Fashion Film Premiere: Kill Your Darlings

An exclusive fashion film online premiere and an interview with Pascal Baillien and Maarten van Mulken. 

Maastricht based designer Maarten van Mulken won the RADIKAL FASHION FILM AWARD 2017 by Pascal Baillien during FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017. 
The result of his prize is a brand new fashion film that premiered during the first edition of FFFF – FASHIONCLASH Fashion Film Festival in Maastricht. 

Maarten van Mulken graduated from MAFAD in 2016. In the same year, he was selected for the prestigious Lichting Award show in the Netherlands. In 2017, he presented his collection ‘Kill Your Darlings’ during the Fashion Makes Sense edition of FASHIONCLASH Festival where he won the RADIKAL FASHION FILM AWARD 2017 by Pascal Baillien. The result of his prize is a brand new fashion film inspired by the concept of his collection. The short fashion film premiered during the first edition of FFFF – FASHIONCLASH Fashion Film Festival in Maastricht.

Pascal Baillien is a director, writer and producer, based in Belgium and Los Angeles, USA. His strong and cinematic way of directing and more than 20 years of experience in filmmaking, make him a multi-dimensional storyteller. With his visually driven campaigns for clients in the fashion, music and corporate industry, and use of a wide range of techniques, he is able to create powerful images. He worked with high end talents such as Barbara Palvin, Charlie Sheen, Jean Claude Vandamme, Kev Adams and many more.

KB: Maarten, can you tell us something about your awarded collection?
They call deleting ideas ‘killing your darlings’. Often, the good ideas are being cancelled instead of the weak. 
The general idea gets getting dumbed-down for purely commercial purposes. For me, this refers to fashion as being dead because these days everything seems to be about selling as much products as possible. For me, fashion is not dead! Fashion system just needs to change into a new model and people need to be encouraged to pursue their ideal ideas instead of killing them. 
In both fashion as in life, there is not just one answer. There is no designer that knows everything or a panel of people who can judge what’s in and what’s out. It’s time for the masses to choose for themselves again. This collection is about making people aware of the problem within the fashion system. Death is a natural part of life, and therefore too short to make compromises. My collection does not give an answer but lets people reflect about their own lives and goals.
The overall look of the collection is being visualized by the idea of a club vibe. A place where ideas come to life and where you can think and act freely instead of being pushed down. This is expressed by the use of vivid colors, the glitter and the aggressiveness. The stripes are referring to danger and the ‘dying flowerprint’ refers to death, but also to ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ from Charles Baudelair. It is about the never reachable pursue your own ideals.

Furthermore, the collection is build-up out of archetypes. The cheerleader, the rocker, the schoolgirl, the gala dress, the rebel.. This, going back to the 80’s horror movies, where no one’s safe, everybody has to fight to earn their place.
In the end it’s a big middle-finger against the statement ‘fashion is dead’ and that you should never kill your darlings but that you should pursue all of your own ideals.

KB: How is the concept of your collection expressed in the film? 
In the film, we see a girl being killed and the story of how this happened. We see a group of masked and glittered people hunting the girl. 
The movie expresses the collection and the general idea behind it very well. It has this early and dark feel about it which I wanted to portray with the collection as well. In the beginning, it seems as if it is only about the girl being killed, but further in the story you find out that the girl represents an idea that is being killed over and over again. The masked people are her, she is the masked people. A quote by an actor in the film states: ‘Ideas do not die, they are just not being killed for the time being, and later used again’ which is also a reference to dying itself. In the end, nobody ever really dies.
The film adds more depth to the story that I wanted to tell, which is to inspire people to think more about the concept of death. Life is too short to follow other people ideas instead of your own.

KB: How was the experience to work with Pascal and his crew for this film?
Next to having such a professional fashion film (which I always wanted) that explains my collection even more, working with Pascal, Daniëlle and the whole crew was a great experience.
From the start, they were really enthusiastic and very generous towards the film and me. I have not often experienced such a motivated team as that of Pascal. We had such a good collaboration. Winning this prize turned out to be an amazing experience from the beginning to the end. Not just because of the film, but also because of the people that I got to know through this project. Hopefully, our collaboration will continue. Thank you so much!

KB: What is the added value of the fashion film as a medium for you as a designer?
For me personally, I actually started designing because of music videos. Seeing everything come together in the videos was always such a thrill. Now, with my own film a fantasy came alive.
In addition, I find the fashion film a really important medium to express your collection concept in ways you cannot achieve with pictures and runway show. The viewer gets a chance to dive deeper into the concept instead of swiping through the Instagram. As a designer, I want to tell stories and the fashion film is a great way to communicate my ideas to a broad audience.

KB: Maarten, what have you learned from this experience? 
I have learned that getting the ideas together with a team makes a stronger product in the end. From this experience, I have learned to dig deeper in the material and challenge myself to think about my work from various angles in order to make the work even more interesting.

KB: Pascal, what made you decide to give a fashion film prize to a young designer? 

To design a new collection, show their design pieces to the world is a time consuming, intense and expensive process. With this fashion film prize, I wanted to give young fashion designers a chance to present themselves with a high-end film production, and hope this stimulates them to get a good head start. 
Working with new talent is always very refreshing. The new generation has a different view on things and they come up with interesting ideas.

KB: Why did you choose to give the prize to Maarten? 

I loved Maarten’s collection right from the start. It is bold, has a strong storyline and feels very cinematic, which is a dream for every filmmaker.
The way he has been able to produce such an amazing show with a minimum of means and resources shows a high level of creativity. Although his signature is very rebellious, it is very original and his vision is thought out in detail. This is the perfect base for a good creative collaboration.

KB: How was the experience to work with Maarten on this fashion film? 

When different disciplines work together and everyone knows their craftsmanship, an amazing synergy emerges. The cooperation with Maarten was just like that. He was very committed and involved in the process, from idea generation, preproduction to the production itself. He was open for ideas and it didn’t take long to get into the right creative flow. We understood each other. Mutual respect is key.

KB: You have more than 20 years of experience as director, recently you started working with the fashion film medium. What are your thoughts on the future of fashion film as a medium?
Fashion has always been an important element in my career. I also have a degree in fashion design and I love that I can combine film and fashion design in this genre.
The fashion film festivals get more attention and attract bigger and more diverse crowds. I foresee a great future for this platform and a playground for upcoming filmmakers and designers.
Fashion is a visual medium and is always exploring new channels in which to communicate its message. Film is not limited to an exclusive part of society anymore and has become more accessible than ever. The positive side is that it is not reserved for big brands only, but also for starting designers. But it is of utmost relevance that the creative narrative is told right.
The new expectations of fashion and film, and the vast possibilities in between, are unlimited, they influence each other and we only have seen the beginning.

KB: Do you plan to continue to experiment with fashion film genre in the near future?

Absolutely! It is limitless and the creative freedom can bring forward interesting collaborations. I think the fashion film platform is valuable and I continue to support it as well as young talent. It keeps fashion and film connected. Fashion loves film, and film loves fashion.

Behind the scenes photography: Sem Shayne


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