Fashion in Film Festival

Even if you’re not planning a trip to the New York City area anytime soon, I thought you’d be interested in this press release I received from the Museum of the Moving Image.  If you haven’t seen all of these movies, I suggest tracking them down through Netflix or elsewhere.   What are my picks?   “Marnie” is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s unsung films.  It stars a gorgeous Tippi Hedren as a frigid compulsive thief and liar who just happens to be decked out in the latest fashions of the 60’s along with co-star Sean Connery who was an absolute hunk at…

Even if you’re not planning a trip to the New York City area anytime soon, I thought you’d be interested in this press release I received from the Museum of the Moving Image.  If you haven’t seen all of these movies, I suggest tracking them down through Netflix or elsewhere.  

What are my picks?   “Marnie” is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s unsung films.  It stars a gorgeous Tippi Hedren as a frigid compulsive thief and liar who just happens to be decked out in the latest fashions of the 60’s along with co-star Sean Connery who was an absolute hunk at the time!  He also sports some incredibly sexy duds!  I’ve also seen “Desire” with Marlene Dietrich many times and her ability to make some of the outrageous fashion she wears work is a credit to her enduring style and class.  “Leave her to Heaven” stars one of the most beautiful stars of the 40’s and 50’s Gene Tierney whose iconic white dress in the publicity photo was widely copied at the time.  

Photo courtesy of Deutsche Kinemathek

From stolen pearls to a glove left at the scene of the crime, from an excess of red lipstick to the postmodern gangster silhouette, fashion and style are commonly utilized in film to glamorize and glorify criminal behavior. These images and more will be the focus of the third New York edition of the London-based Fashion in Film Festival to take place at Museum of the Moving Image from May 4 through 13, 2012. Titled If Looks Could Kill, the Festival explores the compelling links between cinema, television, fashion, crime, and violence. 

Photo courtesy of Photofest/Museum of the Moving Image

 Tackling themes such as disguise, desire, and the corruption of beauty, the festival features a string of underworld characters and their prosecutors whose highly effective costume, styling, and sartorial gestures helped define cinematic genres from detective to thriller, gangster, film noir, and horror. 

If Looks Could Kill includes screenings of ten feature films, a talk by the noted film scholar Tom Gunning about the use of invisibility and transformation by criminals in early silent films, and a panel discussion on May 12 featuring costume designers Juliet Polcsa from the HBO series The Sopranos, and John Dunn and Lisa Padovani from the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and Shelley Fox, Professor of Fashion at Parsons The New School for Design. In his illustrated presentation on May 5, Gunning will talk about the visual identity of early film criminals including Louis Feuillades’s Irma Vep with her black bodysuit and the dapper yet sadistic Fantomas, and will also introduce a rare screening of the 1929 Belgian surrealist short The Pearl.


Photo courtesy of the British Film Institute

Highlights of the feature films include an imported 35mm print of Asphalt, a 1929 German “Strassenfilm,” a pre-film noir tale about a lovely diamond thief, presented with live music by Makia Matsumara; an archival print of Frank Borzage’s Desire (1936), starring Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper; screenings of two versions of Mildred Pierce, the 1945 film directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Joan Crawford, and Todd Haynes’s recent HBO miniseries, with Kate Winslet in the title role; and John M. Stahl’s luxurious Technicolor melodrama Leave Her to Heaven (1945). Also screening are Martin Scorsese’s Casino, Elio Petri’s The Tenth Victim, Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo, Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45and Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie


Photo courtesy of Photofest/Museum of the Moving Image

The New York edition of Fashion in Film Festival:
 If Looks Could Kill is programmed by Marketa Uhlirova, Festival Director and Research Fellow in fashion history and theory at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design; David Schwartz, Chief Curator of Museum of the Moving Image; and Christel Tsilibaris, Associate Curator of If Looks Could Kill program. 



Photo courtesy of the British Film Institute

 “As always, the Fashion in Film Festival takes a wide-ranging, expansive 

view of film history, going from the silent era through classic Hollywood 

and international cinema to the present,” said David Schwartz, the 

Museum’s Chief Curator. “It provides an opportunity for audiences to see 

both rediscovered gems and celebrated works on the big screen. A 

particularly special treat is the chance to see Todd Haynes’s beautiful 

production of Mildred Pierce on the big screen, on Mother’s Day.”  

 “Cinema’s images of crime are both seductive and haunting,” said Marketa 

Uhlirova. “It seems cinema has a tendency to portray criminality and evil 

as lethally stylish. Fashion lends crime an air of chic decadence and can 

perform as an immoral equivalent to crime’s extreme measures.” 


Image Credit:  Photo courtesy of the British Film Institute 

Fashion in Film was founded in 2005 and stages a biennial festival and year-round conference and exhibition programs exploring how the moving image represents and interprets fashion as a concept, an industry, and a cultural form. Fashion in Film is based at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, London. 

 Museum of the Moving Image (movingimage.us) advances the understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. In January 2011, the Museum reopened after a major expansion and renovation that nearly doubled its size. Accessible, innovative, and forward-looking, the Museum presents exhibitions, education programs, significant moving-image works, and interpretive programs, and maintains a collection of moving-image related artifacts.


Photo courtesy of The Cinema Museum
For more information, please visit: movingimage.us. 

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