In contemporary culture, fashion represents a global aesthetic phenomenon of which the product occupies only a small part. In this multi-faceted imagery, communication through the moving image plays an increasingly crucial role. The credit goes to some innovators who have been able to transform the profession of fashion journalist into a form of word processing capable of connecting culture, brand and public.
One of them, perhaps the most relevant internationally, is the Parisian documentary maker Loïc Prigent.
Do you think we should talk about fashion video communication as a new “genre” in contemporary culture?
It can be interesting to classify the different types of production, from the most artistic to the most journalistic, passing through the documentary, the videos of the fashion shows, the videos of the influencers in the front row, up to the making of. But what I find truly inspiring and innovative are the fashion mini-videos of TikTok and the Insta-stories that disappear in 24 hours. They say a lot about the nature of fashion.
Could such an ephemeral product have an impact on the market?
Yes, but it is difficult to program its scope, because it is something new. You need to know what the public wants to choose the right language and medium! Unfortunately, brands still don’t know who looks at these images and why they do it. For example, when I started posting videos on YouTube, I discovered a very specific narrative rhythm for this medium and I saw that even the longest videos, over forty minutes, were followed by a large and faithful audience.
Frame from the videos: “Jacquemus: that show in the field! Feat. Lena Situations! ” by Loïc Prigent, (Jacquemus S / S 21).
And this different audience allowed her to understand how to orient herself in new media?Absolutely. Let’s take the example of my video with comedian Just Riadh commenting on the latest fashion show of Dior Homme. It has received over ten thousand comments, often enthusiastic. And it was interesting to see that people interested in Riyadh don’t watch TV and don’t buy fashion magazines. In short, if I do a television report or write for a newspaper, I have no chance of reaching that audience. But I can do it via YouTube, knowing that the viewer and commenter is a potential buyer, captured by that stream of images and comments that embodies the fascination for the brand. Not surprisingly, in recent years the turnover of the sector has increased tenfold, then multiplied by ten and then again by ten!
During the pandemic, brands have chosen to communicate more and more with videos. Do you think people appreciate it?
Maisons produce a lot of movies because social media requires it. They think in terms of “format” even before reflecting on storytelling. It is the way of using each specific medium that determines the content. Those who make it rarely have access to the “story” behind the collection. That is imagined by a team of designers who, for many reasons, do not communicate with those who make the images … Let’s say that the brand, today, does not work just like a round table around which everyone discusses freely. This gives very varied results, sometimes very successful, with excellent creative ideas, other times less.
(Keep it going)
In addition to numerous documentaries, Prigent has produced books of quotes and sayings collected behind the scenes of fashion, including I Love to Hate Fashion: Real Quotes and Whispers Behind the Runway (Cernunnos, 2021) and Passe-moi le champagne, j ‘ai un chat dans la gorge (Points, 2020).
Opening: Loïc Prigent, in the center, with Hyacinthe Lapinn and Clement Duche, in a backstage photo by Julien Da Costa.