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Preview: Fashion In Film Festival

Fashion in Film Festival

Naomi Thompson takes a peep at what’s to come from the Fashion in Film Festival that hits London from 10-31 May. Planning the perfect crime? Don’t forget to look the part.…..Somewhere along the line it may pay dividends.


Whilst flattery may get you nowhere, flattering clothes will. Well at least give you a license to be misbehave. The proof is in the pout as the second biennial London film festival presents ‘If Looks Could Kill’. Taking place across five major London arts venues, this event provides an in depth look at the partners in crime of fashion, costume and styling and how they are used as the silent but powerful narrator of violent films. A bit like that foreboding yet omnipresent auntie you never speak to.

Whilst first impressions appear to single out the stereotypical bestokinged femme fatal as its main anti-hero, the festival takes a comprehensive look at the use of costume across genres, genders and film movements including detective, comedy, gangster film, thriller, horror and film noir. Emphasis is also placed on the role of the gangster in propagating the notion that the best bad guys are the smart guys. Think less Ronnie Briggs sweating over a BBQ in Brazil and more Ronnie and Reggie Kray in their East End heyday. You wouldn’t catch them sporting swimming trunks and burnt nose.

Backed up by film and fashion commentators such as GQ’s Dylan and historian Rebecca Arnold, the emphasis is on scholarly analysis combined with a unique program of new commissions by artists, fashion photographers and designers.

Screenings include Richard Fleischer’s Follow me quietly (1949), a noir crime mystery where a faceless dummy is constructed to identify a serial killer; L’homme aux gants blancs (1908), a rarely seen gem by the French silent cinema pioneer Albert Capellani in which gloves feature prominently as a ‘trace’; an Italian horror extravaganza The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) with director Dario Argento’s characteristic visual sharpness; and a London premiere of The Red Shoes (2005), a stylishly chilling thriller by the South Korean Kim Yong-Guyn.

Go on, put on that outrageous suit and take notes on how to get away with naughtiness.


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Run Riot is a Media Partner with the Fashion in Film Festival.

Fashion in Film Festival takes place from 10-31 May at the following venues: BFI Southbank, Ciné lumière (French Institute), Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Tate Modern, The Horse Hospital.

The Programme is Curated by Marketa Uhlirova, and also Christel Tsilibaris (Associate Curator), Laura McLean-Ferris (Assistant Curator), Rita Revez (Assistant Coordinator). Guest curators and speakers: Rebecca Arnold and Adrian Garvey, Louise Clarke, Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church Gibson, Roger K. Burton, Barry Curtis and Claire Pajaczkowska, Petra Dominkova, Lorraine Gamman, Tom Gunning, Kitty Hauser, Dylan Jones, Roger Sabin.

Supported by Oasis with grateful thanks. Partners: Oasis, Kirin, GQ and Margaret.