Isaac Lock: You Will Be With Us In Paradise

  • Film by  Isaac Lock
  • Words  Max Barnett

Earlier this week, I sat down at the premiere of a film narrating the relaunch of the previously defunct ‘70s super label, Fiorucci by Isaac Lock. This feature follows British couple, Janie and Stephen Schaffer, in a selection of moments ranging from tense to hilarious, in the lead up the grand opening of the new Fiorucci flagship on Soho’s Brewer Street.
Parts of the feature explore a historical look into a brand with a rich and electrifying past; a brand that most millennials today have no memory of, despite knowing well the names of regular Fiorucci collaborators Andy Warhol, Kieth Haring, and Madonna. The archive footage supporting the main narrative of the film is a huge highlight for me, being someone with a thirst for delving into the recent cultural past, with hopes to understand how creative movements have affected and shaped the way we live now. I felt this added a valuable and necessary insight into Fiorucci for the viewers to engage with.
Moments in the film touch on the Schaffer’s consciousness of their age and lack of self-professed links to high fashion and current youth culture. This was apparent at times, and as a viewer you are invited to indulge in their stiflingly candid moments of unawareness, exposing what feels like a clear gap in generational thought and behaviour. However, many of these moments were met with appreciation from the audience. These sections of footage were undeniably relatable, a warm reminder of our parents’ generation, encouraging a feeling that we are all muddling through the same confusions, albeit at different stages in life with clearly different approaches.

Highlights of the film feature explosive fragments from practice sessions with the Theo Adams Company, who had been hired to curate a theatrical experience for the launch night. This notably more exciting footage balanced well with the more traditionally shot moments documenting the Schaffers, and interviewees such as Diane Von Furstenburg, Oliviero Toscani, and Pat Cleveland, each giving first-hand accounts on the story of Fiorucci.

Musically, Lock made some brilliant choices, at times the sound was overwhelmingly loud, paralleling the shockwaves of tension people involved must have felt in the run-up to the big day. Clearly he has a great understanding of the power of music in film making.

It must be said, it was a luxury to watch this premiere and experience a live Q&A with the Schaffers and Director Isaac Lock immediately after. This Q&A helped me to empathise with the Schaffers, giving them a chance to reconcile the more coarse moments featured. They should be commended for allowing a warts and all exposé to be made during such a high-pressure time. This is a luxury that subsequent audiences will not have when watching this film, so I feel it is only fair to praise the Schaffers for being a part of something that not only shows the reality of what it takes to make a big project work but also for allowing us to see them as relatable and imperfect, like the rest of us.

This film had me in fits of laughter, and moments where I could barely watch for feeling awkward and uncomfortable, cue the angry builders, in a very realistic portrayal of the madness in the run-up to the opening night. Certainly, one to watch, if you are interested to do so, head over to Nowness to see the full movie.