A conversation with digital trailblazer and fashion icon, Diane Pernet. Diane Pernet founded her fashion blog “A Shaded View on Fashion” in 2005, followed by “A Shaded View on Fashion Film”, the acclaimed fashion film festival. Currently at its 13th edition, submissions for ASVOFF13 are still open until the 31 of July 2021. Earlier this year our fashion editor, Basti, had the pleasure of finding out more about her views on topics such as: sustainability, gender in fashion, and fashion film.
Photographed by Ruven Afanador
What is a particular characteristic that you are looking for in a piece of clothing that makes it unique?
I like things that are custom made for me… Most important is the silhouette, the construction and the material within those elements there is a lot of space. A favorite designer that I like to wear is Dries Van Noten because he always has incredible textiles and beautiful cuts, and the looks are timeless. I like his embroideries too.
We are told more and more to choose sustainable fashion or to integrate principles like up cycling, recycling, etc. in our lives. Do you think that the mass market will ever be able to adapt to these tendencies and act accordingly? What does sustainable fashion mean from your perspective?
Yes, I think mass market is being forced to pay attention to what seems to be the major focus every manufacturer has been forced to face this year and of course CODIV 19 only added to the focus. I emphasize the word forced because if the light was not being shined into their eyes, they would never make any move. Sustainable fashion has many meanings to me. It could be buy better buy less and wear it till it falls apart, then no matter what textile it is it is sustainable just based on how often you wear the garment. I read somewhere that most people only wear garments 7 times…I find that outrageous and the opposite of sustainable. There is a negativity to wearing leather but as long as people eat meat, leather is a byproduct and many of the vegan leather is nothing more than plastic. A lot more can be refined and developed from repurposed food waste and textiles made of fruits and vegetables like Bananatex, Pinatex, Mylo, Orange fiber, Parblex.
Re-purposed plastic is also in the experimental stage and reduces landfill problem. Many smaller designers find up-cycling and using dead stock the easiest way to create sustainably. Marine Serre comes to mind as up-cycling, using deadstock, more recently cutting apart old denim garments and giving them new life along with redesigning vintage or dead stock or just wearing vintage are all fitting into the definition of sustainable. It is amusing now instead of calling excess stock what it is now we call it ‘archive’ sales. It is all how you wish to communicate it.
The move now is to digitally show a collection, cut to order thus eliminate landfill and of course think about using eco-friendly textiles.
What is your point of view related to a dress on film?
I have no problem appreciating fashion on film. Afterall, like we were saying yesterday, it’s not like we reach out and touch the fabric as a model goes down the catwalk. I think it is more difficult for a buyer to buy from a frozen image or a film then it is for a journalist or client. We watch the fashion in movement, take for example the coats worn by Nicole Kidman in The Undoing, the viewer saw the fashion on film, and it created a big interest in where the coats could be purchased. It was on film, not catwalk. It is the same when you see a garment as a frozen image in an editorial in a magazine, you are not there at the shoot, but you see it and you desire it so for me…I’m happy to watch a dress on film I really do not need to see a catwalk in person to appreciate a collection. When there is a great ‘show’ and the atmosphere envelops you, it is a pleasure to be there but for the most part being at a physical show is more focused on who is where in the seating hierarchy than anything else.
Would you say there is any relevance left in describing a piece of clothing as feminine or masculine? How is it different from the past?
I think fashion should be genderless. If a man wants to wear a dress, so be it. Women have been dressing in men’s clothes for decades. Think about Marlene Dietrich wearing a man’s tuxedo in Von Sternberg’s Morocco. More recently female celebrities wearing pieces from YSL, Celine, Dior Homme. I love wearing my coat by Thamanyah made for a man but suits me just fine. Back in the early/mid eighties Jean Paul Gaultier caused a controversy putting men in skirts and more recently J W Anderson put men in dresses a few years ago. Gucci put men in pussy bow transparent blouses, if it feels good on you, wear it.
You have created a festival, A Shaded View on Fashion; do you think that today it is more difficult for new talents to emerge?
Not at all. I think with life going digital it evens out the field for new talents. If you have something to say that is authentic and personal you have access to the planet through social media. That goes for fashion as well as fashion film. It is funny with ASVOFF with very few exceptions it is usually an unknown director that wins the grand prize. It is all about creativity more than celebrity on ASVOFF.
What do you expect from the next edition of A Shaded View on Fashion Film?
I am working on ASVOFF 13 now, deadline for submissions is end of July. I plan on it being digital and if possible, considering CODIV 19 with some physical events and I’d be happy to travel the festival again once it is safe to do. In the meantime, I am working on developing my dedicated channel on FNL Network which can be seen on all these platforms: https://linktr.ee/fnlnetwork/. I wish you did not have to scan down the home page to find it…but it is there and I’m thinking of perhaps having a show a month where I can be a filter on culture, whatever interests me in the thought that if it interests me perhaps it will interest you. What I would love is a young animator that would like to work with me on this doing animation because I would love to be a cartoon or a manga…if you are out there and would like to collaborate with me on this experiment…please contact me through IG my tag is ASVOF. Also, we finally, after 12 years, have set up an official asvoff IG, please follow us there https://www.instagram.com/asvoff_official/ .
What advice would you give to a young creative wishing to participate in A Shaded View on Fashion Film?
Think about the times we are living and if you were to put it all in a time capsule how would you represent it? Have fun with it, leave your audience wanting more, not watching the timeline to see when it is over. Create an atmosphere and a little humor never hurts.
Are you currently working on any future projects?
For now, I’m working on finding partners for ASVOFF 13 and like I said above I’d love to find a young animator that would like to join forces with me creating a cartoon for my idea of a DP TV, once a month occurrence on FNL Network.