Ben Oliver

Now
In
film

In Fabric

The hesitation in your voice, soon to be an echo in the recess in the spheres of retail.
25 May 2020

A red dress harasses and attacks its various owners.

Retro-modern surrealism pulling from the likes of Buñuel and Dario Argento, set in a British department store. As weird and wonderful and one might expect, but a good deal funnier.

Central to the film is an overt, playful, take-down of consumerism. In Fabric takes place in a world obsessed with sales, discounts, coupons and deals. Strickland takes the flowery, vapid language of department stores and amps it up to a point where it almost sounds profound. The sales people talk like sages, luring customers in with irresistible truths about their lives.

Strickland’s visuals are striking, beautiful, shocking and memorable. The dress moves around like a flame, consuming and destroying everything it touches (or just giving you a nasty rash…). The department store is a parallel universe, barely one degree removed from reality, close enough to touch it, weird enough that you wouldn’t want to.

For reasons I can’t quite pin down, In Fabric left me a little cold. However, it’s a thoroughly original and provocative fever dream with a dry sense of humour that endeared itself to me. Not for the faint of heart, but otherwise very much worth a look.