Guest post by: Veronika from vanillachina, part 2

Fashion film as a new way to showcase the collection
by Veronika from vanillachina

Since a few years fashion film became a very popular and powerful marketing tool for fashion industry and is a big business today. Almost every major fashion house lately produced a fashion film. Emerging designers and small clothing companies also see the benefits of fashion film as a way for drawing attention to their brand and as an affordable advertising tool. Why so? What are the reasons for such a big success? What are the advantages of the fashion film over lookbook images, illustrations and snapshots? Let’s have a quick look.

I have picked two fashion films that recently caught my attention and that could help to answer the mentioned above questions: the retro fashion movie from 1968 that shows a collection by André Courrèges and Calvin Klein’s Hollywood-style “drama” entitled “Provocations” that features Alexander Skarsgård (the “True Blood” star) and the Finnish fashion model Suvi Koponen, shot by Fabien Baron for Calvin Klein’s Spring 2013 campaign.

As we can see with Courrèges example, the genre of fashion film was actually established long time ago, without being clearly distinguished as fashion film. The video is a sort of catwalk show: models step out of the doors to the “stage” area, stay there for a while, showing the clothes they have on, and disappear “backstage”. They move simultaneously like if they were performing on a show, or dance to the rhythm of the music. They smile and look happy. At the end of the video four models show up topless covering the breasts with the scarves or kerchiefs with André Courrèges’ name and logo.
André Courrèges was apparently one of the first designers to understand what are the essentials for a commercially successful fashion film: pretty models, nice atmosphere and a bit of naked skin. Voilà!

 Calvin Klein’s 10-minutes long narrative tells a story about the relationship between man and woman. The whole video is made in slow motion and based on three different sequences or parts that I instinctively named “Fire”, “Water” and Earth” like three classical elements. These sequences are mixed together and apparently represent three Calvin Klein clothing lines Calvin Klein collection, CK Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans.
The “fire” sequence is the James Bond-like sequence that features visuals of burning fire and explosions, which appear in a futuristic setting of shiny black panels. The sequence symbolizes past, memory and contemplation.
The “water” sequence (therefore the second clothing line) is set in a futuristic ambience that features minimalist industrial surroundings, rooms with grey walls and with minimal embellishment, water and reflections on the water. There is a sexual tension between the two characters that they manage to control.
The “earth” is road movie-like sequence represents Calvin Klein jeans line. This part is the most sexually charged sequence.
“Provocations” is a visually well-made fashion film, without a strong narrative line. Each one of Calvin Klein’s clothing lines is represented in a special film sequence and highlighted through particular visuals.
The duet of Alexander Skarsgård and Suvi Koponen works well. This makes it worth watching this unbelievable long (10 minutes!) and slow fashion film.

Coming back to the question, what are the advantages of the fashion film as a marketing tool:
First of all, film has the power of animated images that are able to depict three-dimensional world, which is much more attractive for the spectator’s eye than the static photographs or illustrations, a ravishing atmosphere and a fake but appealing reality that the spectators are temped to indulge into and to identify themselves with. The film images are addictive!
As we can see in Calvin Klein’s “Provocations”, it is quite easy to create an appealing ambience: well-dressed beautiful people, stylish movie set and a good soundtrack, and you have it in your pocket. An advice for designer/film maker: use supermodels and/or actors as main characters in the movie and you will get the double score. Clothes worn by a super model or a favorite actor look much more appealing, as if they were hanging on the hanger in the shop or displayed on the stiff mannequins in the shop window. Any garment looks better when worn by someone, especially, if “this someone” looks good and moves well as many actors and models do. Besides, people who like a certain actor or an actress will most likely appreciate the clothing brand that the favorite actor seems to like, - an identification issue and a subliminal psychological trick.
Calvin Klein’s “Provocations” proves that fashion film doesn’t necessarily need to have a sophisticated narrative or a clear message behind.
Fashion film doesn’t require a big budget either unlike a full-length feature film. It is free to use any special effects in the production and the postproduction. There are no limits for experimentation and no special genre restrictions. The only goal that has to be achieved is to make people buy the clothes they see in the fashion film.
Good quality images, an interesting (entertaining, shocking, even strange) content, beautiful models and/or famous actors, good music, and a bit of naked skin and sexual tension are the key elements that are needed in order to get the attention for the fashion film, to boost its distribution, to make people share the content in social media, and finally buy the advertised clothes.


  1. Calvin Klein's 10-minutes long narrative tells a story about the relationship between man and woman. The whole video is made in slow motion ... ecalvinklein.blogspot.de