Fashion films have a long and celebrated history on Vimeo. In fact, some of our most iconic Staff Picks have been collaborations between fashion brands and creators. From Spike Jones’ viral “Kenzo World” to Mathew Frost’s hilarious spoof, “Fashion Film,” the innovative work in this space spans many different styles, tones, and techniques.
When done right, collaborations between fashion houses and filmmakers are a symbiotic relationship. For brands, the films tell a story about the lifestyle they envision for their collections. By aligning themselves with creative voices they also promote their brand identity and company culture. Meanwhile, new and established filmmakers seek out these opportunity to flex their creative muscles with more commercial means.
Today, we’re zooming in on seven successful fashion collaborations, with insights from Vimeo creators on how the work came about. Scroll on for the full list.
1. Celia Rowlson-Hall for Miu Miu
In 2012, fashion house Miu Miu launched a series of short films with the mission to empower female storytellers. Since then, the brand has given two directors per year a production budget and access to the collection. For filmmaker Celia Rowlson-Hall, the opportunity to participate in the series presented a creative outlet in the wake of the 2016 election. “I was reeling and trying to make sense of it all,” she says. “I wanted to explore commercialism in the face of fear, creating a spectacle to distract and entertain — and escape from our present day reality.” The result echoes Rowlson-Hall’s previous body of work in its surreal and darky humorous tone.
2. Fleur Fortuné for Pharrell x Chanel
When Chanel tapped brand ambassador Pharell Williams to co-design their 2019 capsule collection, he called French director Fleur Fortuné for help in making the line’s supporting film. The result is a world that exists in the shadows of iconic Parisian locations, playing on the contrast between Chanel’s legacy and Pharrell’s aesthetic. With full creative freedom, Fortuné’s goal was to create something “surreal and mysterious, slightly futuristic, paradoxical, emotional, and sensorial — something you wouldn’t expect.” The boldness of the piece speaks to the mantra she often shares with other filmmakers. “Fashion always follows the trends,” Fortuné says. “But you shouldn’t follow it. You should create it, invent it.”
3. Roger Guàrdia for Stella McCartney
Pushing beyond a typical look book and putting kids at the center of the work was Stella McCartney’s vision for her kids collection launch video. To bring this concept to life, she called upon CANADA London, and filmmaker Roger Guàrdia. “I wanted to go inside the head of a kid who finds a one-eyed cat on the streets,” Guàrdia explains. The resulting film is propelled forward by the kids’ curiosity; it examines what happens when they’re free to make their own rules, without adults. Guàrdia approaches his work with a similar philosophy. “Every project and person is different, so everybody has to experience their own things,” he says. His advice for filmmakers? “Try to do something you like. Have fun.”
4. Cameron Goold for Deus Ex Machina
According to their company ethos, Australian company Deus Ex Machina is bigger than a brand: it’s a culture. So when it came time to translate this message for the US market, they wanted to go big with the storytelling, too. To do this, they commissioned filmmaker Cameron Goold to follow surfer and biker Forrest Minchinton around the Mojave Desert. “It was a great opportunity to tell his story and show a different side of the brand that wasn’t the green jungles and blue water of Indonesia,” says Goold. And the results resonated: “The film was extremely well-received, and the Deus has seen a serious boost in brand recognition here in the US,” Goold says.
5. New Media Ltd for Phelan
Runway shows are a staple of the fashion industry. So when designer Amanda Phelan decided forego a show and opt for a video instead, she turned to the directing trio New Media Ltd to make sure it was buzz-worthy. “Right off the bat, Amanda’s goals were to combine real dancers with animated worlds of her clothing,” the filmmakers say. “So our idea was to create a sparse, live-action setting that transports the women through dance.” The piece beautifully blends New Media Ltd’s unique style of 3D animation, while staying true to Amanda’s vision. “It’s important to listen carefully to what the brand is asking for, to make sure you’re on the same page,” the filmmakers say. “In the end, you’re fulfilling the client’s needs, even if the job is more creative than a traditional spot.”
6. Sebastian Sdaigui for Gucci x Garage
Gucci sets a high bar for video collaborations. Just check out their recent Staff Pick, “Gucci Hallucination Animations” for proof. So when they teamed up with Garage Magazine to work with four up-and-coming filmmakers for their Ultraspace sneaker launch, we knew the result would be impressive. Gucci’s goal for the series was to portray a day in the life of the new sneaker through a young, fresh perspective. For his piece, “SMCHOOD,” Vimeo creator Sebastian Sdaigui did just that, reuniting the cast from his Staff Pick, Headless, to create an empowering film full of dance and positive energy.
7. Liza Mandelup for Vogue
When it comes to creating branded content in the fashion world, the team at Vogue crush it every time. One of our favorites over the years is the piece they commissioned from director Liza Mandelup leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympics. “Vogue was super collaborative with this series,” explains Mandelup. “They really just wanted something creative made to be released alongside Olympics buzz.” When the story changed halfway through filming, their trust in her vision allowed her to adapt in real time. “It’s important to understand the audience for the brand you’re working with,” Mandelup says. “But remember that they’re also coming to you for what you offer. They would keep it in-house if they didn’t want it to have an element that’s slightly different.”