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Mercedes-Benz continues on their Style Profiles series with two new forward-thinking fashion films, dubbed the “Style Battles.”

Continuing on their Style Profiles series, Mercedes-Benz has teamed up with the British Fashion Council on two new episodes titled “Style Battles,” in which two different fashion films battle it out. To even out the playing field, the Style Battles take two talents from a similar industry, and pair them with the same director, Ace Norton, and stylist Sara Sensoy, to produce two very takes on the same theme – sports performance.

Kicking things off is “The Kid” starring BMX rider Dennis Enarson in the titular role. Playing on the athlete’s California look, the video is reminiscent of the Hollywood film industry, as Enarson’s career is relegated to doing cereal commercials until a mysterious kid motivates him to find his inner champion for a real second chance.

Competing head to head with “The Kid” is “The Spot,” starring Team USA Taekwondo Olympian Paige McPherson. Once again playing on a California aesthetic, McPherson finds herself in a battle with a group of valley girls over a parking spot. Using her champion skills to beat them out for the parking space, a final twist changes everything.

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We sat down with director Ace Norton to find out a little about his inspiration for the  forward-thinking film concepts.

You’ve gone from animation and more conceptual work for Coca-Cola and Dolby Studios to dark comedy when it comes to fashion. What about fashion inspires a dark sense of humor for you?

I grew up watching a lot of horror and science fiction movies as a kid.  My very first theater experience was The Poltergeist.  My crazy grandfather showed me Reanimator when I was 10 years old.  Godzilla was my “sick day” movie. I’m probably de-sensitized but whatever it is, I don’t take a lot of the darkness at face value – to me it’s funny.  Most fashion films are so serious all the time – the characters, the tone, everything. They’re like Z00lander parodies of themselves. So for me, it’s fun to inject a little levity into them.

We were really wondering if the little girl in “The Kid” is actually an alien, is that open to interpretation?

Maybe some sort of little demon or mini extraterrestrial or older man or maybe she’s just a cute little girl. Yup, you make the call.

Being a filmmaker who obviously cares for cinematic qualities, what is your view on the whole cinematography vs. narrative debate in fashion films? “The Spot” is a perfect example of how fashion film has removed itself from the pure visual “dancing models with dramatic music” era. The fashion element is so much more implicit here. Would you agree it’s kind of over?

I look at the fashion film sort of like a short film, but with fancy clothes. I think the fashion film is evolving in the same way music videos did in the ’90s.   For a while music videos were simply performance videos – and then they evolved into these groundbreaking, innovative ways of storytelling with crazy visuals and mind blowing camera techniques. I think the fashion film is evolving in the same way – its becoming less “slow-motion fabric shots on a white cyc,” and becoming more of this experimental, out of the box type of story telling medium.

To find out more about Mercedes-Benz’s fashion commitment and previous fashion films, head to Mercedes Benz. Also check out Ace Norton and the British Fashion Council.
Photography: Jonpaul Douglass
Words by Marta Sundac
Contributor
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