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Editor's pick film

Baz Luhrmann creates cinematic love story for Erdem x H&M

Behind-the-scenes on the Baz Luhrmann film for Erdem x H&M
Behind-the-scenes on the Baz Luhrmann film for Erdem x H&M

Baz Luhrmann has created a short film for the launch of the Erdem x H&M collection, called “The Secret Life of Flowers”.

The visionary filmmaker, known for films including Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, as well as big budget ads for Chanel No.5, brings his usual cinematic and passionate style to the four-minute spot.

Set on a country estate that is always in spring bloom – as inspired by the Erdem brand – it tells the tale of a love triangle between upcoming actors Tom Rhys Harries, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Ruby Dagnall.

The idea was to present it as a “poetic trailer of a movie that will never be made”, said Luhrmann. “I wanted the film to be like a whole movie. It’s a very modern love story, set in a country house that is full of its own secrets and it’s like a metaphor for our times – it’s harsh out there in the world, but in here, the things that really matter keep growing in an eternal spring.”

At the LA launch, he added: “We had to come up with a narrative, a story, that had to grow from the clothes. Erdem had already made the clothes. They were the script,” he said. “That was the challenge. We’d never done anything like that before. So together we collaborated and made this world and this little story.”

Further featured stars including actress Dame Harriet Walter, who plays a matriarchal, Miss Havisham-like role, and models Saskia de Brauw, Imaan Hammam, Grace Hartzel, Fernando Cabral, Neels Visser and Tony Ward.

The film also debuts an exclusive new track by Years & Years, called Hypnotised. It will launch worldwide across social media, TV, YouTube and cinema. The Erdem x H&M collection will be available in selected H&M stores, as well as on HM.com, from November 2. There is also a making-of film below.

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Editor's pick film

Prada unveils “cinema poem” in Dada-inspired silent film

Prada Past Forward
Freida Pinto in Prada’s Past Forward silent film

Prada has released a short black-and-white film set in a futuristic silent dreamscape. Referred to by the brand as a “cinema poem” and a “complex collage”, it simultaneously stars Allison Williams, Freida Pinto and Kuoth Wiel in the same role, flicking seamlessly from one version of the lead character to the next.

The same goes for their male counterparts in John Krasinski, Jack Huston, and Sinqua Walls. Also featuring are Connie Britton and Paula Patton as adversaries, and Sacha Baron Cohen as a mouthless doctor.

On that level, “Past Forward”, as it’s called, is a surreal tale that includes everything from a chase and a fight scene, to a roll around on the beach and a particularly unique dance sequence.

There are tears, laughter, frights and more. There’s even a sci-fi twist with a triangular piece of glass that serves as a future smartphone device, and a direct reference to René Magritte’s The Lovers II painting from 1928, where a piece of fabric blocks two lovers’ embrace. It’s a “Dadaist plot”, as Vogue refers to it.

You have no idea if what you’re watching is a dream sequence, a series of memories or a reflection of chaotic modern (or future) life. And that’s the point. “The viewer is left to decode what is experience, what is memory, what is dream and discern the overlap and differences between them,” says the release.

But more than that, the entire 12-minute piece really is intended as a piece of art. Director David O Russell (known for big films including Joy, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) said: “Here was the opportunity to make a journey guided by layers of movie memories, life images and emotions, with no aim except to create art – as if it were a painting or a sculpture – free from normal narrative or audience expectations. The cast and I worked simply for the joy of making art.”

In an interview with Vogue, he added: “It coalesced into this memory that’s also sort of a future. I almost think the whole thing is almost a premonition of how the country feels right now to me. Because the movies that I love, the dreams that I love, have a feeling of uncertainty in them.”

Prada Past Foward
Inspiration from René Magritte’s The Lovers II in Prada’s Past Forward silent film

“It’s almost like a painter experimenting with paint. And I was surprised in the edit room to say, ‘Look how different this feels when Freida is doing it. Look how this feels when Kuoth is doing it. How does it feel when Allison is doing it?’ It’s a process of discovery. I feel something different every time I watch it when it changes from one person to the next. I feel something inside me that says something about identity or culture or race, and in time they change.”

As Vogue explains, he references Alfred Hitchcock’s classic North by Northwest; the work of Franz Kafka; or automatic writing as popularized by André Breton, Robert Desnos, and their Surrealist crew in the 1920s as inspiration.

Prada isn’t the only fashion house working with Hollywood names of late. Burberry revealed The Tale of Thomas Burberry for the holiday season written by Matt Charman and directed by Asif Kapadia; Mulberry’s festive campaign was written by Hugo Guinness and directed by Albert Moya; and Moncler has also released a short film called Brave, Vision from Spike Lee.

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M&S wins Christmas with message of festive female power

Marks & Spencer's Mrs Claus in its Christmas with Love campaign
Marks & Spencer’s Mrs Claus in its Christmas with Love campaign

Move over John Lewis, Marks & Spencer may just have beaten you to the title of best Christmas campaign in UK retail this year.

“Christmas with Love” is not only a heartwarming festive tale, but a message of female empowerment at a time of political dismay coming out of the recent US elections. In an anti-Trump statement, its heroine is none other than Mrs Claus herself.

A feminist declaration, it sees Oscar-nominated actress Janet McTeer, sneaking off on her own secret mission during Christmas Eve night, while Santa is busy away on his sleigh. Taking several cues from James Bond – snowmobile, underground transport hub, helicopter ride and more – Mrs Claus arrives at the home of a little boy to make his Christmas wish come true.

Unlike her husband, she skips all the difficult bits, like sliding down the chimney, and instead acts the ultimate logical superhero by striding purposefully the front door. It’s bold, modern and completely kickass, which supports much of the sentiment about it across social media.

The three-minute tale was created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, and directed by Tom Hooper, of The King’s Speech, Elizabeth I and Les Miserables fame. It’s an ambitious piece of cinematic storytelling, as others like Burberry have strived for this season.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of customer, marketing and M&S.com, said: “Our ‘Christmas with Love’ campaign is a brand new approach for M&S this year, one that has been created with our customers and for our customers, with their feedback at the heart of our strategy. Our ambition is for M&S’s customers across the nation to experience something special this festive season.”

It launches during a challenging time for the retailer, after it announced the closure of 60 stores and a fall in pretax profit of 88% during the first six months of this financial year. Never before has there been such a need for it to turn to fulfilling what its customers really want.

“Mrs Claus is the result of thousands of conversations that we had with our customers to understand what they want from M&S – which is warmth, empathy and a touch of humour presented in a modern and contemporary way. She epitomises the huge efforts our customers put in to making the festive season special and represents the love and togetherness that customers want to feel and see in abundance at Christmas,” Bousquet-Chavanne added.

The ad has already been watched over 4 million times on YouTube. It is supported online by a wealth of web content and fun social messaging (as per the below) backed by Mrs Claus with the #LoveMrsClaus hashtag. All of them continue in her note of female empowerment, even the replies being sent to individual users commenting on the ad. She will also appear in a spot giving style tips to TV presenter Dawn O’Porter and Christmas decoration suggestions to Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer.

The campaign comes of course hot on the heels of the US election and presumably a hope from the retailer that it would support the country’s first female president from afar had Hillary Clinton won. The #imwithher hashtag surrounding the presidential election is undoubtedly a great fit with this same message.

The concept of feminist marketing has been a big focus from brands across the board in recent years, including from others such as H&M and Netflix this autumn. John Lewis also nodded to the results of the US election, as well as Brexit, with a quote from Craig Inglis, customer director, that read: “2016 has certainly been quite a year, so we hope our advert will make people smile.”
It does that too, but for the women out there, M&S manages to go that one step further and gently remind us that hope is not completely lost, after all.

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Editor's pick film

Storytelling reaches new heights for Burberry’s festive campaign

The Tale of Thomas Burberry holiday campaign
The Tale of Thomas Burberry

Burberry has released a cinematic trailer for its holiday campaign – a three-minute film that reimagines key events in its history and leaves us wanting more.

The Tale of Thomas Burberry, as it’s called, taps into the heritage of the brand and its founder, nodding towards the technical capability of the gabardine fabric he develops as well as a fictional love story underpinning the building of his company.

The result: a solid piece of storytelling that does indeed leave the viewer wanting to watch the full-length version of the film. We might know about the resulting success of the brand, but what about the personal life of Burberry himself? Beyond being an inventor, what were his relationships with the explorers and soldiers he outfitted? Did he really fall for another woman after he was married? And what about those thought of his father in his head? It has all the markings of something ready for the big screen.

Written by Matt Charman and directed by Asif Kapadia, the film sees Domhnall Gleeson playing Burberry, with Sienna Miller as his fictional first love. There’s also Dominic West playing Sir Ernest Shackleton, the pioneering polar explorer who wore Burberry gabardine for three Antarctic expeditions. And Lily James as pilot Betty Dawson, a fictionalised character inspired by the real life achievements of Betty Kirby-Green, who broke the world record in 1937 for a return flight from England to Cape Town in an airplane named “The Burberry”, dressed in Burberry.

The real life moments in the film include Burberry’s invention of the weatherproof fabric gabardine, dressing the military, and outfitting polar explorers and pilots.

“This Christmas, as we celebrate our 160th anniversary we wanted to tell the story of Thomas Burberry – pioneer, inventor, innovator, and the man behind the iconic trench coat – in our own words. The film we have made is a brief glimpse inspired by his full and extraordinary life, which threaded its way through the history of the twentieth century in all its tumultuous highs and lows… We feel very proud to be sharing The Tale of Thomas Burberry this Christmas – his spirit and his vision are still at the heart of everything we do at Burberry today,” said Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative and chief executive officer.

The Tale of Thomas Burberry holiday campaign
The Tale of Thomas Burberry

Kapadia added: “The aim was to make a trailer for a film that we haven’t actually made. So to bring together all these epic moments of life, death, birth, love and relationships, and to go through time and to have various characters that would appear and reappear – it was about finding these epic movie moments that would then make the trailer.”

The film was shot primarily at Shirburn Castle in Oxfordshire. They team even created replica gabardine tents, made at Burberry’s Castleford factory in Yorkshire, for the exploration scenes.

Shorter edits of the film will appear across Burberry’s social platforms, as well as across digital and cinema advertising. There will also be stills of the cast members and key moments from the film used in print and out-of-home ads.

The Tale of Thomas Burberry holiday campaign
The Tale of Thomas Burberry
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Editor's pick film

Mercedes-Benz proves a puppet assistant is the next big thing in fashion

MercedesBenz_petitmichel

It’s always good to see fashion not taking itself too seriously. This time, it’s the turn of Mercedes-Benz with the help of sound designer Michel Gaubert and his puppet assistant Petit Michel.

In an amusing short film – the latest in the automotive brand’s Fashion Creatives series – the relationship between the two characters is explored. Initially it’s about sabotage on the part of the puppet, and embarrassment for Gaubert, before it emerges that Petit Michel is in fact equally a genius on-hand to help Gaubert win some of his biggest gigs. For reference, those gigs span the fashion show soundtracks of Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel and Fendi, through to Raf Simons, Jonathan Anderson, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Jeremy Scott and Celine.

As a reward, Petit Michel is off to Mercedes-Ben Fashion Week Berlin in Gaubert’s place. He also gets read a soppy poem and given a rocket badge. The duo cruise around in a Mercedes-Benz 1970 280SEL throughout.

The spot was written and directed by Los Angeles-based director Toben Seymour. The puppeteer for Petit Michel was Viktor Yerrid, who works for the Jim Henson Company and has performed Muppet characters in many TV shows, movies and TV commercials.

Image credit: Shelby Duncan

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Editor's pick film

More festive films: Hermès, Gucci, Jo Malone, Old Navy, H&M, Tiffany & Co

jomalone_poppy_kissmas

Holiday-themed films continue to roll in. Beyond the heavy expectations of John Lewis, through the lols of Kate Spade, the adventures of Target, and mischievous cat of Sainsbury’s, and on to a few more that are worth a look.

Hermès takes to its classic illustration work with another cute tale; Gucci turns to its cruise 2016 collection for gift giving ideas; Jo Malone sees Poppy Delevingne playing cupid (as pictured above) in its ‘Happy Kissmas” spot; and Old Navy sends actor Fred Armisen and musician Carrie Brownstein to the kids table.

There’s also a music video starring Katy Perry from H&M and a traditional romantic spin from Tiffany & Co. Check them all out, below:

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Editor's pick film

We’re watching: Kristen Stewart in the new Once and Forever Chanel film

chanelbiopic

If you haven’t yet spared 11 minutes to watch Karl Lagerfeld’s new short film for Chanel; here’s your chance. Once and Forever, as it’s called, is a fictional look behind-the-scenes of a fictional biopic on Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, with actress Kristen Stewart playing an actress playing the lead role. Very meta.

The Twilight star and Chanel muse does so with gusto – albeit leaning more towards diva tendencies than the part itself. Despite singing a little, attempting to dance and speaking a touch of French, she has a hard time getting into the role, isn’t impressed by the director, doesn’t believe in the actor playing the part of the love of her life, is furious about the producer inviting the press, and smokes and swears throughout. It’s perhaps the most real, even if entirely dramatised, Chanel has ever been.

The fact Stewart rocks Chanel Couture in some scenes juxtaposed with a hoodie and jeans in another, is also somewhat brilliant.

Meanwhile, Geraldine Chaplin plays an older version of Coco Chanel – something she has done many times before – beautifully. Watch to the end, the final scene is by the far the best.

Also starring are Jérémie Elkaïm, François Marthouret, Amanda Harlech, Jamie Bochert, Jake Davies, Baptiste Giabiconi and Laura Brown. The film premiered Tuesday, December 1, as part of the brand’s Paris-Rome 2015/16 Métiers d’Art collection. See further highlights from it, here.

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Blocks Editor's pick film

Romeo Beckham plays cupid in Burberry’s musical-inspired festive film

1_Burberry_Festive_Campaign

“Lights, camera, trench coats!” reads the front page of the Burberry Times in an appropriate headline for a quirky on stage prop in the brand’s very own piece of musical theatre released today.

Inspired by the golden age of cinematic musicals, the British heritage brand has introduced a four-minute film (as below) as part of its first global festive campaign.

From London with Love, as it’s called, stars Romeo Beckham in his second appearance for the brand, as a boy who delivers the gift of love (through an enchanted glittering box) to young dancer couple, Hannah Dodds and Anders Hayward.

They are joined throughout the short film by 50 other dancers, as well as continuous references to the British capital, including the Queen’s Guard, a series of policemen with their classic custodian helmets, and the city’s recognisable architecture in the background. Even the wet weather – a Burberry staple – is seen, through a dance scene of multiple opened umbrellas.

3_Burberry_Festive_Campaign

The spot was directed by Burberry chief creative and chief executive officer, Christopher Bailey, who said: “This festive campaign is a celebration of everything we love at Burberry; the trench coat, the cashmere scarf, incredible music, our British weather, and working with great and talented people.”

It features a soundtrack called The Way that I Live, by British songwriter Ed Harcourt, who played live to a crowd of 500 guests this evening at a screening of the film at the brand’s flagship store at 121 Regent Street.

The campaign will run across outdoor advertising, cinema, and all of the brand’s 10 global social media platforms for the next three months. Its launch is accompanied by a push for the brand’s full range of gifts, from its Heritage trench coat to cashmere scarf, men’s tailoring, women’s eveningwear and newer beauty line, all of which feature in the film.

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Blocks film

First look: seven of the best autumn/winter 2014/15 fashion films so far

karlie_tamaramellon2

The new season’s ad campaigns are releasing thick and fast, with names like Rita Ora, Cara Delevingne, even Winona Ryder announced as stars. Among them all, a series of new fashion films too. Here’s a pick of some of the best so far…

  • 1. Kenzo’s journey into an “unfamiliar world”, starring Guinevere Van Seenus and Robert McKinnon by Toiletpaper magazine:

  • 2. Tamara Mellon’s way out west collection, as modelled by “Kowboy Karlie” (Kloss) shot by Tom Craig:

  • 3. Fendi showing off its new Color Block Eyewear Collection with a spot featuring guest singer Kiesza:

  • 4. Mulberry in the Scottish highlands, shot by Tim Walker and starring Cara Delevingne:

  • 5. Givenchy’s private party with models Kendall Jenner, Julia Noblis, Mariacara Boscono, Jamie Bochert and Peter Brant II, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott:

  • 6. Donna Karan’s Woman in Motion, starring Karlie Kloss by Steven Sebring:

  • 7. T by Alexander Wang’s humorous turn once again, this time featuring Chris Kattan as Mango, a character from Saturday Night Live, alongside rapper and choreographer Sharaya J and a handful of industry cameos:

And one for luck from Swide.com… male SS15 Dolce & Gabbana models. Hitting on you. On helium.

You’re welcome…

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Harmony Korine directs new wonDiorland film

wondiorland

Dior has teamed up with director Harmony Korine for a new short film for its Dior Addict fragrance.

The Alice in Wonderland-inspired spot features model Sasha Luss stepping through a mirror and into a luscious world of flora and fauna offset only by the heavy beat of Die Antwoord’s track, Enter the Ninja.

The film ties to a wider campaign referred to as wonDiorland, which includes a dedicated Facebook page filled with additional content, and a mobile activation referred to as a “sensorial experience”. That experience invites the user to connect their smartphones and desktops by entering a four digit pin on the latter – from there they can explore the content by touch, swiping through a variety of additional footage, insight on the inspiration and behind-the-scenes information.

The experience is designed to reflect the mirror Luss is seen stepping through, the page reacting as though pulsating to the user’s touch and activating dream-like pieces of content on the larger screen.

Korine was last seen in the fashion world directing somewhat of a controversial spot for Proenza Schouler.