Film Festival Brings Fashion Critic to City

Film Festival Brings Fashion Critic to City

Published: February 13, 2013 (Issue # 1746)

The international fashion film festival A Shaded View on Fashion Film (ASVOFF) will take place in St. Petersburg for the first time this year. Attending the festival of short, fashion-themed films will be the festival’s founder herself, the fashion blogger and critic Diane Pernet.

Known as “the black widow” for the extravagant black outfits with which she is associated, Pernet will travel to St. Petersburg from Paris to see the work of young Russian film directors. The winner of the festival, who will be chosen by fashion critics and bloggers, will be given the opportunity to participate in an ASVOFF retrospective in Paris this November.

The arrival in St. Petersburg this year of Pernet’s festival continues an Aurora Fashion Week tradition.

“Every year we show foreign movies about fashion houses with subtitles, but this time we will present a completely different project,” said Uliana Kim, one of the organizers of the Aurora Fashion Week.

Pernet began her career as a documentary filmmaker. Later, while working as a costume designer, she switched to fashion once she understood the significance of clothing in cinema. The ASVOFF festival, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week in 2008, is Pernet’s attempt to answer the question of whether or not fashion can be the protagonist of a film, and to bring wider recognition to this kind of cinema.

The festival’s first cinema event took place last Thursday at the city’s Avrora cinema. At the event, audiences were treated to a screening of “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel,” which marked the film’s Russian premiere. Organizers say that they try to appeal to a wide audience, rather than just focusing their attention on fashion critics and bloggers. However the films in competition will only be screened for invited guests, as organizers say the venue is too small to accommodate the general public.

The festival competition will be held Saturday at the Angleterre Hotel, where participants will be given the opportunity to see the best short films from the Paris festival, as well as the Russian films entered into competition. The winner will also be named Saturday. Aurora Fashion Week organizers will sit on the festival jury, but will defer to the opinion of Pernet, they said.

“Most of the contributors, and we place a real accent on this, are from St. Petersburg and show local brands in their films,” said Kim. “But there are also representatives from other Russian cities, because Diana’s opinion was the main criterion.”

As one of the few events dedicated to fashion and cinema in St. Petersburg, ASVOFF is a good chance for young directors to display their talents.

“Russian fashion cinema lags behind its Western counterpart for objective reasons,” said Kim. “It is a symptom of the overall lag in Russia’s film industry.”

On Feb. 17, the general public is invited to an open conversation with ASVOFF producer Pernet at the Avrora cinema, which will mark the end of the festival.

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