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Discuss about the Crossmodal Correspondences and Sensorial Empathy.

The Historical Relationship Between Film and Fashion

The film industry and the world of fashion had been sharing a harmonious relationship since the 20th century. This is perhaps one of the main reasons for the unwavering as well as continuous interest that some of the greatest fashion designers have shown toward the film industry (Hakak and Holmes 2017). As opined by Taylor (2014), the symbiotic relationship these two industries share manifests in the monetary gains they reap from each other but also in the changing notion of the movie itself. Foster, Manning and Terkla (2015) are of the viewpoint that this is due the fact that the contemporary movies have become fabrics. The fabrication becomes apparent not only in the clothes worn by the actors but also the screens are materialized or tailor-made to gratify the desire of the audiences. The fabrication of the movies just like the process used by the fashion designers for the creation of their designer clothes has equipped directors an instrument likely to enable them to gain popularity and success (Hunt 2018). This paper deconstructs and interprets the process of filmmaking to show that modern films can be conceived as a tactile material. Focusing on the fabrication notion, we explore how the fashion and film industries and fashion industry intertwine with each other over their similarities of desire and intention.   

According to Campagnolo et al. (2018), the influence that the fashion has wielded on the film industry is an area which is not generally discussed about. However, when an analysis is undertaken, it reveals insightful information. For example, on the one hand, there is the contribution made by Edith Head, who ended her career with eight Oscar awards for the costumes that she made (Weale 2018). On the other hand, it is seen that the effective utilization of the costumes created by Edith Head and other famous designers like Travis Banton, Jean Louis, Coco Chanel have contributed to the verisimilitude of the films (Wissinger 2015). This in turn has not only made the films over the years more realistic or lifelike for the audiences but at the same time as the ones with which they are relate to. In addition to this, the costumes and style featured in films has influenced the clothing worn in everyday life. In this regard, Elsa Schiaparelli, one of the greatest hat-designers of the 20th century once commented that “The film fashions of today are your fashions of tomorrow” (Weale 2018). We see the truth of this statement in the popularity experienced as the default outfit for gangsters following the release of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992). Subsequent gangster movies like Pulp Fiction, Top Gun and others feature gangsters dressed in black coats (Dancyger 2014). In addition to this, it appealed to the general population in a substantial way, with black coats becoming fashionable for men in the last decade of the 20th century. In this regard, the opinion of Chris Hemblade, the editor of the Empire Magazine is important to note “Film and fashion people have always been interlinked in the circles in which they move. They’ve always had a symbiotic relationship. They are just exploiting that more now” (Weale 2018).

The Importance of Costume in Films

Foster, Manning and Terkla (2015) are of the viewpoint that films just like literary texts have been vehicles through which artists can convey their emotions to the audiences and also highlight important issues. In this regard, it can be said that the films have a social function in addition to their role as entertainment. This is perhaps one of the most important factors driving change in the techniques which are being used in film direction. One of the major benefits that the film industry has derived through its close association with the fashion industry is the process of fabrication or tailoring which is being used for the direction of the movie (Needham 2013). For example, when the prime focus for directors was entertaining the audiences they used linear mode of narration. Contemporary directors are focusing on the non-linear mode of narration (Evans 2011). The contemporary directors like Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu and others are increasingly using the concept of tailoring to not only make the films technically effective but at the same time more gratifying for the audiences (Hunt 2018). It can be said that film screens are themselves materialized and are equipment on which the fabric of film is unveiled. In addition to this, the effective utilization of the various kinds of fashionable costumes has at the same time helped films gain greater commercial success as well. According to Chris Hemblade “Fashion puts films into another area of the media and gets the film talked about. Studio marketing directors are grabbing at every opportunity. Take ‘Men In Black’ and the link with Ray-Ban. There’s a lot of cross-branding, aggressive commercialism” (Weale 2018).

The emergence of the notion that the movies or the films are fabrics has not only benefited the movie industry but at the same time the fashion industry as well. It has lead to the increasing usage of different kinds of fashionable dresses in films and has lead to the integration of dress making into the cannon of the film making techniques (Hakak and Holmes 2017). In the same way that the fashion designers take a simple piece of cloth and design and amend to it and subsequently design it to suit the needs and expectations of their users so modern directors have had to consider the needs of their audiences. More importantly, just like fashion designers are required to display their creativity and artistic abilities in designing and creating their dresses, film directors are also required to do the same for the films (Campagnolo et al. 2018). Furthermore, unlike the earlier times when the directors used to shoot the entire film in a sequential manner, in recent times, scenes are shot in a non-linear manner (Taylor 2014). In addition to this, tailoring is also being done to amend the film and to make it more appealing for the audiences. This is also done to channelize the movie in a much effective manner unlike the earlier movie. This has actually made the art of narration of the contemporary movie much effective in comparison to the ones of the earlier times. The movies of Wong Kar-wai are the most important examples of this style of narration.

The Influence of Films on Fashion


The tailoring process is not only used in film directing but also in cinematography or visual effects (Dancyger 2014). For example, just like the fashionable or the designer dresses show the association of diverse kinds of color or visual representation, the movies of can be seen as the association of visual and sound effects. In this regard, the effective utilization of light and shadow becomes an important one to note in the contemporary movies. For example, the movie “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (2014) by Ana Lily Amirpour an assemblage of black and white scenes, despite the presence of different color picture techniques (Hunt 2018). In this context, mention also needs to be made about the various contemporary movies like Raging Bull (1980), Cinderella Man (2005), The Artist (2011), and others where the effective play of light and shadow has been used just like a costume maker uses the same notion for the manufacture of different fashionable dresses (Hunt 2018). Foster, Manning and Terkla (2015) have stated the effective utilization of this techniques borrowed from the fashion industry provides dual benefits to the directors, firstly, it enables the director to synchronize the scenes with the context in which they are shown and secondly, it helps them make the films more visually gratifying for the audiences. Furthermore, there are various movie makers who also use the concept of light and shadow to show flashbacks or convey important information related to the past of the actors.  

Commenting on the benefits of the use of tailoring process for the production of the films a spokeswoman of Buena Vista says “We are trying to cross markets….We are trying to appeal to people who would not normally think of going to see an action-type film. It’s a small part of the overall film campaign. But it gets another element into the film” (Weale 2018). This comment has important connotations not only for the production of the films but also from the perspective of the audience experience as well. In this regard, it can be said that the haptic experience of the audiences is limited only to the eye touch that they make with the moving characters or the image on the film screen (Needham 2013). Thus, it can be said that during the course of the movie the experience of the audiences changes from the one of optical experience to that of the haptic experience where they are being able to touch the characters through their eyes. In a sense it can be said that the various fashionable costumes are being used by the various directors to break the fourth wall, a notion which has gained increasing prominence within the modern movie making industry (Taylor 2014). The primary motive of this process is not just to entertain the audiences but to make them participate in the action which is going on in the screen. The use of the various costumes with which the audiences can relate themselves to, has helped different directors and producers to achieve this effect. In addition to these, the different costumes used by the directors actually help the movie makers in a much more subtle manner. For example, in the earlier times, it was seen that the movie makers had to devote a substantial amount of the screen time for the creation of adequate mood or the setting for the scene (Hakak and Holmes 2017). However, presently, it is seen that the different kind of costumes are being used for the same and this has actually contributed towards the brevity of the movies in a substantial manner. This in benefits the movie makers from the monetary perspective as well since in the present times it is seen that just to shoot one scene the movie makers had to spend a substantial amount of capital. Thus, in a way it can be said that the utilization of this process has in fact helps in the reduction of the manufacturing cost of the entire movie in comparison to the one which the movie makers would have incurred without the use of this method.

The Social Function of Films


Campagnolo et al. (2018) have stated that the impact of the fashion industry on the film industry is manifested in the use of outfits of the characters to indicate the social position of the characters also inner feelings. In this regard, the movies of Wong Kar-wai like Chungking Express (1994), Fallen Angels (1995), 2046 (2004) and others are important to note (Hunt 2018). In these movies, it is seen that the protagonists wear western outfits in the traditional background of Hong Kong’s society to note only indicate their western outlook on life but at the same time to denote their modernistic feelings as well (Bruno 2011). More importantly, the movies of Quentin Tarantino like Django Unchained (2012), Pulp Fiction and others are also important in this regard.  In these movies, the director utilizes the outfits of the characters to not only denote their social position but at the same time their attitude and feelings as well (Hunt 2018). For example, the unorthodox costume worn by Christoph Waltz in the movie Django Unchained not only represents his denial of the traditional opinions held by the white dominated society but at the same time his disregard for the laws as well as the customs of the society as well (Weale 2018).  

As per Aristotle’s Poetics, cinema can be seen as a mimicry which intends to represent the human beings and their feelings in its entirety (Snead 2016). It is with this objective that the various producers as well as the directors try to take the help of the entity of verisimilitude. Furthermore, they also try to make the characters and the feelings exhibited by them in as realistic a manner as possible. It is precisely here that the process of tailoring which is being used for the direction of the contemporary movies gains special prominence. The major advantage that the use of the process of tailoring renders to the various directors is the fact that it enables them to leave out the necessary sections of the movie and also to make it more gratifying for the audiences (Wissinger 2015). Moreover, just like a fashioner designer through its expertise and sense of art removes the pieces of the garment which are aesthetically not appealing or pleasing the director or the producer does the same. This is done with the removal of the sections or the scenes of the movie which do not add to the visual or the aesthetic delight of the movie. Thus, in this regard, it can be said that the modern films are a representation of the tailoring process which is being used in the fashion industry for the manufacture of the designer dresses.

The Role of Tailoring in Modern Film-Making


To conclude, the symbiotic as well as the harmonious relationship that the film industry shares with the fashion industry has benefited both of these industries over the years. On the one hand, it has lead to the acceptance of the fashionable dresses or the costumes manufactured by the various fashion designers into the main stream cloths worn by the common people. On the other hand, this has lead to the creation of the kind of movies wherein the audiences can relate themselves with the protagonist of the movie by virtue of the dresses worn by them. In addition to this, this close association between the two has at the same time drastically altered the direction or the movie making process used by the various directors and producers. For example, it is seen that the tailoring method of film making has gained extensive popularity in the recent times and is being extensively used by the different movie makers. Furthermore, it is seen that the different kinds of costumes have been used by the directors to reflect only the social class of the characters but also their feelings in the most effective manner. This is important from the perspective of the movie makers since the usage of these costumes has actually reduced the number of dialogues that they would normally have to spend to convey the mood and also the setting of the scene to the audiences.

References

Bruno, G., 2011. Surface, Fabric, Weave: The Fashioned World of Wong Kar-wai. Fashion in Film, pp.82-105.

Campagnolo, G.M., Giannatou, E., Franklin, M., Stewart, J. and Williams, R., 2018. Revolution remixed? The emergence of Open Content Film-making as a viable component within the mainstream film industry. Information, Communication & Society, pp.1-18.

Dancyger, K., 2014. The technique of film and video editing: history, theory, and practice. Focal Press.

Evans, C., 2011. The Walkies: Early French Fashion Shows as a Cinema of Attractions.”. Fashion and Film, pp.110-134.

Foster, P., Manning, S. and Terkla, D., 2015. The rise of Hollywood East: Regional film offices as intermediaries in film and television production clusters. Regional Studies, 49(3), pp.433-450.

Hakak, Y. and Holmes, K., 2017. Life at the other end: participatory film-making, power and the ‘common third’. Social Work Education, 36(2), pp.217-222.

Hunt, K.J., 2018. Eyes, Sight and the Senses on Film and in Fashion: Crossmodal Correspondences and Sensorial Empathy between Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark (2000) and Johan Ku’s “Selma” Collection S/S (2014). Fashion Theory, 22(1), pp.31-67.

Needham, G., 2013. The digital fashion film. Fashion Cultures Revisited: Theories, Explorations and Analysis, pp.103-111.

Snead, J., 2016. White screens/Black images: Hollywood from the dark side. Routledge.

Taylor, T.L., 2014. You have to come a long way—from the beginning of time—to kill yourself: Feminine desire in Maya Deren's “Meshes of the Afternoon,”“At Land,” and “Ritual in Transfigured Time”. Southeastern Louisiana University.

Weale, S. 2018. Fashion went to the movies - and took them over: archive, 1 November 1997. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/nov/01/fashion-movies-film-archive-1997 [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Wissinger, E., 2015. This year's model: Fashion, media, and the making of glamour. NYU Press.

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