The Aesthetic of Opulence in Early Cinema’s Costume and Fashion Films

Join us when Marketa Uhlirova, Co-founder and Director of the Fashion in Film Festival and a Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, will talk about early costume film from the mid-1890s to later fashion films and get the chance to see a unique screening of the early films.

Focusing on issues of colour, metamorphosis, staging, perception and visual abundance, this film talk will simultaneously connect and set apart early cinema’s ‘costume spectacles’ (produced between mid-1890s and 1910) and later ‘fashion films’, as they began to be regularly distributed by companies like Pathé Frères and Gaumont in the following two decades. Taking Ivo Osolsobě’s term ‘aesthetic of opulence’ as a starting point for considering these early films displaying dress, the talk will highlight the shifts that took place between discourses of the marvelous and fantastic on the one hand, and the natural and authentic on the other.

1 danse du papillon.mov.Still005

Danse du papillon, France, 1900. Dir. Alice Guy-Blaché, Gaumont. Hand-coloured.

2 danse du feu.mov.Still006

The Pillar of Fire (La Danse du feu), France, 1899. Dir. Georges Méliès, Star Films. Hand-coloured.

7 Le Spectre Rouge.mp4.Still004

The Red Spectre (Le Spectre rouge), France, 1907. Dir. Segundo de Chomón, Pathé Frères. Stencil-coloured.

8 le troubadour.mp4.Still001

The Troubadour (Le Troubadour), France, 1906. Dir. Segundo de Chomón, Pathé Frères. Stencil-coloured.