Meticulously planned and executed, the most memorable runway shows can look like the stuff of dreams. It’s easy to be entranced by the glamour of fashion weeks but few are privy to the bustle and hassle behind these polished displays.

At this film festival, viewers will gain a more intimate perspective into haute couture and high fashion; on and off screen with the scheduled film screenings and Singapore fashion-related fringe events.

Take a glimpse into the life of a model, understand some of the unsaid boundaries in the ultra-exclusive world of haute couture and watch the biggest names in fashion talk about their creative processes at the Singapore Fashion Film Festival (SFFF).

 
   
Documentaries on designers Donatella Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld
and Paul Smith are four of 10 principal screenings at the Singapore Fashion Film Festival 2011

The first-ever fashion-centred film festival in Singapore starts today and will run on to November 5. Held in conjunction with Women’s Fashion Week 2011 Singapore, the festival offers a good range of documentary films to interest both fashionistas and anyone curious to find out more about the comings and goings of high fashion. A total of 10 documentary films will be screened.

Singapore designers and fashion photographers aren’t left out of the loop at this festival either.

During the second week of this event, festival-goers stand a chance to meet Singapore fashion photographers from Milk Photographie, the SinemaTV documentary team and Singapore fashion designer Wykidd Song.

The SinemaTV’s first season of their reality documentary series, The Underground Stage, interviews local designers, choreographers and other fashion insiders in Singapore. The series debuts October 21: An episode will be screened at the start of every SFFF screening so viewers will support the work of Singapore talents

Moving back to the festival film list, here are the screenings to look forward to.

Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton (2007)
When:
October 22, at 7pm and October 30, at 8pm
Where: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia

If you were enthralled by this designer’s dream-like carousel presentation for Louis Vuitton, there’s no better time to look back at his diverse designs for fashion house Louis Vuitton and his eponymous label. Watch Marc Jacobs work with the signature styles and management systems of two very different labels: Loïc Prigent’s candid and brisk documentary goes behind-the-scenes, into the making of the Spring 2007 collections.


Paul Smith: Gentleman Designer (2011)
When:
October 22, at 9pm and October 30, at 6pm
Where: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia

Known for his quirky reinterpretations of classics and his contributions to mens fashion, this British designer is ever that immaculate “gentleman designer” in this documentary, with 400 shops and outlets internationally under the Paul Smith label. French director Stéphane Carrel celebrates the designer’s 40 years in fashion, joining Sir Paul Smith on his trips between London, Tokyo, Paris and back.


Picture Me: A Model’s Diary (2010)
When: 
October 22, at 4.45pm, October 23, at 4pm, October 28, at 9pm, October 30, at 4pm
Where: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia

They’re the faces on billboards and magazines yet it’s not quite the high life for all models. First conceived as a personal project, filmmaker Ole Schell started capturing girlfriend Sara Ziff’s modelling career on video. Encouraged by  positive feedback on their videos, the couple then travelled to chronicle the lows and highs of modelling in Paris, Milan and London.


Hearts and Crafts
(2011)
When:
October 23, at 2.30pm, 8.30pm; October 29, at 3.45pm
Where: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia

The iconic Birkin bag may be immediately recognisable but do you know the amount of craftsmanship that goes into its making? As a tribute to the artisans of Hermès ateliers, this film moves the spotlight away from the designers and onto the saddler, leather maker, jeweler, the crystal and glassmaker. What inspires their dedication and the pride that they hold for their craft? Watch to find out.

 


Signé Chanel
(2005)
When:
October 23, at 6pm and October 29, at 8.30pm
Where: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia

Shot in four episodes, this documentary series tracks the creation of a Chanel haute couture collection from start to finish. See how initial sketches are developed into actual couture pieces and witness the break-neck bustle of fittings and sewing; activity that continues up to the day of the show itself. It’s purported to be that “must-see” for the Chanel fan. And anyone who can’t get enough of watching the ever-quotable Karl Lagerfeld.


The Day Before: Donatella Versace
(2010)
When:
October 21, at 7.30pm and October 30, at 2.30pm
Where: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia

This film is one of three selected films from Loïc Prigent’s ongoing series, The Day Before. The documentary gives viewers rare insights into the formidable fashion diva’s creative habits and practices. In spite of the hectic runway preparation, there’s still room for a chuckle or two. As Donatella Versace puts it herself quite wryly: “Creative moments have a lot of tension. And I have a lot of tension today.”


The Day before: Alexander Wang (2010)

When:
October 21, at 9pm and October 29, at 5pm
Where: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia

Build up your anticipation for the first-ever Alexander Wang boutique in Singapore, before it opens in 2012. See the young and talented fashion designer in action on screen; watch the nerve-wrecking last 36 hours before the live Times Square broadcast of the Alexander Wang Fall 2010 collection. Another bonus: This 26-minute short will be screened with The Secrets of Haute Couture (2006).


The Day Before: Jean-Paul Gaultier
(2009)
When:
October 28, at 7.30pm, October 29, at 7pm
Where: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia

“Fashion means you’re never in sync with real time,” or so says Jean-Paul Gaultier, in this episode of The Day Before.

Time indeed passes, albeit at a much more frantic speed in the lead-up to a fashion week. Witness the flurry of activity on the day before the Jean Paul Gaultier 2010 Autumn-Winter Haute Couture collection.



The Secrets of Haute Couture (2006)
When:
October 21, at 9pm and October 29, at 5pm
Where: Sinema Old School, 11B Mount Sophia

Haute couture is a rarefied field of fashion; its critics deem it as being anachronistic while fans and select customers love couture for that old world glamour. So what goes on exactly, in the highly-exclusive and decadent world of couture? Margy Kinmonth interviews the main collectors; the customers who love how couture pieces “fit like second skin” and are willing to pay at least six figure sums for such dresses.


Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé – L’amour Fou (2010)
When:
9pm on November 3 and 5. Tickets for the November 2 screening have sold out.

Where: Alliance Française de Singapour, 1 Sarkies Road

Yves Saint Laurent and his life companion Pierre Bergé had amassed a huge art collection during their time together. After his death, Bergé decides to sell all of these art pieces; a sale that is seen as “the auction of the century”. Why did he choose to do so and what did these art objects mean to the couple?

All tickets are priced at $12 each and are sold on the official official festival website: www.fashionfilmfestival.sg. Visit the website for more information on the films and other festival activities.