Friday, October 26, 2012

Dressing the Screen

Another action-packed day, now with the added presence of our Chairman, Sir Vernon Ellis, who's just flown in, and whose first task was to attend a thank you lunch for Lady Linda Wong Davies who's been organizing a number of UK-China cultural events over the last few years (a Handel opera, a Chinese pavilion by the artist Shao Fan at the Chelsea Flower Show, and Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde - of which more tomorrow). A nice relaxed affair.
Then off to a rather more formal meeting with the Ministry of Culture, followed by a Vernon-and-Graham double-act talk to all our staff back at the office.
But the major event of the day was the opening of our exhibition, Dressing the Screen: the Rise of Fashion Films, at UCCA. It's been a stressful affair putting it together (curatorially, financially and time-wise)  but, with our media partners Modern Media, we made it happen. What are 'fashion films'? Glorified ads?  Well, kind of. It's a new creative medium (film, video, internet...) for fashion designers to promote their collections beyond the traditional catwalk show - although there are also examples of particularly innovative catwalks by the likes of Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen etc. Of the early films, there was an intriguing one by Simon Napier Bell's dad from 1960 and a little-known 1981 promo by Peter Grenaway. A key catalyst was Nick Knight's SHOWstudio website which was a pioneer in showcasing fashion on the internet. And then there's Burberry's virtual catwalks (which wowed Beijing a year and a half ago - see post). And then there are borderline art projects with little in the way of clothes to be seen. Anyway, it's a great show, expertly curated by fashion film-maker Kathryn Ferguson, with additional Chinese curation by Shaway Yeh, and made for a very cool opening party... until we turned up in our suits & ties thanks to our preceding meeting at the Ministry of Culture.  

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