Okay, this is going to be a hard sell. It’s not motion graphics. And it was originally intended to be viewed on a much larger three-screen display. But this triptych short from SHOWstudio for Yves Saint Laurent simply entrances me.
From the SHOWstudio project page:
…creative director Stefano Pilati broke the mould of the traditional catwalk show by presenting his collection via film. Originally displayed on a triptych of screens, the film plays across three frames of action and is here shown in its entirety.
I don’t follow the world of fashion, but denying fashionistas a chance to watch impossibly gaunt men saunter up and down a thin stage seems like a daring move. High five, Stefano Pilati. I’ll never afford your clothes, but at least I can appreciate your taste.
I suppose what I like most about the project is the way in which the content of the screens is often treated as a design element. In the still above, for example, the symmetrical layout is bookended by mirror images of the model manipulating some sort of door-like object. It doesn’t matter what’s going onâ€”or what he’s wearing, for that matterâ€”SHOWstudio decided to create graphical tableaux using human forms and minimal props. And they did it with style.
These triptych tactics are nothing new, of course. They can be traced back to 1927, when French Impressionist filmmaker Abel Gance used a three-screen setup to present the finale of his epic NapolÃ©on. The first shots are simple panoramas, but as the triptych progresses, Gance uses the same graphical symmetry found in the YSL project from SHOWstudio. With a little imagination, I can see what an effect this must have had on audiences, both then and now.
Props to the one and only Sofus Graae for bringing this project to my attention.