International Fashion on the Big Screen

Of the many Dunedinites pouring over their New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) programmes in anticipation of hours of pleasurable viewing this month, extra glee will go to the city’s followers of fashion.

This year the festival is dishing up three fashion themed films.

Along with being guaranteed eye-candy, they offer behind-the-scenes access into rarified worlds and fresh perspectives on the lives and personalities of their subjects.

All three documentaries paint excellent portraits of exceptional artists.

McQueen relates the rags-to-riches-to-self-destruction trajectory of the brilliant yet troubled man responsible for some of the most memorable and emotive fashion imagery of recent times. Surely no self-respecting fashionista will ever forget the model in the voluminous white dress being spray painted by robots?! Along with intimate interviews with people who were close to McQueen, this film showcases the ‘savage beauty’ of five of his legendary shows. It also deals sensitively and honestly with his untimely death, all in all making for an astonishingly moving film.

For the makers of Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, the challenge was in encouraging the grand dame of punk fashion to get over her boredom of talking about her well-documented back story. But Vivienne Westwood’s ‘punk attitude’ is central to the telling of her tale. Belligerent, brilliant, caustic and creative, Westwood remains very much at the helm of the major fashion house bearing her name. This film offers an intriguing insight into her life’s work in fashion, her motivation as an environmental activist and her intimate relationships, most famously with her 1970s collaborator Malcolm McLaren and husband/design-partner Andreas Kronthaler.  

The third fashion film is the work of New Zealand director Pietra Brettkelly. Yellow is Forbidden focuses attention on Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei, who became known to the world at large when pop-star Rhianna wore her enormous yellow gown to 2015’s Met Gala ball. Guo Pei is the darling of China’s top 1% and is captured here making her bid for acceptance to the most exclusive fashion organisation on the planet, the Paris Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Her works of insanely magnificent wearable art are a prime example of what draws fashion lovers to the flicks.

It all begins this Thursday night with Yellow is Forbidden screening as the NZIFF opener at The Regent Theatre, with over two weeks of films on myriad topics to follow.

Yellow is Forbidden
Thursday 9 August, 7:00 PM, Regent Dunedin
Friday 17 August, 3:30 PM, Regent Dunedin

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist
Thursday 23 August, 12:00 PM, Regent Dunedin
Sunday 26 August, 3:00 PM, Regent Dunedin

Sunday 12 August, 12:45 PM, Regent Dunedin
Tuesday 14 August, 11:00 AM, Regent Dunedin

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