First off, as seems to shock everyone familiar with my image of printed t-shirt above black pants and vans, I'm actually quite into fashion, or more accurately, fashion history. The rise of Modernism in the early 20th century, coupled with technological advances in manufacturing and design, just fascinates me endlessly, and when I had a chance to chat with Avery of 99% Invisible about her show Articles of Interest, I got to talk about fashion! That made me endlessly happy!
I am Thinking of Pierre Cardin is a Impressionist work, with the medium being archival material, the canvas being the short form documentary. It looks at Cardin's massive body of work in less than 5 minutes. It does not go into detail of everything he ever did, but it gives you the impression of exactly what it was Cardin made people feel within the world of fashion. The short doesn't rely on anything other than a beautifully written narration, and editing done with all the precision of a master tailor's scissors. It is fast, beautiful, smart, emotional. I was immediately brought to two of my all-time favorite feature docs, The Kid Stays in the Picture and The Legend of Long Tack Sam. The sense of style that is imparted by I am Thinking of Pierre Cardin soaks into the frames and powers us into this sensation of the days when Cardin was both rebel and mainstream in a way few others before or after have managed. Cardin was the Avant Garde, though at the same time, he was what so many aspired to be in the mainstream. Without Cardin, you don't have Gaultier. Without Gardin, you don't have Carbaby Street. His work was a definition of Internationalism, but entirely within the concept of Western fashion, Imperialist as that can be.
The short is so powerful, and it carries with it the weight of an emotional reaction to a time we kind of think we understand. The early seasons of Mad Men, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and various other pop culture diggings into those times, here are are given nothing but the impact of those times through Impression and emotional impact, instead of being forced into the scene by putting the layer of today's norms in contrast to what we are being shown that narrative explorations of the time are forced to do. This, instead, beings you to the 1950s and 60s through imagery, sound, movement, and doesn't force you to try and fit your expectations from where you are sitting into the box containing the work. Instead, it presents you work, so much work, Pierre Cardin-levels of work, and allows it to flow over you, taking the pieces the material lands on along with it as it fades from view.
You can see I am Thinking of Pierre Cardin as a part of the DocuNation program at Cinequest - https://payments.cinequest.org/websales/pages/info.aspx?evtinfo=85259~78899376-35a9-4153-8303-e1557be2dc32&epguid=d52499c1-3164-429f-b057-384dd7ec4b23&#.XFRrP1VKhdh