NOWNESS: The Stendhal Syndrome

Helen Rödel beaded garment behind the scenes.

Helen Rödel beaded garment behind the scenes.

The Beauty of Florence is the Backdrop to the Fashion Destination’s First Shoppable Short

A cultural excursion takes a feverish turn in The Stendhal Syndrome, a motion-touch, shoppable fashion film by director Clara Cullen for LUISAVIAROMA.COM. Inspired by the sublime beauty of the Florence’s artworks, dancer Chiara Afilani erupts in movement through a series of historic locations, from Studio Galleria Romanelli, one of the oldest sculpture studios in Europe, to the fresco-lined duomo of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. The innovative short is inspired by the phenomenon of ‘Stendhal Syndrome,’ a psychosomatic disorder first identified by the eponymous 19th-century French author, who posited that an experience of great beauty could cause bouts of disorientation and hallucination. “When I first heard of the Stendhal Syndrome, I found myself comparing this feeling to the fashion weeks where I see so many shows and so much talent in such a condensed period of time,” says stylist and creative director Carmel Imelda Walsh. “The handcrafts, designs and concepts are all so unique to the world of each designer.” The whirling short is soundtracked by an original score from Alabama-born composer and visual artist Sahra Motalebi, whose shamanistic vocal compositions have seen performances at MoMA/PS1 and New Museum of Contemporary Art. The pioneering platform was an early adopter of online shopping possibilities when it launched its website in 1999, and here showcases its first interactive fashion film. Featuring garments from burgeoning London talent J.W. Anderson and fashion aristocrat Delfina Delettrez to long-standing staples Maison Martin Margiela, Jil Sander and Alexander McQueen, the retailer prides itself on making the work of both established and emerging designers available worldwide. “Art and fashion have always been closely linked,” says Walsh. “Even in earlier times, textile merchants commissioned paintings in churches to advertize their fabrics.”