Director Luke Gilford got his start in photography with works shown in publications including Crush magazine and Dazed and Confused. Since incorporating motion into his repoirtoire, Gilford has been making his mark via memorable collaborations with Dom Perignon and David Lynch, as well as musicians MS MR for their hit video “Hurricane.”
A director with a penchant for whimsical surrealism, Gilford’s most recent project sees him tackle the future with graphic imagination and transcendent style. Singular in its concept and exclusively featuring looks from Prada’s Autumn/Winter ’13 collection, The Future is Flesh is an art-house fashion film that pushes the boundaries of the budding genre. Narrated by screen legend Jane Fonda and featuring music by Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters fame, the film does well at flaunting big screen credentials in just over a minute.
A phantasmagorical of fashion and beauty, Gilford applies his knack for the fantastical to creating a beautifully jarring future, where manufactured beauty and seasonal trends takes on new meaning and form. With real people used where professional models might be seen, The Future of Flesh adds a realism to the film’s sleek and sterile world.
Below, we talk to Gilford about the film, the slant of his ideas and his well of inspiration.
What inspired your vision of the “future” for this film?
I started with the idea of clothing as a second skin. It covers the surface of our bodies. But a central characteristic of fashion is that it evolves. So, I started thinking about the body in this way as well, as something that changes with the seasons.
It’s a really interesting idea. How did your collaboration with Jane Fonda come about, and how was it working with her?
I asked Jake Shears to make an original score for the film. We knew we wanted to include voice over, so we wrote a script together, and both of us imagined Jane as the ideal actress to read it. So Jake asked her if she’d be interested (he’s friends with her), and a few days later we were recording in her living room.
From start to end, this film is truly unique. How is The Future of Flesh different from other fashion films you’ve worked on? It seems like a very narrative driven fashion film.
I had a lot of freedom, and no real supervision. Usually, there’s more influence from a magazine or brand. I just went out on a limb and made what I wanted.
How would you describe your style and perspective when it comes to directing?
I’m visual, but also character driven. I almost always start with a character in mind and build from there, thinking about their daily habits, their possessions and their inner thoughts. I usually gather visual references and then just start writing.
What’s a collaboration or project you’ve always wanted to work on that you hope to begin soon?
I’ve wanted to make a teen movie since I was very young. I’m always kind of writing one in my head.
Well be eagerly waiting for that one! Are you inspired by any directors or artist in particular?
Lately, I’ve been really inspired by Steven Soderbergh. I love that he can make a movie like Ocean’s Twelve, then turn around and make a movie like Bubble.
How does your background in photography play into your vision as a director? Do you think it gives you an edge over directors with a strictly film background?
Photography is a part of my language for storytelling. It’s the first way I learned to express myself and it’s still a big part of my process. Even my photographs usually have a narrative attached to them. But it’s not the only way to communicate with film. There’s a lot of moving parts.
Where do you think fashion films fit into the film world?
In a similar space as commercials. They’re advertising; but because the industry of fashion is so open to innovation, fashion films often have a lot more creative potential than other kinds of commercials.
What’s something you’d like to see done with fashion films in particular that hasn’t been done yet? It’s still quite a new genre.
I loved She Said, She Said, which Stuart Blumberg recently directed for Co’s [Spring/Summer 2013 collection]. I love that it had so much dialogue and a sense of humor.
Any more fashion oriented-projects on the horizon for you?
I’m working with Patrik Ervell on a narrative driven film for his new collection right now.Published November 22, 2013