17 May 2010

Dior Debuts "Lady Blue Shanghai" Directed by David Lynch

The French fashion house debuted its latest short film, "Lady Blue Shanghai", today, which centers around the mysterious appearance of a Lady Dior handbag in a hotel room. Written and directed by David Lynch, the short stars Marion Cotillard and features the art direction of John Galliano.

Though this is essentially a 16 minute advertisement for a purse, the Lady Dior itself has very little screentime, and in fact, I found my attention drawn more toward Cotillard's tailored skirt-suit, the old-timey tune blaring from the record player, and the gorgeous peek at Shanghai furnishings of a bygone era. I'm not sure that I would call this a "successful" ad, as, other than a potential purchase from iTunes, it didn't spur an acquisitive impulse in me. I am still thinking about it, though, but probably not for the reasons intended.

I initially wanted to post the videos just to share them, but after letting them sink in a while, I realized there is more to say about the film, in terms of what it says about our society. While I can appreciate the foray into film as an effective form of advertising and a beautiful art form at that, I'm wary of art that glorifies an object, especially one as subject to fleeting fashions as a handbag. I can only think of all the energy, talent, and resources that went into the making of this film (not to mention the purse!), and I can't help but think it a tremendous waste: all that to sell a purse? One that will be out of fashion in 6 months? I don't mean to single out the Lady Dior or demonize luxury goods altogether; I just think that for Marion Cotillard, John Galliano and David Lynch to all get together on a project, I expect it to result in something a little more meaningful than a drive for consumerism. (Though I guess they've got to eat, too).

Consumerism in America has often been lauded as a saving grace - helping the country to bounce back after World War II and encouraged by President Bush after the attacks of September 11th. No doubt our current economy is in dire need of a little saving, but so much of what I've been reading recently indicates that what has worked in the past is no longer a viable, sustainable option.

The fashion industry is primarily an economy fueled by consumer purchases, so what happens to the creation of beautiful, awe-inspiring wearable art when people reconsider their purchasing impulses and buy vintage or heaven forbid, keep wearing the same clothes? Perhaps someday in the near future, visionary artists will come up with news ways to showcase the tremendous talents of the fashion industry without feeding into the mania of perceived obsolescence and retail shopping as "therapy". Until then, beneath Parts 1 & 2 of "Lady Blue Shanghai" I've included "The Story of Stuff" which explains exactly why shopping is no longer a solution to our economic problems and how it actually contributes to many of our current crises: health, environmental, financial, and others. You can learn more about The Story of Stuff Project here.


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