a Fashion film for PRADA. Analysing its relationship with celebrity and fashion
During this essay, I intend to look into the
importance of the fashion film A THERAPY produced for PRADA and direct by Roman Polanski. I will analyse how the film has
been created not to be an advertisement for Prada products but a fashion film.
Looking into the films uses of fashion stereotypes and celebrity actors.
During the short film lasting three and a half minutes, we
meet a theatrical woman elegantly dressed, head to toe in PRADA. Helena Bonham
Carter taking this staring role as the lonely miserable but rich fashion addict
(see figure 2). Visiting her silent
psychoanalyst, played by Ben Kingsley for
what can be assumed a frequent standing appointment. She flounces in through
the door removing her large fur coat which is promptly hung up by Kingsley, as
she heads straight for the chaise longue all whilst being sure of her self-importance.
No words of welcome are exchanged giving an idea that the characters
relationship is purely professional.
Carter’s characters wealth is constantly
reminded to the viewer with details such as pearls, jewelled earrings and the
characters privileged demeanour “Draped in pearls, she reclines on a velvet chaise longue” (Whitelocks, S. (2012)
Online.) As she lays she recalls her last anxiety filled dream ‘I was alone in a vast arena and on the stage was
a rock band and I couldn’t hear the music, total silence, I was consumed by
panic, what does it mean? Does it symbolizes my loneliness?’ (PRADA. (2012) Online Video.) She continues to ramble on
about what she feels this dream may mean answering her own questions and
counselling her self. Enforcing her self-absorbed stereotype, her character
portrays in the first half of the film. All while Kinsley’s character the psychiatrist
is becoming increasingly distracted, by her purple Prada fur coat hanging in
the corner. He continues to be infatuated by the garment ignoring his client
who is still talking. Stroking the fur coat studying its beauty before living
his fantasy and trying the poorly fitting coat on (see figure 3). Kingsley flounces in the mirror wearing the coat with
the grey fur against his face as his client continues to question him “Doctor
what dose it all mean?” (PRADA.
(2012) Online Video.) Leading to the final part of the scene where the
viewer is informed that “PRADA suites everyone” (PRADA.
(2012) Online Video.) This gives the film a witty end (See figure 4).
As ultimately the film is an
advertisement for Prada, it is unusual for the film to contain minimal branding
“We wanted to keep it light and funny, we
see this as a film, not an advertisement.” (Whitelocks,
S. (2012) Online.) Presenting the film in a more cinematic light translates
well to the celebrity characters and high profile director being to willing to
work on the film. Roman
Polanski premiered the film at the Cannes film festival giving the film a large
platform making the film feel even more anti-commercial. The film presents two
stereotypes form two very different worlds the silent therapist who only listens,
communicating with small facial expressions and nodding head movements all
while writing observational notes (see figure 5). Another stereotype in the
film comes from Helena Bonham Carters character appearing as a rich
self-absorbed fashion addict. The characters clothing drawing similarities to
the film The Devil Wears Prada (see
figure 6) the plot of this for this film also relays heavily on fashion
stereotypes. Both characters dress with an air of wealth and social standing
with bold statement coats and large framed sunglasses. Meryl Streep plays a formidable
fashion editor at a fast paced fashion magazine. However Carters character is a
lot more theatrical than Streep’s giving A Therapy a less serious and more
ironic theme. At the first showing of the fashion film Roman Polanski gave a mandate
speech about the ideas behind the film “The
chance to dwell on what the fashion world represents nowadays and the fact that
it is accompanied by so many stereotypes is fascinating” (Whitelocks, S. (2012) Online.) The
film very successfully presents theses stereotypes in a humorous light.
Prada giving Roman
Polanski a lot of control over the fashion film opens it up to a wider
audience. The films main purpose is to set a mood for the brand, the film is
portrayed to be witty, stylish and a bit camp this allows Prada to appear as a fun
brand that enjoys taking the fashion world less seriously than other large
brands. Not using all of its screen time for straight to the point
advertising/marketing to sell its products and to turn over as much money as
very refreshing to know that there are still places open to irony and wit and,
for sure, Prada is one of them.” (Jablonski,
S. (2012) Online.) The film is a more successful fashion film than others in
recent years. Fashion houses such as Dior have produced many films in a similar
style that have lacked the witty and fun of A Therapy. Such as The Return,
which feels over stylised and to long. Polanski has avoided this successfully by making the film
short but punchy. Having well renowned actors gives the film more of an
audience as celebrity and fashion go hand in hand. Helena Bonham Carters large following and fame work to
Prada’s advantage giving the viewer and idea of the brands aspirational/ideal
muse. Ben Kingsley is an actor of high standing having won several awards for
his work. His portrayal of the silent psychiatrist is subtle but amusing and
portrays his characters sudden interest in Prada coat comically and camp. The
final end slate is a witty ending giving the idea that even a psychiatrist with
a moustache can pull of a Prada coat.
The film overall is an
extremely successful fashion short with a small cast that draws you in
instantly with there subtly played stereotypical characters. The celebrity
actors draw the viewer in giving the film a large audience. Roman Polanski’s direction effectively
makes the film feel anti-commercial and entertaining whilst still being luxurious.
The final film suits Prada’s fun side and relates to Prada as a brand.