I'm so excited to tell you all about my new French friend Loïc Prigent. He is a writer for French Vogue and is also a producer of films -- scratch that, things -- scratch that... he produces "stuff" in his opinion.
I however, would personally say he creates the greatest and most innovative insider documentaries on fashion today. He travels the world (sigh -- who wouldn't be jealous) recording diverse fashion icons 36 hours prior to their runway shows. Prigent and his team of less than a handful, haul cameras to major cities providing behind the scenes looks into designer's collections coming together full circle prior to the goods being revealed to the public during fashion week. Prigent's "stuff," aka documentaries, features fashion icons Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier, Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, Sonia Rykiel and Chanel -- there are more, but that makes for a very long sentence.
Through his work, Prigent captures the last-minute hysteria of missing models, misplaced garments, wrong-sized shoes, and new ideas needing to be implemented yesterday and somehow transforms it into a completely normal routine for those associated with fashion. Beware-there is a lot of chaos and disorder shown. For those in the fashion industry, it doesn't come as a surprise the garments and accessories are being sewn and altered up to the very last second. Many times-as models are about to walk the runway-they are presented with quick fixes such as tape, spray paint and staples. Sounds painful, but it's entertaining to watch.
As the designers collections unfold, their stories told via Prigent's lens showcase days of insomnia, what the designers, seamstresses and models eat, the transporting of garments and accessories by mopeds, bikes and cabs back and forth from the atelier, and the indecisive final approval of a piece from the designers which will then change an hour before it's worn on the runway. The addiction to the adrenaline rush of chaos is why designers continue their work season after season.
Prigent's stories show the tears, sweat and blood of the eclectic yet synchronized personalities and geniuses involved to accomplish a new collection to present to the public for an approximate 10 minute fashion show. The talent displayed in these documentaries of the featured individuals is like nothing seen before. Prigent captures the experience of how a designer can sketch an idea, which will then be translated to a patternmaker, then a seamstress and everything in-between. It is the same as playing the game telephone -- but with zero room for error.
Prigent displays the emotion and pressure on designers to create a perfect collection. The collections are presented in hopes that they will be loved by celebrities, public relations, editors, bloggers and consumers alike who can make or break a brand. Once the runway shows are a proven success, Prigent and his team film backstage showing the celebrations of the designer's hard work.
The witty and amusing documentaries are a must see for all who are curious to see inside the minds and industry of fashion designers.
To see photographs and interview of Loïc Prigent click HERE.
A big thank you for the Special Series Reel Fashion shown at FIAF and the Museum at FIT. Prigent's series is supported by European television network ARTE and can be found on SundanceChannel.com.