Attention cinefiles and fashionistas! There is a festival that covers both of these artistic areas. It is called Fashion Film Festival Milano (FFFMilano) and Based Istanbul got the chance to talk exclusively with its founder, Constanza Cavalli Etro.
“I really think that fashion films gave the fashion industry a louder voice, a 360 degrees of expression. Fashion industry always have the urge to communicate beyond the fashion show once the runway lights are off. In this historic moment, fashion movies are the answers to this need. They share the brand’s soul with a wider audience. They are making fashion more democratic. They give industry the possibility to continue telling a story beyond a fashion show, to go beyond the product, the collection or brand itself, the possibility to risk and to experiment. They are emotional and intimate, and if they are done in the right way, are extremely powerful.” These sentences belong to Constanza Cavalli Etro, who founded the festival in 2o14 and getting ready to launch its second edition through September 21st to 23rd.
FFFMilano had during its first edition by the participation of more than 4000 spectators. With a total of 350 submissions from which 80 fashion films were selected to participate in the shortlist, the event involved 34 countries, becoming a unique incubator of creative minds. Besides the young talents, there were 46 fashion films showcased from the big names arena in fashion and cinema such as Prada, Gucci, Rodarte, Cartier, Valentino, Opening Ceremony, Balmain, Armani, Roman Coppola, Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze, Paolo Sorrentino, Bruno Aveillan, Luca Guadagnino, among others. After its huge success, its second edition is coming back even with a stronger content. Let’s hear more about it from Mrs. Cavalli Etro, who is the founder of the festival.
We would love to begin our interview with your getting to know you, your background. In other words, the personal story that lead your path to FFFMilano.
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1991, I left the country with my family to Mexico City, where upon arrival made my debut with a television program. I had the opportunity to go around the whole country discovering its beauty and people. I started my modelling carrier and and won several recognitions and awards. Then, my passion for cinema and theatre took me to Los Angeles, California, where I studied at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute for two years. Having completed my studies, I went back to Mexico City where I founded Cavalli Communication, a production and public relations agency that became an important reference not only for the fashion industry but also for the cinema. I was one of the founders of the Mexico’s first fashion week, also participated in the creation of the first Latin American and Argentinian film festivals, both held in Mexico. In 2006, I moved to Italy and married to Kean Etro, where we live together with our precious daughter. And you know the rest, also in 2014 I founded and directed the first edition of Fashion Film Festival Milano where I combine my love for fashion and cinema and the strong will to promote and support young talents.
The city needed an event that could open fashion to a transversal public that shared the love for beauty, creativity, art, fashion, film and music.
Yes, but how has the idea of FFHMilano occurred? What was the very first spark behind it?
When I started thinking about the creation of FFFMilano, I had in mind and in my heart the strong will to create an event with an open spirit, a democratic place that really gives opportunity to every single young talent to participate (that’s why the submissions are free). It had to be for a traversal public, not only to for the fashion industry. It had to be international as I always believed in cultural feedbacks in the sharing of ideas and minds. So FFFMilano became an international event where fashion films from all over the world are showcased to share different points of view, as well as aesthetic, narrative and stylistic codes. Through the festival, talents have the opportunity to show their work to a national and international jury, a wide audience as well as national and international press willing to embrace their talent.
Was there something about Milan that made you do it?
I felt that Milan, as a fashion city, had the fashion week and other fashion events but they were just for a few chosen ones…The city needed an event that could open fashion to a transversal public that shared the love for beauty, creativity, art, fashion, film and music. Another important thing about the festival is my personal vision that ‘The Big helps the Small.’
Can you elaborate on that a bit more?
That’s to say that by their participation to the festival, the big brands and big directors are helping to promote and spread the voice of the new ones. Every one of the screenings is composed of fashion films of big brands such as Armani, Gucci, Hermes, Valentino, Proenza Schouler together with fashion movies made by really new talents.
Say, one attends to all the screenings and events this year. How would her days during the festival be like?
This year we added one more day to the programme. So we have three full days of screenings as we had received more than 600 fashion films from 45 countries. We created 10 different screenings with 180 fashion films to see. We have the whole Cinema Anteo with its four screening rooms that will be respectively devoted to several programs and activities: The 2015 FFFMilano Official Selection Room will host the programming of the fashion films which are in competition at the festival. In the Statement Room, talks and debates of several industry professionals will take turn, and finally there will be the Mercedes Benz Room that presents “15 Seconds Room” in which small fashion films of only 15 seconds, specifically created for the impromptu will be screened in loop. A very new collaboration is the one with the global media brand Nowness. A dedicated room (NOWNESS Room) will host a special programme of screenings consisting of upcoming exclusive premiers and short films from the celebrated archives. In addition to all those, there will be a panel discussion with high profile guests such as Patrizia Moroso and Lisa Vreeland, moderated by Claudia Donaldson.
And what is the biggest improvement for second edition?
Different points of view, aesthetic, narrative and stylistic codes will be mixed. A constant exchange of several artistic expressions, idioms, voices and experiences will take place. The official selection of the festival has occurred between over 600 fashion films coming from 45 countries, received through a completely free submission. To follow the democratic spirit of the festival, we provide the worldwide digital public with the opportunity of the online voting of the official selection on the website (between 22- 28th of September), the first in the world to create this possibility. At 29th of September, we will announce the winner.
When it comes to fashion movies, do you have any particular favorites, the ones you can watch a million times and still not get enough?
I consider Moulin Rouge and Romeo & Juliet by Baz Luhrmann as fashion movies for their curated styling. I love Sex and the City, Blow Up by Antonioni, I think Valentino: The Last Emperor is very well done, I love how Michele Pfeiffer was dressed in Scarface and of course, Mahogany with Diana Ross.
Those are the good ones! In your professional and personal opinion, how are these two creative industries, meaning fashion and movie are related?
Nowadays, fashion finds its most expressive form in film and video. Obviously using a medium like cinema, which is not only an evolved technique to tell a story, but it is a real form of art, allows fashion to rise to an artistic status itself. Through cinema, fashion ennobled and enriched itself with new expressive canons and aesthetics. The union between fashion and film, between directors and designers, among actors and costumes, between photography, music, edition and styling gives as a result, this powerful instrument the Fashion Film: a core all existing form of art are concentrated.
And one final question is about the competition and the jury part of the festival? Who will be in the jury this year?
I think choosing personalities with different point of views and backgrounds is very important. This year’s international jury will be composed of the Italian journalist and publisher Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue, Rankin, renowned fashion photographer, portraitist and director, founder of the magazines Dazed & Confused and Hunger. The international director and photographer Bruno Aveillan, pioneer in the fashion filmmaking will be also present, together with the director Lisa Immordino Vreeland who dealt with films linked to fashion and art, as her last success Art Addict, on the life of Peggy Guggenheim, Mario Codognato art curator of international fame, Sara Maino senior editor of Vogue Italia. The jury will be entrusted with the task of selecting the winners of the two envisaged categories: New Talent and Established Talent.”