Following a dream. Streaming Skin on Skin A Fashion Film, story of a runaway turned international model, dress designer rare fashion show footage 1980’s
What happens when you put everything you’ve got into a project that is close to your heart? It may be a painting, a building, a home cooked meal, or your story. You give it all you’ve got and it takes on it’s own life. It becomes something other than you thought it would be. Like raising a child, you think you know what’s best for the child, but the child’s soul knows what it wants to be. That’s the hardest part of parenting, of birthing something from deep inside of you.
This happened when I set out to make a fashion film a few years back. I had never produced a short film, but I am one who takes things on enthusiastically and gives all of mySELF to the project, whatever that may be.
Inspired by the many Fashion Filmmakers I had met at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival (LJIFFF) I thought I may give it a try when a certain director called me up and asked me to help him produce a fashion film for him. This director had no experience in the fashion industry, he just loved filmmaking. He had no fashion, he had no story, but he had a calling.
I sent him a copy of my memoire “Runway RunAway; A Backstage Pass to Fashion, Romance and Rock ‘n Roll.” He was on his way to China and had a long flight ahead with time to read. Upon his return he called me up and said, “I am inspired by your story and I want to make a film based on your life.” I was flattered in the moment and thanked him profusely. My ego was tickled and my mind was challenged. He told me he didn’t have connections with any real fashion designers but he was extremely enthusiastic about capturing my story as a fictional drama. He asked if I knew any designers that would give us the wardrobe to use in the film.
It just so happened that I had been working on my own collection and was getting ready to launch my own line of dresses called “The Dream Dress.”
I told him about the dresses and he jumped for joy. Problem solved, we have clothes to highlight in his fashion film. We met and thus began the creation and production of a short film that would soon be titled “Skin On Skin, A Fashion Film.” Voila!
We set to work in planning, I shared my vision and he shared his. My backstory in fashion began when I was an ingenue model living in Paris as luck would have it, it turned out we were both flying over to Paris to attend another Fashion Film Festival that December of 2016. We figured since we were there, why not begin filming in Paris to set the mood and get enough original footage to create our teaser. Of course the next step was how to pay for this production. Me, being a budding designer with no budget to speak of, but also not the type to give up on a dream, went to work figuring that out.
This is where you came in. You? You were the ones who helped fund the dream. You who came forward and made donations to Go Fund Me for Skin on Skin, The Dream Dress, A Fashion Film and helped us realize the dream. I want to thank you and tell you that I am forever grateful!!!
The process of making this movie took over 9 months. About the same time it takes to make a baby. It became my baby but this baby wanted to raise itself! It didn’t matter what we had planned for it’s life and future. It was going to be what it wanted to be and so of course, it turned into something other than what we had planned. There were many challenges thought the process of making this film. Disagreements between me and the director led to him abandoning the baby just before it was born. My baby and I were left just 3 weeks before the LJIFFF submission date looking for a surrogate father to bring it to life.
I prayed faithfully for a healthy birth of my project child and Spirit delivered an enthusiastic editor who offered to help me finish the film just for the experience of doing it! Wow. Ok! Thank you! And forward we went.
However the editor had problems to solve too. Since our director had take a leave of absence, we had never shot the final scene. This film was meant to be a four minute story with a beginning, a middle and and end. But here we were with no end in sight. The editor called me in question. “What are we going to do?” Do you have any old footage from your days in Paris? Maybe we change the story and make it into a mini-doc.”
I scoured through my old video tapes and fashion show footage from the 1980’s and sent it over to him. He called me in delight. “Are you telling me no one has ever seen this footage? This is what I want to edit Lorelei.”
He went to work editing and re-editing with the task at hand of combining this new footage with the old videos. It was daunting and not what I had planned for this baby at all. But I held tight to the dream and I knew I had to deliver this child to the fashion film festival in La Jolla if not only for them, or me, but for you…those of you who believed in me, in my dream and had paid good money to get it made. And so it was. Midnight on the final date of submission we pushed the button SEND.
I thought I was done. “Whew!” I thought. And then I got the phone call from Fred Sweet the Producer of LJIFFF. I was waiting for his praise in getting it done because he knew of all the challenges I had been through in making this film. But praise was not forthcoming. “Lorelei, he started…This is not your whole story.” “What do you mean Fred? You don’t like it?” “Lorelei, it’s fine, it’s ok, but it’s not the whole story that I know about you and what you went through.” “Awe Fred, I moaned, I don’t want to bring up the story of Steve.” Steve Clark was my former fiance’ who had died tragically from alcohol abuse. “Fred, I don’t want this to be about Steve. This is about where I am today.” “Yes, I know that Lorelei, but you can’t edit your life. You have to tell the truth bare bones and all.” Said Fred. “But I don’t have time to shoot more film, I don’t have time to submit it again.” I whined…“Are you saying you wont accept it in the festival?” “No, he said, I’ll accept it, it’s just I would like to see you win something and I think you can do better. Be real. I’ll give you one more day.”
I went to bed that night distressed. I had to catch a plane early the next day to St. Petersburg, Florida to meet with the heads of the Home Shopping Network hoping to get them to let me on air with The Dream Dress. At midnight Spirit woke me up and said… “Go through your iPhotos…find the video at Steve’s grave.” I jumped out of bed and searched. I had been to visit Steve’s grave that past December on a cold and rainy day. There were friends and fans of Steve’s at the grave to meet me. I took some pictures of them and then I handed my iPhone over to one of them and asked him to film. As soon as I gave it to him, within 30 seconds he promptly (accidentally) shut it off! Still, I found those 30 seconds and sighed. What a drag.. this is all I’ve got? 🙁 But I sent it over to my editor and asked him if there was any way we could add this footage in to complete the story. The part of the story I didn’t want to tell. He agreed in the 11th hour to give it a try.
The next morning I woke up and ran to my check my emails. Nothing there.
I packed my bags and a few minutes later the email came in from my editor. “It’s good, this works, I’ll send you the upload in an hour.”
“Hallelujah there is a God!” I smiled. It’s 9 AM, I’m sitting in LAX waiting for my my flight when his upload came in. I watched it on my phone and then sent it over to Fred as my final submission and then let it go. There was nothing more I could do for this baby. It was expanding in ways that I didn’t foresee and now I just had to let that be.
Later that night I got a voicemail from Fred. “Nice work Lorelei, you did it! I didn’t think you could do it, but you did. This works. It’s in the festival.”
Skin on Skin THE DREAM DRESS A Fashion Film went on to receive four nominations at LJIFFF and the International Fashion Film Awards. Best Art Direction, Best Creative Concept, Best Narration, and Best Documentary. It didn’t win Best Documentary… the one about MADONNA did. It didn’t matter though because it was never meant to be a documentary. It was supposed to be a 4 minute fashion promo film, but it wanted to be something else. Something more. So it morphed into becoming a Docu-drama and there was no category for that.
At the end of the day you see, there is no category for anything that we birth or create, or that we call “art.” It’s art for art’s sake, every man for himself, and what will be will be.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW FILM : https://bit.ly/2QZsUkK
I hope you enjoy it.
Special thanks to all of you who contributed to the making of Skin on Skin THE DREAM DRESS A Fashion Film. To the Director, Editor, Actors, Music score Composer, Production Team and Go Fund Me Angels – you know who you are!
PS: Skin on Skin did win Best Narration. Telling the story authentically in first person may have paid off after all. Thanks Fred!
Lorelei Shellist Runway Runaway Image and Style Consultant and designer of The Dream Dress
The Dream Dress can be purchased at https://runwayrunawaycollection.com.
Use this September discount code: FALLFASHION20% for your very own Dream Dress.