Trekking between shows, press-days and shoots, it’s perhaps hackneyed (not to mention a little complacent) to complain that fashion is murder. However, under the bannerhead If Looks Could Kill: Cinema’s Images of Fashion, Crime and Violence, this year's Fashion in Film festival explores this idea in a rather darker vein. The bi-annual event programme curated by Marketa Uhlirova and associate Christel Tsillbaris focuses on themes of violence, felony and transgression in all shapes, sizes and guises as represented through cinema. Work ranges widely, showcasing a range of iconic classics, rare archival pieces and several London and UK premieres, from Italian Horror maestro Dario Argento’s Giallo thriller ‘The Bird with the Crystal Plumage’, to the 1945 Noirish melodrama ‘Leave Her to Heaven’, to Czech silent ‘The Kidnapping of Fux Banker’ (featuring a cameo by couturier Paul Poiret himself). Unusually, this festival kicks-off with newly-commissioned pieces: curated by Louise Clark and Laura McLean-Ferris and showcased at the Tate Modern, ‘Co-Conspirators’ features work from eight artists who have collaborated with the Festival to create new work exploring the themes raised by the existing films within.
Far from merely focussing on the ‘fashion’ film, “If Looks Could Kill” explores the manner in which fashion and clothing is utilised by an enormous range of film to underline and accent themes of violence and misdemeanour - often subtle, sometimes literal, and occasionally plunging the viewer into glorious cinematic excess. From 10-31 May 2008, “If Looks Could Kill” will be showcased at a variety of venues across London.