Part of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week’s cultural program, ACMI’s Men of Fashion line-up features a selection of films that take aim at some of the more interesting – and divergent – male personalities that punctuate the world of high fashion.
“We thought it would be a good companion piece to the men’s style [ManStyle] exhibition that’s on at the NGV across both campuses at the moment,” says program curator and self-proclaimed fashion fanatic, James Nolen. “So we’ve been in contact with those curators – the fashion and textile curators – and we wanted to do something that reflected each other’s programs.”
The chosen films do a great job of representing opposing facets of the fashion world. A Man’s Story showcases the life and talents of Ozwald Boateng (the youngest and first black tailor to open a store in bespoke menswear Mecca, Savile Row). It also, perhaps accidentally, shows off the occasionally absurd sense of self-importance prevalent amongst the haute couture set. Particularly surreal is an “awareness-raising” fashion show in Ghana, which includes Moammar Gadhafi and Robert Mugabe as VIP guests.
Paul Smith – Gentleman Designer, on the other hand, offers a look at one of fashion’s more laidback successes. A world away from the rampant egotism typified by recently disgraced Dior designer John Galliano (Dressed Up for Winter 2011–2012, also showing, delves into the furore around his videotaped anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris bar), Smith’s down-to-earth, “don’t-call-me-a-designer” persona offers a tonic to the more farcical aspects of the fashion world.
Rounding out the program is Vidal Sassoon The Movie, a look at the man who caused a revolution in women’s hairstyling by focusing on angular and geometric cuts rather than heavy-duty salon treatments. Nolen highlights it as standout. “I’d been wanting to screen it here for probably 12 months, but for various other commitments the filmmakers had, it couldn’t be screened until now. It was sort of lucky that it fit in very nicely.”
Men of Fashion screens exclusively at ACMI from Monday 5 to Sunday 11 September. For program information as session times visit acmi.net.au.