Monday, 11 October 2010


A Conversation With Zaiba Jabbar
by Brodie Lancaster on 11/10/2010 in Fashion


After winning the Vogue Italia and A Shaded View on Fasion Film Festival’s 1Minute “Light” Series Competition earlier this year with a film showcasing William Richard Green’s AW10 collection, London-based filmmaker Zaiba Jabbar has continued her assault on the ever-expanding new genre of fashion filmmaking with her new work, Cassia.

Starring model Abigail Rose Mason as our titular heroine, Cassia takes its viewer on a journey through a night filled with modern gangs. Cassia and her nocturnal counterparts were styled by Ella Dror and Alex Carle in a bevvy of designer bounty, including pieces by Ann-Sofie Back, William Green, American Apparel, Craig Lawrence, Gemma Slack and Dr. Martens.

We got the chance to speak with Zaiba about both Cassia and her approach to fashion filmmaking.

PTV: What were your inspirations- visually, narratively, sartorially- for Cassia?
Zaiba Jabbar: I was inspired by London, by translating the constant fashion in motion that happens around me. Also by the places I go and using designers like Charlie Le Mindu, Iris Van Herpen, and Qasimi, and recontextualising these extraordinary clothes in mundane settings and familiar places to create a narrative style piece that revolves around fundamentally about wanting to belong. And of course still be visually very stunning and keep it really London!

How did this project differ from your film for William Richard Green, with a more varied wardrobe and a looser theme?
Budget! Ha! …Well, with the WRG film it was a more of an exploration of an idea that I had wanted to realise. I had wanted to use these moving lights so I approached Will and said we should use his clothes (as I thought the rubber pieces would work really well). We made the film for under £50 with just the 3 of us: me, the designer and the model Thomas Ashley. After winning the ASVOFF & Vogue Italia competition it proved that there really are no rules associated to what you can call a fashion film. But for me as a filmmaker I’m always trying to explore new territory, so with Cassia I wanted it to be completely different. Cassia was a much larger production and involved working with a variety of people. I also wanted to tell a story, test the water with a more narrative-driven piece.

What attracts you to fashion film? What makes fashion filmmaking different from other types (shorts, music videos etc.)?
Getting into fashion film was completely by accident. I’d been working in the music video industry and had just started to direct a few low budget music videos (which, looking back now, were all quite style driven!) and a very good friend of mine, Lauren Cochrane, a fashion journalist, had put my name forward to Fashion East founder Lulu Kennedy. DavidDavid was showing as part of Fashion East that year and had wanted a film instead of a catwalk. We had a few meetings and I had pitched an idea. It was all quite serendipitous when I think about it. I think with the DavidDavid video it is very evident of my music video background music, something that still is integral to any fashion film I make. I think as a medium it is the combination of audio and visuals colliding, making beautiful images work with cool sounds is something I get very excited about exploring. And with fashion film there is a real window in which to do that.

I always like to Zaiba-fy any video I make. I like to approach each film individually and put a unique and odd stamp on it. Keep it fresh and trust my own instinct, and not get too influenced by what other people are doing.

Fashion film initially is about promotion of a brand but I think it has now turned into more of an art form, as well as another box to be ticked for a designer or lab. The gap between the two extremes is now bridging because what we claim is fashion film is altering. We find ourselves in a situation where a video of a photo shoot can be a fashion film. I think it seems like moving fashion content is on demand and the integration of that is where the balance between the two is occurring the most. Its not just the high fashion houses all commercial enterprises are slowly realising the importance of moving content.

What are you working on next?
I’ve just done a video for Charlie Le Mindu SS11, in which I’ve presented an alternative reality of his catwalk and made it a piece itself, helping to bring a new lease on life, a second wind- to a soon forgotten event -the catwalk of any designer. I’m also working on a new video for William Richard Green SS11, which we’re planning a launch screening for in November.

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