Sean Baker reinterprets the fashion film for Kenzo
You know that world of unattainable shiny beauty that we only know about thanks to fashion films? Well think again. We might well consider fashion films a new cinematographic genre: a short that goes beyond the logic of brand showcasing typical of an advertising spot and is often transformed into a concentration of visual poetics.
The fashion – cinema combo has always existed, but now more than ever we can really talk about it in terms of synergy, a new code in which cinematographic language captures and enhances the refined aesthetics of fashion. And while fashion films continued to show us perfect models filmed on perfectly-dressed sets, which is a scene immediately connected to the luxurious world of fashion, we have managed to keep up with this new genre.
However, now there is a new interpretation of this combination. And it’s all come about because of Snowbird, the new fashion film directed by film-maker Sean Baker for Kenzo’s SS16 Collection.
– Surely you didn’t miss the post published in GQ 200, on May’s edition of GQ Italia! –
We are immediately immersed in the day-to-day life of a community living on the outskirts, in the surreal world of a remote encampment, Slab City, which is located in the Sonoran Desert in California.
A sweet sound greets our ears, accompanying us as we find out what exactly our protagonist Theo – the beautiful Abbey Lee Kershaw – an Australian model who has already hit our screens in Mad Max: Fury Road – intends to do. It is a scenario with a certain post-apocalyptic flavour, a girl in a dilapidated caravan makes a cake before going person to person to share it.
What stands out goes far beyond the usual glamour: it is a narration that fluctuates between banal neighbourly chit-chat and profound perspectives.
The original soundtrack composed by Stephonik Youth traces this sinuous oscillation, taking us from caravan to caravan to discover the simple daily lives of this community, then lifting us up on a deep and rhythmic breath that ushers in the desert visuals.
And Sean Baker got this result by using his iPhone.
It is now the second time that this talented director has shown us that an iPhone is good for more than taking selfies and browsing the web. Last year in fact, he enjoyed great success at Sundance Film Festival with Tangerine.
Snowbird was filmed in four days with equipment that included the latest iPhone and the tools that have evolved within the ecosystem of iPhone apps and accessories in the wake of Apple’s technological progress. One of these, Filmic Pro, allows directors more controls with features designed to calibrate the white, focus and exposure.
A mixed cast of actors and local encampment residents, a completely unglamorous set, costly clothing worn as the humble garments suited to a marginalised community, smartphones instead of bulky film cameras: all glued together by the track Birthday Sunset – ‘Snowbird’ Theme which can be downloaded online.
It would seem that exclusivity is now a concept to be canned thanks to an 11-minute short that has reinvented the fashion film genre.