashion And Film Has Re-Ignited Creativity In Style Culture.

“Fashion should somehow be the protagonist in the film, but that doesn’t mean it should overpower the film”

– Diane Pernet 

The communication of fashion, at its very best, is an aesthetic communication of a unique cultural viewpoint through the lens of style. It has little, or nothing, to do with commerce but is about a pure expression of individuality. The last ten years have witnessed a genuinely transformative era in the history of fashion, whereby that pure artistic expression has found its natural home in lm. This period has resolutely championed the black-clad, front-row figure of inimitable cultural provocateur Diane Pernet, who has almost single-handedly pioneered the fashion lm genre with her festival (ASVOFF) A Shaded View on Fashion Film. In this extract from her extended interview in Author, she tells us why the key element that she seeks out in her work is what it has to say in the cultural context of the zeitgeist. 

“Fashion film needs an annual festival like ASVOFF to chronicle and critique it –because it is such a dynamic genre that is constantly evolving in tandem with these parallel technologies that are evolving so fast. When we are judging the entries for ASVOFF the more important criteria is that the films have to be moving and touch us.  

I want to see something that takes my breath away. For the Grand Prize, I try to direct the jury to use the sort of criteria that we’d use assessing any good film – narrative, great acting, great camerawork, editing, the list goes on and on. I mean, we have to keep in mind that fashion should somehow be the protagonist in the film, but that doesn’t mean it should overpower the film. On the contrary, the fashion element can be extremely subtle and still be powerful.

“We have different prizes, so we look for what moves us about the sound design, the art direction, the acting, the styling and so on. But we also try to keep in mind the context and the purpose of each film–for example, how it’s into the wider cultural context or the state of the world. It is a matter of taking the whole package into consideration while leaving yourself open to feel something visceral that points you in the direction of a particular film instinctively. There have been so many high points so far, but for me, one of them has to be the whole family of Alejandro Jodorowsky doing a panel discussion after the screening of Dance of Reality. I’d wanted Alejandro for six years, and in 2014 it became a reality. Also, every moment spent with Jean-Paul Gaultier was incredible. He was a genius President of the Jury and a great master of ceremonies for the closing two years ago. I cannot find enough words to express the total joy of working with him.” 

Interview by JOHN-PAUL PRYOR