Films and Installations: Alternative Fashion Presentations at New York Fashion Week

Tim Hamilton and Collier Schorr, Rope, 2009

I always find ways of presenting fashion design other than a typical fashion show interesting—particularly as a number of shows in New York are often streamlined events due to the nature of the industry and, at present, recessionary pressures. (For instance, I just returned from a Maria Cornejo’s show which was visibly paired-down both in terms of colors and looks.)

Among the non-model heavy presentations was Tim Hamilton’s event, which showed two short films by the New York–based artist Collier Schorr (best known for his portraits of adolescents) of a male model climbing a rope in various stages of dress in Hamilton’s pieces. The British designer Gareth Pugh also presented a number of films which he completed in collaboration with the filmmakers Ruth Hogben and can be viewed on SHOWstudio. (Both Hamilton’s and Pugh’s films, however, served as prelude to their upcoming fashion shows in Paris.)

Slow and Steady Wins the Race celebrated fashion week with an installation which opened last night at Saatchi and Saatchi, where it will be on view through September 18. This incorporated works from a range of other designers and artists (Andrew Kuo, Miranda July) alongside Ping’s own. (Talking with some of the British guests at the show, it was interesting to reminisce,in the midst of an artsy and, one assumes, progressive crowd, how Saatchi and Saatchi came to prominence through an advertising campaign for Margaret Thatcher.)

Among other designers who have used the medium of film or installation to present their work during fashion week are Titania Inglis—who has just launched a sustainable fashion line—while later this week the London-based designer Temperley will also present her work via an installation.

Earlier in the year, at a panel on fashion and culture, the New York Times cultural critic Guy Trebay pointed out how one way to overcome the economic pressures for young and established designers alike might be via creative collaborations across disciplines—an approach which would seem to foster novel ways of presenting fashion. Yet not many designers in New York seem to have taken notice…