Every now and again a fashion brand makes a film so perfect, so completely in keeping with their aesthetic and pop culture that it transcends the medium for which it was created. For their AW16 collection Kenzo have enlisted the help of Gregg Araki, one of the leading figures in the New Queer Cinema movement of the early 90’s to write and direct a short film that showcases the brand’s new season styles. Fashion houses do this all the time but rarely does it end up as an auteur piece. Araki’s kaleidoscopic mise-en-scène and obsession with trashy teen melodrama is such a sublimely perfect fit for Kenzo’s AW16 collection that I assume Araki’s films were the inspiration behind the collection.
Other members of the New Queer Cinema movement like Ang Lee, Gus Van Sant and Todd Haynes have all gone on to find a place in mainstream cinema, but Araki has remained distinctly counter-culture throughout his career. I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t seen any Gregg Araki films but if you haven’t you’re most definitely missing out. The ‘Teen Apocalypse Trilogy’ which features ‘Totally Fucked Up’, ‘The Doom Generation’ and ‘Nowhere’ is perhaps his best original work. His most critically acclaimed film ‘Mysterious Skin’ based on the book by my friend Scott Heim is as beautiful as it is disturbing. Take a weekend and have yourself an Araki festival – but first watch the Kenzo film below, it’s a pretty accurate distillation of everything that’s great about Gregg Araki. Oh yeah, check out the clothes too, they’re kind of amazing.