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Fashion Tales

Feeding the Imaginary

Edited By Emanuela Mora and Marco Pedroni

Since its beginnings in the middle of the 19th century, fashion has been narrated through multiple media, both visual and verbal, and for such different purposes as marketing and advertising, art, costume history, social research and cultural dissemination. In this light, fashion has represented an important piece of material culture in modern industrial urban societies and in postcolonial and non-western contexts. Today, we are witnessing a turn in this imaginary as issues related to social, environmental and cultural sustainability come to predominate in many areas of human activity.
The book addresses this challenge. By facilitating encounters between disciplines and cultures, it explores a multitude of fashion issues, practices and views that feed the contemporary fashion imaginary: local cultures, linguistic codes, TV series, movies, magazines, ads, blogs, bodily practices. The book deals with a paramount issue for fashion studies: how do the production and circulation of fashion imaginary come about in the 21st century?

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Behind-the-scenes: Framing fashion and the limits of the documentary mode (Nick Rees-Roberts)

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Nick Rees-­Roberts

Behind-­the-­scenes: Framing fashion and the limits of the documentary mode

Introduction

When he launched his pioneering website SHOWstudio in 2000, fashion photographer and filmmaker Nick Knight intended the platform to document the entire creative process from conception to completion (Knight 2015). Showing the studio meant exploring the multiple forms of fashion through the conjunction of moving image with text, illustration, and photography. From the late 1980s onwards, Knight had begun the practice of capturing his photo shoots on video, providing a behind-­the-­scenes insight into his working practice. His ambition to position fashion communication as dynamic, changing and interactive, was manifest in the 2007 commission, 24 Hours, which exposed the process of a high-­end fashion shoot from start to finish, with online viewers encouraged to participate in the creative process by influencing the direction of the shoot’s narrative. In collaboration with designer Stefano Pilati, then in tenure at Yves Saint Laurent, model Jessica Miller and set designer Gideon Ponte, Knight created a catalogue and a series of fashion films to inaugurate the brand’s ‘Edition 24’ collection, with each of the twenty-­four films representing an hour of the live broadcast. Rather than conceiving of the fashion still as divorced from the process of its production, Knight has consistently emphasised the live broadcasting of online content as a crucial part of its elaboration. The documentary films accompany the staging of the shoot to provide contextual insight into the...

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