Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fashion, Film and Fantasy

When I got there the music was bumping, pounding in a way guaranteed to give you tinnitus in old age. I wiggled around the limos to get to the velvet rope where the guard did a full look-over before letting me in, the list monitor matched my name to my face, then I was there, in the happening--Beatnik Gallery, fantasy-time Sacramento.

"Fashion On Film" premier, a showcase of short films inspired by the local fashion scene, was a melange of photo shoot, runway show, costume design showcase, make-up and hair design, trunk sale and party in an art gallery with tons of people.

Here's a link to a video explaining what this fun evening was about

And, here's a link to film producer/director Matt Salvo's movie trailer for "Freakquency"

High fashion is not my usual subject matter so I was astonished to find hundreds of people in a big mid-town art gallery celebrating the local fashion scene on a work night.
Runway show at "Fashion on Film" premier

 I was there because a couple of friends have produced fashion films selected for the upcoming Sacramento International Film Festival and another friend, a former high-fashion model, has an insightful new memoir out about her international modeling experiences -- Runway: Confession of a not-so supermodel. As a result, beautiful clothes, body art, technology and fun suddenly came together in my life. I wasn't looking for it. It just happened and now I'm trying to understand "fashion" in this larger, more dynamic context.  

When the party was over, I couldn't help but wonder What's the point?  Yes, it was a fun evening. But, I guess I'm wondering why young women model. What I mean is why would any beautiful young woman wants to dress in showy clothes and strut around grabbing attention? If you're young and beautiful, the attention is automatic so why bother with theatrics? What is the internal dynamic that causes someone to exhibit themselves beyond the usual notice? What's the emotional payoff on the runway?

One of the short films was the story about a girl caught in the hum-drum of life and college. For her, getting onto the runway was about "the dress." I assume the motivation was that she got to wear lovely clothes she wouldn't be able to otherwise. Is that a common motivation for models or is there something deeper? What's in it for the model?

Meghan modeling, age 18
I asked author/editor Meghan Ward about the motivation and she said: "For me it was ALL about the money. During high school, I was waitressing at the Sign of the Beefcarver for $2.15 an hour plus tips (and the tips were low because we didn't have our own tables and didn't serve the food - it was a buffet-style restaurant). I met a girl in a lifeguarding class I was taking who had just been paid $800 for one day modeling in a pizza commercial. I was probably making $50/day waitressing. That clinched it for me.

"But others do it for other reasons," Meghan said. "I think many just like the attention, the chance to be on a runway or in a magazine and be admired by others. Others do it to get away from their home towns and travel. I think every model has a different reason."

She has a blog post about the top 10 questions people ask her about modeling. Here's an answer to the question:

Do you miss it?
Meghan: I miss the travel sometimes. I never stayed in one country for more than three months at a time. I lived in Paris, London, Tokyo, Milan, Hamburg, Munich, Zurich, Sydney, and New York and traveled to Greece and India. And I miss the money sometimes. I could afford designer clothes back then. I owned a $2000 jacket and several $400 pairs of shoes (and this was 25 years ago). I bought my own apartment in Paris when I was 21 (long sold, sniff sniff), and an Alfa Romeo for my French boyfriend at the time. But it’s really true that money doesn’t buy happiness. I’m much happier now wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes  than I ever was back then.
Although not my usual subject matter, here are some raw images captured at the Fashion on Film preview party:
Film producer/director Kim Mims
 on the red carpet

With film producer/director Matt Salvo
Photo by Ching Lee
Cast of "Freakquency" with producer/director Matt Salvo

From "Gatsby Glam" collection
"007 Hot Shot" collection

"Star Wars Fantasy" collection

"Star Wars Fantasy" collection
"Street Smart" collection

Kim Mims talks inspiration/motivation behind
her fashion short: "Life on the Reeway"

Why does fashion matter?
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