Duck and cover, in Miu Miu. Fashion house spoofs bunker living in new video
Apocalyptic style? Female film series captures our bomb fears
The bomb is back. Not the 90s buzz word for a cool person - the actual bomb. Nuclear fears are enjoying a resurgence thanks to the current political climate between two world powers. I won't belabour that here, you're worldly enough to know of whom I speak. The creative class, as it is often wont to do, has begun expressing the global latent terror of a climate or conflict driven apocalypse through various media - and the art is as dark as it is du jour.
Consider that original "Duck and Cover" manuals and stratagems put in place to "safely" navigate an actually nuclear contingency plan have recently been updated, if current context is needed. No surprise to some. Last year, foreshadowing was well provided by cautious types: bomb-shelter sales saw a spike right after the last US election results. The world, it seems, at least in part, is wincing for war. F*ck.
For six seasons, female filmmakers like Zoe Cassavetes, Ava Duvernay, Miranda July, and Chloë Sevigny have all contributed to Miu Miu's "Women's Tales" film series. The most recent installment in the series, ( The [End) of History Illusion], by dancer/choreographer/filmmaker Celia Rowlson-Hall however, may be the most timely. Which is odd because it's a tongue-firmly-in-cheek throwback to Cold War era propaganda films. Rowlson-Hall explains, "I wanted to explore commercialism in the face of fear, creating a spectacle to distract and entertain, an escape from our present day reality." Hers is just a far more fashionable and ironic execution of the original ones - some of which starred greats like Bert the Safety Turtle, in a jaunty military-chic helmet.
Spoiler alert, the short begins with "The End".
The short mashes silver screen glitz, glam and spectacle with 60s red Ruskie rivalry (complete with night terror levels of tension). Opening on a campy ad for the top-of-the-line underground bomb-proof bungalow you've always wanted, the film manages to be stylish, sad, hilarious and contextually spooky all at once. Live-in tap dancing assistants greet you at the door, a 5-star chef scuttles across the kitchen en pointe to bake you morning croissants, a gardener plucks radiated carrots from your subterranean vegetable patch, all cheerily and creepily promising you won't miss the world above. Your open-house tour guide, draped in a Miu Miu 2017 fall fur, still looks every bit the 60s style maven as she asks, "Wouldn't it be a dream come true in these trying times to own your own luxury, underground home?" Sure would.
The surreal film then starts with sound assurance that the dark dream that follows is less illusory than you'd hope. "Well you can wake up now, because this is reality." It then unfolds, fashionably and phantasmagorically in equal parts.
The dark humour plays in stark contrast to information about real life in a bomb shelter presented in earnest to Canadians during the cold war. Footage from the CBC archives, albeit charmingly old-timey, also shows nuke attack primers being read in deadpan fashion to viewers at home. Anything but humorous, really. Except for the moustaches.
That said, Miu Miu selling fall fashion with a snarky side of fallout is my kind of marketing. I half expected the film to end with "Your friends will tell you you're glowing, you'll tell them it's Miu Miu (and yellow cake uranium, dahling… )". But that would have been far too surreal. One hopes.