For local photographer and stylist Celine Hacche, Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 masterpiece Blow-Up is more than a sexy thriller. It was one of her first major sources of fashion inspiration. Repeatedly watching the movie on VHS inspired a mod phase -- and an incurable crush on actor David Hemmings, who portrays the film's fashion photographer protagonist who believes he's snapped an image of a murder.
It's merely a coincidence that the film was released the same year the Arizona Costume Institute was founded to support the Phoenix Art Museum's Fashion Design Department. But, because of both, ACI Nouveau, the burgeoning 35-and-younger division of the Arizona Costume Institute (ACI), will host a screening of the stylish, Swinging London-set film on Wednesday at FilmBar.
About three years ago, Hacche co-founded the Nouveau division withCasey Hagarty
, a former intern for the museum's fashion curatorDennita Sewell
. The pair met while working for theArizona Republic
The idea for the younger division of the department's support system stemmed from a desire shared by Hagarty, Hacche, Sewell, and the museum's board to increase younger people's awareness about the fashion program and its events.
Hacche says that the goal is to connect the dots between fashion-focused people in the community. Hagarty notes that includes interacting frequently with members of ACI, who often offer up jaw-dropping stories about dressing Jackie Kennedy, gifted pieces from designers, and rubbing elbows with illustrious characters.
The storytelling goes both ways, though, as the women of ACI take great interest in what fascinates and propels the Nouveau members. "Everyone brings something to the table," Sewell says of how the groups interact with each other, give their input on in-the-works exhibitions, and dream up new things to do.
"Fashion has to do with taste and point of view," Sewell says. "That's why I'm always asking questions, because it's about finding the pulse."
ACI Nouveau hosts an annual fall fundraiser that, in the past, has included movie screenings (such as The September Issue and God Save My Shoes), in addition to shopping, mingling, and educational events.
This fall's soiree will take place on September 29 at 7 p.m., and, while the official details are under wraps, Hacche says there will be a connection to the fall fashion exhibition "Modern Spirit: Fashion of the 1920s."
The money that's raised goes toward sponsoring such exhibitions (Sewell does three per year), acquiring pieces, and maintaining garments. Presently the group is working to purchase new mannequins.
Provided there's a good response to the Blow-Up screening, Hacche says that hosting more film-based events would be ideal. On her list of films she'd like to screen are Performance, Funny Face, and Xanadu. Going forward, Nouveau plans to host an event each month, every other of which is held at the museum, with a focus on expanding membership, which Hacche estimates is currently 15 or 16 people.
"We're here to bring exceptional experiences," Sewell says. "This is one of the most meaningful things, to foster this group's development."
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The screening of Blow-Up takes place Wednesday, July 18. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the film starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $7.
ACI Nouveau membership is $25 per year. For more information about the organization, visit the Arizona Costume Institute's website.