Now in Fashion: Kenneth Anger

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Published July 27, 2010

 

 

At 83 years old, artist, filmmaker, and tabloid writer Kenneth Anger—whose work is best known for its brashly fetishistic homoeroticism and Aleister Crowley-inspired occultism—is experimenting with a new subject matter. The notoriously subversive Anger has made a fashion ad. Charged with the production of Missoni’s Fall 2011 campaign, Anger created a short film, called with both vagueness and mystery, Missoni. The advertisement features generations of the Missoni family—Margherita, Jennifer, Angela, Rosita, Ottavio, and Ottavio Jr.—their images overlapping in a sort of haunting family portrait.

Lest we think Anger be tamed by this familiar medium, he infuses the campaign with a healthy dose of creepiness. Dressed in the company’s signature knits, the Missonis stare menacingly at Anger’s lens and preen self-consciously like the Hollywood starlet in his 1949 film, Puce Moment. Occult-ish images of rising suns, bright red flames, and plumes of smoke are superimposed over shots of wringing hands, children playing, and a mysterious recurring star and crescent symbol. An ominous soundtrack, composed by French symphonic composer Koudlam, drones in the background.

And yet, Anger’s film—as any good advertisement must—manages to showcase the product in its own strange way. The overlapped images create a texture evocative of Missoni’s famously colorful patterns. The stars of the show are the beautiful and fresh-faced family members, on whose image the company is founded.

No matter how well it works, there is something strange and slightly off-putting about the collaboration. The man whose movies were destroyed for obscenity by film lab technicians, whose work inspired more vitriol and imitation than almost any other filmmaker, is using his talents to sell luxe Italian knitwear.