>> Matt Tyrnauer may have gotten ahold of Valentino for The Last Emperor, and RJ Cutler of Anna Wintour for The September Issue, but it's Loic Prigent who has really taken the whole fly-on-the-wall fashion documentary concept by the horns these past few years. He did Signe Chanel, a five-part series on the creation of Chanel's Fall 2004 couture collection, and the 2007 film Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton, which captures Marc waddling in pigeon costume and finding inspiration for a bag from a collection of pastel macaroons; both Signe Chanel and Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton have been uploaded to YouTube.
His latest project, announced back in June, is The Day Before, set to air for four consecutive nights starting Sept. 10 on the Sundance Channel. Prigent tracks four design houses — Proenza Schouler, Sonia Rykiel, Fendi, and Jean Paul Gaultier — in the 36 hours before their Fall 2009 ready-to-wear shows, with the exception of Gaultier, who is captured before his Fall 2009 couture show.
Grumpy seamstresses, yappy dogs, collapsing roofs . . . »
The series requires Prigent to condense over 40 hours of footage per designer into 51-minute English-language episodes. He focuses on the characters rather than the clothes, W reports, and there are hardly any full-on temper tantrums, despite the last-minute circumstances. But that doesn't mean emotions aren't strained.
At Gaultier, seamstresses are "grumpy" and "exhausted," W writes. “Two hours before the show, only four or five dresses were done,” Prigent says. “It’s very tense.” At Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld tries to relieve stess with the house tradition: an annual employee fashion show, during which one man sports high heels and another young male staff member walks the runway in a fur stole while Lagerfeld laughs and takes a picture.
The Proenza episode explores the dynamics between Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, with Lazaro's "yappy, jumping Prague Ratter pooch," Jojo, making cameos. In an early cut, when Prigent was still providing voiceover, the camera frames Hernandez, as Prigent explains, "This is Lazaro, the cute one." The camera pans over to McCollough: “And this is Jack, the cute one.” Their Fall 2009 show cost $180,000, and three of the raw velvet dresses had to be resewn minutes before they hit the runway. That emergency doesn't hold a candle to Proenza's Spring 2009 catastrophe, W points out:
The season before, the roof collapsed in our studio,” says Hernandez, describing thousands of gallons of water pouring into their workrooms — and over a mostly white collection. “There’s a lot of crap behind the scenes that happens.
Prigent captures the "forever fidgeting philosophizing" Sonia Rykiel in the midst of her $1.4 million, 40th anniversary show extravaganza, which featured 80 models, 70 hairstyling assistants, and a massive LED screen larger than the one used by Madonna on her most recent tour. Her daughter Nathalie, the house's president, is caught screaming at the show producer one minute and hugging him the next. And though Nathalie told W she would have no problem with him including it in the episode, Prigent decides to take out a scene of then 78-year-old Sonia in four-inch heels, taking a fall in the show space: “I didn’t want to show her on the floor.”