Diane Pernet needs no presentation but for those who don’t know her, she is a world-renowned fashion critic and video journalist based in Paris… the grande dame of online fashion! Previously a photographer and designer in New York, fashion editor of Elle.com and Vogue Paris.com among other responsibilities, she recently reinvented herself as documentary filmmaker, talent scout and fashion blogger on her site A Shaded View on Fashion (www.asvof.com). In 2008, Diane launched A Shaded View on Fashion Film, the world’s first fashion and film festival.
I had the huge pleasure to catch up with her ahead of the Barcelona edition of A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival which will be held from 24 to 27 January 2012 and I touched based on various topics, from her contemporary art tastes to her love for koalas and the programme of the festival.
Tell us something we don’t know about you as a matter of introduction.
I fell in love with a koala bear when I was in Perth, Australia in August and ever since then have become obsessed with saving them from extinction.
Who or what inspires you the most?
Lighting by James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson, architecture and design by Joseph Dirand, fashion and furniture by Rick Owens. Soichiro Kanbayashi’s amazingly beautiful sculpted wooden chair, films by Mike Figgis, John Cassavetes. I love directors who can make great films. Anything Miguel Villalobos does from photography to sculpture to jewelry, cooking…, Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki, Erwin Olaf, Pierre Gonnard….
How did the idea of A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival come about?
When I first started this back in 2008, somehow I instinctively knew that ASVOFF would fill a much needed creative gap. I guess it was because I understood there was already an audience waiting to be served. But what I could never have anticipated was just how quickly the cross-over between fashion and film would evolve from wild experimentation into a bona fide art form and a valuable commercial outlet. To begin with, I think the ‘fashion film’ was born out of a real need to breathe life into the old static medium and set fashion in motion through the magic of cinema. What ASVOFF does is to give people in both industries – and talented outsiders too – a platform to let this genre flourish. Hopefully, by rewarding excellence in the field, it also keeps pushing them to push the boundaries forward too.
Do you feel that fashion films are the future of “fashion marketing” i.e complementing catwalk shows, streamed live catwalk shows, lookbooks etc. ?
Four years later, the two disciplines have grown even closer thanks to the incredible impact of the digital revolution, new commercial realities and a mutual fascination between fashion and film industry leaders. But it’s not only that. As online, tablet and smartphone media channels grow ever more important, ‘fashion film’ is also filling important business niches and offering artistic solutions to challenges we could never have imagined even a few years ago. It’s also creating totally new, sometimes unexpected opportunities as it goes along. ‘Fashion film’ makes perfect sense in today’s world where we have the live streaming of catwalk shows, click-to-buy video e-commerce functionality, behind-the-scenes and fly-on-the-wall fashion brand documentaries – not to mention video ads spreading virally like wild fire through social media networks. There’s something in the bigger picture too, you know. Fashion is still a hot topic for reality TV shows; there are biopics of fashion designers coming out left, right and centre; designers are moonlighting as Hollywood film directors – and actresses as designers. I don’t think there has ever been a better moment for a festival like ASVOFF than now.
Why a Barcelona edition for the festival? Is Spain an inspiration (I guess so given the mantilla which is part of your look)?
Actually 4 or 5 years ago I did my first fashion festival called You Wear it Well in the Arts Santa Monica on la Rambla in Barcelona sponsored by B-Guided magazine. I think it was 2006 and later I did ASVOFF in Santiago de Compostela. I do like Spain a lot. Alex Murray-Leslie (Chicks on Speed) and I have been talking about working together on ASVOFF Barcelona for about a year. ASVOFF will be customized for Barcelona with a new jury, two new competitions one for students with a one word brief AMUSE for a 1 minute film, deadline January 1st and a one minute mobile phone competition. You can visit http://www.asvoff.es for more information on the Barcelona edition.
What other cities do you have in your radar?
I just came back from an ASVOFF screening in Tokyo, we are currently planning ASVOFF in Miami Basel, followed by Barcelona and then we plan to go to Cannes again in May and in between maybe NYC and next year back to Australia. I’m not sure where else at the moment. Probably Milan again.
What events can we expect to attend in Barcelona?
New jury, new competitions , some Spanish archival fashion films, concerts, special appearances….work in progress at the moment.
How important is it to promote young fashion designers?
I like to promote young talent be it fashion, film, art or music. I think it is very important as that is the future.Young designers need a platform , they do not have the means to advertise and they deserve to be seen.
Do you feel there’s not enough visibility in the press or online given to young fashion designers?
Blogs and online websites and e-commerce and festivals do provide plenty of opportunity for designers to be seen.
Who do you think we should most watch as designers of the future?
At the moment I think Jean Paul Lespagnard is a good one to watch. I’ve been watching his work for about 4 years now ever since he was participating at the festival d’Hyeres. Aganovich is also making a name for themselves. MaMe in Tokyo is an interesting brand.
Same question for fashion film directors or photographers?
I really like the work of Elisha Smith-Leverock, Alex Prager, Lernet + Sander, Justin Anderson, Suzie Q + Leo Siboni, David Bedoni, Jason Last + Jaime Rubiano, I could continue but maybe should stop there.
What are your contemporary art tastes like?
I like Theo Mercier, Takahiro Kimura, Gregory Crewson, The Quay Brothers, Marc Quinn, Anish Kapoor and Yayoi Kusama.
Have you seen any recent striking exhibition?
Yes October 10th the Yayoi Kusama exhibition opened at Centre Pompidou.
What are your next projects? Directing a film yourself?
Like I said working on ASVOFF Miami Basel and ASVOFF Barcelona also trying to raise money for the Save the Koala fund by doing an event in London probably with the new Le Baron, just in the planning stage at the moment but the Koala bear situation is very dramatic. If something is not done soon they will be extinct. I like to direct low fi documentaries, for the moment only very short ones my dream is to one day assemble a series of short films and make it into one long film which will be a patchwork of the people that I find inspiring, interesting or entertaining.
To finish with, what do you think about this blog and what would you wish it?
I think it looks great, clean and interesting texts.