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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with fashion film maker Marnie Hollande

Lauren Smith chats to Marnie Hollande, an up and coming fashion film maker, about making fashion work on the big screen.

Written by Lauren Smith


Marnie Holland, recipe illustrated by Lana Hughes

Fashion and film have long been bedfellows, here but with the roaring success of Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio video blog, find and luxury brands like Chanel making their own mini movies, the ‘Fashion Film’ is finally stepping into the spotlight.

When she’s not working as an illustrator or playing in her band, Fables, Marnie Holland makes fashion films, teaming up with avant-garde designer Ziad Ghanem on film short, JME.

JME from Marnie Hollande on Vimeo.

Specializing in performance pieces involving sculptural costume during her BA at Goldsmiths, it seems inevitable that Marnie would make the move into fashion films, and Ghanem’s theatrical, otherwordly clothing make the perfect muse.

Your collaboration with Ziad Ghanem is fantastic – is this your first film?
Thanks! I made films from all my performance pieces but it’s my first film with a vague narrative, yes.

How did you meet him, and end up collaborating on the project?
I contacted to him originally to work in his studio, which I did for a while, which lead to working more exclusively with the performance and choreographic side of his last show. But film is one of the main inspirations in Ziad’s work, so making a film was always something he’s wanted to do. After I showed him my work I was just in the right place at the right time.

What were your (and the designer’s) aims – to showcase the clothes?
No not as such, it was more to reiterate the brand. A lot of how it was constructed was taken from what’s already present in Ziad’s work – such as the Baroque, symbolism, melodrama, Romanticism and London as a character.

But also to focus primarily on the subject, which is part of the basic design process for Ziad’s clothes – tailoring the piece to the individual. Jme (the model in the film) has modelled many of the Ghanem collections and has a very alluring natural melancholy and stillness about his look; it was pretty much written about him!

Ziad Ghanem is known as the ‘cult couturier’ and for mixing street wear and couture –was that an element of his work you wanted to convey in the film?
Not consciously, or at least not specifically to reflect that nametag. I suppose the shifts between a couture silk cape, a PVC printed tracksuit and eventually desecrating the garment adhere to Ziad’s mixing of high and low cultural influences.

But it was the more that the ceremony of the transitions would lead the film narrative and the pieces would frame them. I like that the clothes characterize the changes and change Jme’s role.

Anyway in terms of mixing, Ziad is inspired by everything. Whatever you pick from his pieces or from his ideas will clash harmoniously; that’s his gift.

DUAL from Marnie Hollande on Vimeo.

Could you describe some of the difficulties/limitations in translating fashion onto the big screen?
I suppose sticking to the point could be challenge. It’s a fashion film after all, not a Sundance entry. There’s a brand to look after. But it shouldn’t be difficult if the clothes inspire you.

Do you do everything yourself – e.g. planning, filming, editing, or is your work more collaborative?
Yes, with the help of camera/lighting extraordinaire Roman Rappak, who is, luckily for me, already an amazing filmmaker. Also Maeve Keeley and Athena Kleanthous who made everything run like clockwork.

Have you got any more projects with Ghanem in the pipeline?
Yes indeed. We’ll be making a short-film involving the whole collection in time for this year’s London Fashion Week.

Why do you think the fashion industry has started to wake up to the potential of fashion films, and what do you think their ‘role’ is, if any?
Because it’s there! It’s big swimming pool of promotional space to occupy. That’s not to say it doesn’t have a place in film, it certainly does. I’d say it’s a link that’s been brewing for a long time, SHOWStudio have obviously played the biggest role in that bridging. People also like to invest in a story. But mainly it gives people like me and Karl Lagerfeld something to do.

En Pointe from Marnie Hollande on Vimeo.

What (from fashion designers to film makers) inspires you, or is one of your key influences?
It changes daily unfortunately and I blame the blogging industry. In terms of film I had an amazing piano teacher who stressed the importance of rhythm like nobody’s business, to the point whereby everything you see and make has to be broken down and calculated in terms of its pace and rhythmic weight. I like directors and films that look like they’ve thought about that a bit. As for fashion, I’m not consistent; I just like clothes that talk about something bigger than clothes. I think Ziad, McQueen and Leigh Bowery have/had that covered.

What advice would you have for budding fashion film makers?
Make them; it’s very simple. Although I stole that from a very clever friend!

To see more of Marnie’s videos, visit her Vimeo page.
In the run up to London Fashion Week, we’ll be catching up with Ziad Ghanem. Keep an eye out!

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