La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival

Dress: All Saints Spatialfields Necklace: H&M Shoes: Sergio Rossi

Dress: All Saints Spatialfields
Necklace: H&M
Shoes: Sergio Rossi

Ever had the desire to go to a Fashion Film Festival? Not quite sure what to expect? Well I had the absolute pleasure and honor of attending the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival hosted at the cities Museum Of Contemporary Art. Prestigiously identified by elite members of the fashion world “The ‘Cannes’ of the fashion world, the festival proved to be an educational, inspiring and imaginative adventure that is truly one of those things you leave thinking to yourself “I’m so glad I did that.”

Attending the “world’s largest gathering of fashion film professionals” I had the luxury of rubbing elbows with professionals who have worked on campaigns for legendary fashion houses such as Dolce and Gabana and Proenza Schouler, to name a few. Oh ya, and there were journalists on hand who have contributed to little editorials such as Vogue. No biggie, right? Talk about a fish out of water experience!

I pride myself on knowing my labels and somewhat a history of fashion (I have countless Coco Chanel biographies, and other fashion books that are not only great coffee table decorations but interesting reads as well. That makes me kind of an expert right?) The history of film though, I’ve never bothered to fathom or even consider and after attending this festival I realize is one of the biggest mistakes a professional of the fashion world could make. Fortunately for me, there was a seminar prior to the screenings and red carpet events. Kimberly Truhler, graciously educated us members of the press on how the history of fashion in film is synonymous with some of the most legendary fashion trends that still exist in today’s fashion. Fashion Film history 101 we were taught though is not to get it confused with costume design. As she explained, and somewhat defended, “costume design is entirely focused on film. It’s story based. There is no consequence or relation to fashion.” The gist of which was make sure you get this right so as not to offend someone who works in costume design or fashion. Some of the most legendary costumes in film can still be found in today’s biggest fashion trends. Think about it. Before Chanel invented the “Ford Dress” and consequently the LBD, black was thought to only be a color to wear to funerals. High slits most recently made iconic by Angelina Jolie and her Oscar dress actually dates back to the 1920s. Even film politics and the Hays Code, an old regulation system that worked similar to the ratings system but on a much stricter enforcement of “moral codes” brought out the creative side of costume makers, some of whose creations have inspired today’s fashion icons. Take for example that famous scene of Marilyn Monroe from “Gentleman Prefer Blondes.” Did you know that the original costume from this scene was nude material with only crystals covering Marilyn’s ahem, jewels? Obviously, the people from the Hays code would have had a heart attack over this, which is why the end result was this stunning number.

This legendary dress has inspired collections by legendary fashion houses such as Dior and have been replicated by fashionistas for decades ever since it's debut on Marilyn.

This legendary dress has inspired collections by legendary fashion houses such as Dior and have been replicated by fashionistas for decades ever since it’s debut on Marilyn.

I could go on an on about how costume designs from decades ago still influence todays fashionistas (seriously how many times do people have to say they are inspired by fashionistas past. I mean hello, even Nicole Richie named her daughter after Gene Harlow!”) Nonetheless it’s still fun to take a trip down fashions yellow brick road to see where some of my favorite styles were born.

After the seminar we were invited to watch 11 short films. And by short I mean think of advertising campaigns for some of your favorite labels. In essence, that’s what many of these were. I was speaking with a fellow patron who said she enjoyed watching the films just as much as I did. When I described watching some of them like watching a Lady Gaga music video she agreed stating “yes! Exactly! Whenever I try to explain some of these films I explain it just as that. It’s like going to a festival where Lady Gaga is creating films while simultaneously  attending the event as well.” After the first set of screenings, there was a brief intermission while the directors, actors, models, makeup people and basically anyone who contributed to one of these films graced the red carpet. The fashion did not disappoint. From mile long trains to glamorous draping, my jaw dropped countless times in aw of what people are capable of imagining. I was even called out by a fellow reporter for having a dress that was from an All Saints collection several seasons ago. My response is, who cares, its timeless. And after all didn’t we just get educated on how timeless some silhouettes are?! I could have told her I got a bargain on the dress. Instead of spending  about $500 on a beaded All Saints creation I got it at an outlet for $75. A timeless bargain is never a regrettable decision. Rather than educating her on these facts I just smiled and told her I loved her plain black dress. Ok, I omitted the plain. But really, it was. She spiced it up though with her cool European accent.

Alas, because red carpet events can sometimes be drawn out, I decided to take an impromptu photo shoot on the La Jolla shores before the second round of films started. For the record, La Jolla has some of the most breath taking sunsets I have ever seen. As a native of Southern California, I have seen hundreds of sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, but none quite as magical as what I saw yesterday. After the sun set and I was thoroughly content with how the photos came out I returned to the venue for the final round of films.

They saved the best for last for sure! Like I described earlier, these films are very similar to watching a commercial for a fashion campaign. In fact I believe some of them even were. My favorite by far was titled “Crystals and The Postman” by Ellen Von Unwerth. It was fun and sparkly (sponsored by Swarovski) and it reminded me of Barbie. In other words, it had my name written all over it. By the end, I had a new renowned  appreciation for the contributions film makes to the fashion world. And politics and language barriers aside, no matter where you are from fashionistas know one word when it comes to fashion and that is love. Love for the artistic side, love for the hard work that goes into creating something and love for the final result that audiences can appreciate from around the globe.

 

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Took a few minutes away from the red carpet to appreciate a golden sunset. Sometimes nature produces images far better than anything you can see on screen or in print.

I took a few minutes away from the red carpet to appreciate a La Jolla sunset. Sometimes nature produces images far better than anything you can see on screen or in print.

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Lesson numero uno for a fashion blogger/ member of the press, always bring a blazer if the level of accessible fashion is not certain. In this case I wasn’t sure to which level of professionalism the other members of the press would be dressed in so I opted for my blazer in the event a level of sophistication was not optional but rather necessary. Fortunately I didn’t need it more than 5 minutes, which was nice considering it felt like triple digits outside. For anyone who has never experienced a So. Cal beach, temperature like that is so rare. I have never been so grateful for an Ocean breeze.

What a fiasco. I'm all for fact checking but when someone says, "you'll have an opportunity to meet a legend" I don't typically question whether or not that person is typically alive. Although lesson learned. Next time I should pay attention to the sign directly behind the person. Had I done that I would have noticed this was an Edith Head impersonator. Saying I met her was the equivalent of saying i met Elvis. After talking with several other members of the press I felt better knowing i was not the only one who was duped. Regardless, this woman was a doll.

What a fiasco. I’m all for fact checking but when someone says, “you’ll have an opportunity to meet a legend” I don’t typically question whether or not that person is typically alive. Although lesson learned. Next time I should pay attention to the sign directly behind the person. Had I done that I would have noticed this was an Edith Head impersonator. Saying I met her was the equivalent of saying i met Elvis. After talking with several other members of the press I felt better knowing i was not the only one who was duped. Regardless, this woman was a doll.

The cast from Robert E. Ball Jr's "The One." Such an awkward film, but alas he is also the director for several notorious rock star's and it's exactly what you would expect from someone with a history in rock and roll.

The cast from Robert E. Ball Jr’s “The One.” Such an awkward film, but alas he is also the director for several notorious rock star’s and it’s exactly what you would expect from someone with a history in rock and roll.

This girl was my hero. Any reporter who opts for comfort in the form of no shoes on a red carpet is my hero!

This girl was my hero. Any reporter who opts for comfort in the form of no shoes on a red carpet is my hero!

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Two of the most fabulous outfits to grace the red carpet. The one on the right was actually featured in Robert E. Ball Jr's "The One." The film had a gothic vibe and these girls definitely brought it, but re-envisioned the glamorous way to the film festival.

Two of the most fabulous outfits to grace the red carpet. The one on the right was actually featured in Robert E. Ball Jr’s “The One.” The film had a gothic vibe and these girls definitely brought it, but re-envisioned the glamorous way to the film festival.

Two of the presenters for the festival's evening presentations. How lovely is the draping in that dress?!

Two of the presenters for the festival’s evening presentations. How lovely is the draping in that dress?!

In the infamous words of Iggy Azalea, the reporters covering the festival are FANCY!

In the infamous words of Iggy Azalea, the reporters covering the festival are FANCY!

Special thanks to my friend on Facebook who reminded me the importance of fact checking. SMH. Communications 101. Perhaps I was fashionably late during the presentation that said to pay attention to signs. Or perhaps I should just exercise more pristine  common sense. I guess it really was too good to be true. After all, someone who holds the record for a total of 8 Academy Awards, and worked with Hollywood legends such as Grace Kelly probably isn't going to be hanging out with festival goers passing out stickers.

Special thanks to my friend on Facebook who reminded me the importance of fact checking. SMH. Communications 101. Perhaps I was fashionably late during the presentation that said to pay attention to signs. Or perhaps I should just exercise more pristine common sense. I guess it really was too good to be true. After all, someone who holds the record for a total of 8 Academy Awards, and worked with Hollywood legends such as Grace Kelly probably isn’t going to be hanging out with festival goers passing out stickers.

One of my favorite outfits of the attendees. So vintage Coco Chanel!

One of my favorite outfits of the attendees. So vintage Coco Chanel!

Now THAT is how you bring drama to a red carpet!

Now THAT is how you bring drama to a red carpet!

Watching people work diligently to get this train tucked away was comedy. This truly was a #fashionproblem.

Watching people work diligently to get this train tucked away was comedy. This truly was a #fashionproblem.

One of the biggest highlights of the evening was getting a sneak peak of Karl Lagerfield's directed film "The Return." The film tells the story of Chanel's return to fashion after 15 years of silence. While the fashion in the film naturally was stunning, the story line made me feel sad. For someone who basically changed the fashion world forever with the creation of the LBD, and whose pieces still resonate well with today she was portrayed (accurately I know) as someone who was lonely and who craved validation. The last scene was an interview between her and a male reporter. Although she always had smart witty responses, and stood her ground when asked an uncomfortable question, she completely drops her guard when the reporter offers her a night of fun and dancing. I've always envisioned Coco Chanel as this epic source of power. Yet, someone who has inherited her empire has chosen to depict her as someone consumed by insecurities and sadness. Like I mentioned earlier, based on several biographies I have read upon Chanel, this is actually historically accurate. However, as a viewer I can't help but think if I was telling the story of a legend I would focus on the part that made them legendary.

One of the biggest highlights of the evening was getting a sneak peak of Karl Lagerfield’s directed film “The Return.” The film tells the story of Chanel’s return to fashion after 15 years of silence. While the fashion in the film naturally was stunning, the story line made me feel sad. For someone who basically changed the fashion world forever with the creation of the LBD, and whose pieces still resonate well with today’s fashion, she was portrayed (accurately I know) as someone who was lonely and who craved validation. The last scene of the sneak peak, was an interview between her and a male reporter. Although she always had smart witty responses, and stood her ground when asked an uncomfortable questions, she completely drops her guard when the reporter offers her a night of fun and dancing observing himself Coco’s desperation for companionship.  I’ve always envisioned Coco Chanel as this epic source of power. Yet, someone who has inherited her empire has chosen to depict her as someone consumed by insecurities and sadness. Like I mentioned earlier, based on several biographies I have read upon Chanel, this is actually historically accurate. However, as a viewer I can’t help but think if I was telling the story of a legend I would focus on the part that made them legendary.

 

My second favorite film of the evening was called the "ABC Of Fashion" by Harry's. This was actually somewhat of an interactive film as fellow festival attendees and myself couldn't help but blurt out whom we believed each letter was affiliated with. By far my favorite letter was S, for Stella Mcartney.

My second favorite film of the evening was called the “ABC Of Fashion” by Harry’s. This was actually somewhat of an interactive film as fellow festival attendees and myself couldn’t help but blurt out whom we believed each letter was affiliated with. By far my favorite letter was S, for Stella Mcartney.

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Some of the directors for one of the featured films.

Some of the directors for one of the featured films.

Talented Fashion directors from all around the world! Fashion is one of the few industries you don't have to speak the same language to understand or appreciate. Thank you to each of those creative individuals for inviting us to take a peak into their imagination and interoperation of fashion.

Talented Fashion directors from all around the world! Fashion is one of the few industries you don’t have to speak the same language to understand or appreciate. Thank you to each of those creative individuals for inviting us to take a peak into their imagination and interoperation of fashion.

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Until next year La Jolla!

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2 thoughts on “La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival

  1. Hi Jess, I’m going to the La Jolla International Film Festival this year. I’m not affiliated with the fashion/beauty industry just a lover/consumer/”appreciator” of it. Would it be weird if I attended the seminars during the day? If not, what do people wear? And I see on the schedule there is red carpet for closing night but is there also red carpet for opening? just trying to figure out what to wear so i feel comfortable and respectful.

    • Hello! You’re gonna have so much fun first off! Prepare yourself to be intrigued. I actually enjoyed the panels more so than any of the other parts of the day perhaps because I loved learning how fashion and film have inspired legendary trends for decades. Alas, during the day something cute and trendy would work. There were folks wearing jeans, and a cute top. More fashion forward folks wore cute dresses and wedges, not too dressy. I was glad I brought a blazer to wear over my dress otherwise I would have felt too over dressed. I wasn’t there for closing but there was a red carpet event for the directors etc who showed that night. For that all the glamour comes out! There’s always those girls at these types of events who play it safe and just wear an all black ensemble with fabulous makeup and cute hair. Safe and makes an impression every time. Keep in mind though you are by the beach, so if your hair is anything like mine it will fall out of curl in just 2 seconds exposed to the slightest bit of humidity. I really hope that helps! Have a fabulous time! It really is a once in a lifetime experience!

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