In an Alien Fashion

The Curve of Forgotten Things

Fashion blogs terrify me. For every super-detailed analysis of why it’s important to kiss buttons in thrift stores I scroll through page after page of ‘shoe enthusiasm‘. Compare and contrast: old vs new, in vs out; these blogs work in casually distinguished binaries. And they throw up the strangest gems.

Aanteni by fashion brand Rodarte and director Tod Cole is a twisted film. Showcasing ancient (it’s a year old now) fashion, the film strives to look like the final traces of humankind in soft focus.

Star Guinevere van Seenus carries the film with a heavy, ungainly motion. In running she seems to tumble, all clipped thrusts and contorted features, her clothes appearing to disintegrate, as if her skin were reacting violently with our too-human atmosphere. She sprints through blasted pockets of LA, frightened and exhausted, behind her a pursuer we’ll never understand. And between her skips and stumbles we cut to factories and test-sites.

Through all, van Seenus never quite seems human. Human frailties are captured, but they seem too raw, too keenly experienced to be genuine.

This film sounds like doom. Fuzzes and spits of sound make sense of the scanners tracking van Seenus’s body; of her neck lolling sideways in agony; of a rocket taking flight. The soundtrack is made up of the compressed, clipped sounds of mission control, sputtering to get a message to the moon. It fits the debris floating around Los Angeles just as well as the debris floating miles above the earth.

Rodarte is the brand name of fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, sisters, so it’s fitting that Aanteni has a sister too. The Mulleavys and Cole released a new film in February, The Curve of Forgotten Things, showcasing a new collection. Again making use of the schizophrenic landscape of LA, this film follows actress Elle Fanning as she explores an empty house on a hill.

Fanning too seems unnatural, but the alien fear in van Seenus’s eyes isn’t here at all; Fanning is shot with the face of a nymph. She seems to get younger and younger as each frame passes, while her soundtrack twinkles and glitters.

The yellow light of the film and the aged wood surrounding Fanning serve to emphasise how little of her has frayed. Where the fashion of Aateni is ragged and torn The Curve of Forgotten Things presents something whole and wholesome, full of blocks and sleeves, more of the prairie than of the future.

In each, these lonely women explore enough emotional range that it becomes impossible to see what they wear as anything but costumes. Watching both films alongside another slew of fashion weeks makes the thought of such clothes being worn by people - human people - about as impossible to grasp as the concept of interstellar travel.

More so in fact; the grainy footage of STS-133 (Space Shuttle Discovery’s final mission) streaking above the cloud line, shot by a cameraphone from a plane window no less, suddenly placed the concept of space within my grasp; I never feel that scrolling through fashion blogs.

Matthew Sheret