German-born director Alexander Haessner began his infiltration of the world of fashion filmmaking first as a photographer, working within the bounds of portraiture and fine art, before beginning a career as a high-speed cinematographer.
“Since I was young I was always interested in creating pictures whether with drawing, painting or taking photographs,” Alex explained to us. “After studying art at a university I specialized in the motion picture industry. I returned to photography to further develop this passion, and found myself aiming to include an interesting concept or story behind the images I shot. ”
This passion for storytelling is evident in the fashion films Alex has worked on, including Twilite Dancer. An ode to the feeling of dancing all night, the film transports the viewer to an otherworldly discotheque and inhabits all that is fantastic about the emerging medium of fashion films; each movement produced by the models is complemented by the clothes they wear, the music it has been paired with and the cumulative aesthetic decisions made by Alex.
The evolution of digital media and the ease of access to filmmaking technologies played a huge role in Alex’s moving away from photography and into this new realm of storytelling.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a photographer or a director; you are telling a story, coming up with concepts and ideas that you show in your images. Now, as digital media has advanced in a way that making a film is relatively easy, there is the opportunity to combine elements of photography with digital motion, allowing more complex narratives in fashion stories. What attracts me to fashion films is that basically everything is possible. I believe that fashion films have great potential, and will be a very important medium for the fashion industry to showcase their products and unique attitudes.”
Alex’s interest in moving fashion filmmaking beyond the “models posing on video” stereotype converges with his life spent on the sets of photoshoots in Mise-en-Scene, which he made exclusively for Portable’s Fashion on Film party, presented by Russian Standard Vodka and will premiere tomorrow night at the Tribeca Grand. Salt star Olya Zueva plays the role of a model whose internal and external realities begin to blur when she steps onto the set of a photoshoot that’s not quite right.
“Mise en Scène was solely inspired by fashion editorials shot in a production setting,” Alex explains. “The transformation of reality into fantasy is much more a part of the tradition of fashion photography than film. We were looking to bring a fashion editorial to life through film, rather than make a film about fashion. Fashion films—which are different than commercials, as editorials are different than campaigns—deserve to be their own genre of entertainment, as fashion photography has grown to be its own genre of photography, or even art. My vision of Mise en Scène was to capture the fantasy world of a photo editorial.”
PORTABLE’S FASHION ON FILM PARTY IS PRESENTED BY RUSSIAN STANDARD VODKA