In Fabric, the recent film from writer-director Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio, The Duke of Burgundy), is a phantasmagoric, darkly comic and decidedly kinky tale of a killer dress, the people who end up in its possession, and the creepy staff of the British department store where the item always seems to return. It was released by A24 back in January and here’s a bit of my review:
Strickland’s films have always been a tough sell, but few filmmakers are as delightfully weird, hilariously perverse, and capable of unsettling imagery, all while leaving the viewer saying “Well, I’ve never seen anything like that before.” He also is a giant music nerd who gets bands like Broadcast, Cats Eyes and, here, Tim Gane’s Cavern of Anti-Matter, to score his baroque, kinky, phantasmagoric vision. In Fabric is as Peter Strickland-y as it gets.
The plot is pretty simple. Set in 1993 against the January Sales season in Britain (which is like Black Friday but a month long), it stars Marianne Jean-Baptiste as a recently divorced bank clerk who goes to department store Dentley & Soper’s to buy a new dress for an upcoming date. The number she picks out, whose color is listed as “artery red” in the store catalog, unfortunately turns out to be cursed. Or haunted. Or possessed
In addition to Marianne Jean-Baptiste, the cast includes Gwendoline Christie (Brienne on Game of Thrones), The Mighty Boosh‘s Julian Barratt, former Magazine/Bad Seeds bassist Barry Adamson, and a scene-stealing Fatma Mohamed as the head clerk/witch. If you like Strickland’s other films you’ll definitely like In Fabric and it’s available to rent from most streaming platforms. Watch the trailer below.
In Fabric is also notable for its score, which was composed by Cavern of Anti-Matter, the group led by Stereolab‘s Tim Gane. (As mentioned above, Berberian Sound Studio‘s score was by Broadcast; The Duke of Burgundy‘s by Cat’s Eyes.) It’s a perfect fit, mixing harpsichord with unsettling waves of synthesizers and psych-out sound effects. Says Strickland:
I was a fan of Stereolab and so much of the music I fell in love with was because of their recommendations whenever they were interviewed. Using Steven Stapleton’s music in my first film indirectly came about from first hearing Nurse With Wound on the joint Crumb Duck release with Stereolab. Stereolab were a whole world, what with their championing of other bands through their Duophonic label. After meeting Tim and talking about film it made complete sense to ask him if he would do something. That was unusual in that I didn’t have any specific project in mind. Tim sent me some very long demos to help me write, he implicitly understood that longer tracks are more conducive to writing. Elements of some of those demos worked their way into In Fabric. It was a luxury to work that way, usually, musicians are only approached after writing.
Cavern of Anti-Matter have just suprise released the whole In Fabric score today on all streaming platforms and, as with most things Tim Gane does, the vinyl package is elaborate. The limited edition three-disc set features a gorgeous Julian House designed sleeve and the first 1500 copies come in a special hand-stamped paper bag. Order yours now and stream the In Fabric OST below.