Behind the Veil of Diane Pernet

Illuminating Fashion From a Shaded View

Diane Pernet carries a dark and mysterious elegance that can often intimidate. Intentionally fading into the black uniform of her signature dress, she is quite a beauty if one is lucky to see her even partially unveiled. Diane’s voice is a soft whisper; yet her words ring true to the amalgam of the fashion community’s visionaries, misfits, and promising talent. On September 25th-27th 2009, she will present her  new festival, A Shaded View On Fashion Film, in the city she has chosen to call home—Paris, France. The ensemble of contributors to this festival include Erwin Olaf, Roísín Murphy, Fumiko Imano, and Mr. Pearl to name a few. In addition, films will feature the likes of Steven Klein, Chloe Sevigny, Kim Gordon, Chris Cunningham, Jenny Lewis and Yelle. SOMA spoke with  Pernet as she was prepping for the festival.

Diane, you are a mercurial creative force, who wears a variety of hats. How do you live so many creative lives at once?
I don’t know, somehow it feels quite natural. I started out by studying film, then reportage photography, then went back to school to study fashion and set up my business without really having had any kind of apprenticeship. Journalism was not something that I planned. After working as an editor for and, blogging seemed quite natural. The position at ZOO Magazine as co-editor in chief really came out of the blogging, even though I had been writing for them ever since the days of Dutch.

What was the impetus for the film festival?
The film festival is something that evolved out of the fact that, for the past nine or more years, I’ve been making low-fi videos. For over seven  years, I had thought about putting together a fashion film festival, but at the beginning, there was really not enough interest or material out there. I launched A Shaded View On Fashion Film (ASVOFF) as an extension of my blog two years ago, and prior to that I co-curated You Wear it Well. ASVOFF is a three day fashion film festival that incorporates documentaries and short films, as well as music videos. As for the consulting and talent scout, the festival d’Hyeres talent scouting evolved from the fact that for the past seven  years I’ve been working with my team doing the “making of” videos for the festival and it just grew naturally.

Your personal style is dark, iconic, and strikingly beautiful. Was there a point in your life that prompted you to project this individual style?
I suppose it started when I was a fashion designer for my own brand for thirteen  years. I took the decision to wear black in the same way that Givenchy or Maison Martin Margiela took to white lab coats. By dressing in a uniform you do not compete with what you create. I stopped designing long ago but kept to the uniform. It evolves with time but basically has become my signature.

What inspired you to first fuse the worlds of fashion and film?
Fashion and film are my two loves. About four years ago I made a road movie for Eley Kishimoto and  my LA contributor at that time asked me if I wanted to screen it. At the same time EGR, my Mexican contributor, sent me a film that he had made. I liked it, posted it onto my blog, and we decided to create a fashion film festival. My original impulse for this might have been  too soon, but by 2006 the time was right.

I’ve noticed more design houses and designers creating video campaigns. Why do you believe more people are using this medium to express their work?
I think that runway shows are feeling very last century and that film is the new medium for fashion. Frozen images can be beautiful, but fashion in movement makes a lot of sense. Fashion films have created a whole new dimension for creative exploration.

Do you believe “Paris is (still) burning” when it comes to fashion and film, or are there other countries we should open our eyes to?
Paris is the platform that gets designers from around the planet the most international attention. In that respect, Paris is still burning. I travel a lot and the whole idea behind and is that you do not need to come from one of the major capitals like LA, NYC, Paris, Milan, Tokyo or London. If you have something to say, in our times, through digital technology you can be heard. For example, I’ve found great filmmakers in places like Riga, Latvia and Stockholm.

Is there any advice you could  give to future fashion filmmakers that would like to submit to ASVOFF?
It’s very open. I love the diversity in fashion and film. The ASVOFF3 deadline is May 2010. It’s an open call and everyone is invited. The only criteria is that the film, for the competition, be under five minutes and that within those five minutes, fashion plays a major role.

– Michelle Peerali

ASVOFF will launch at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, on September 25th 2009 and on October 8th, at Centre Pompidou, for the awards ceremony. The jury president will be Rick Owens. For more information about the festival visit For more information on Diane Pernet visit