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Saratoga After Dark: Fashion, Film And French Food Bring Cannes To The Spa City

Saratoga Film Forum brings its own version of the famed film festival to the Saratoga Arts Center.

Saratoga Film Forum
Saratoga Film Forum Board President Carol Maxwell, with co-organizers Erin Koener and Monica Bracken. (Cathleen Duffy)

Saratoga area Francophiles didn’t need a plane ticket to enjoy a bit of the Cannes Film Festival in May. Saratoga Film Forum featured its own Cannes Night that same weekend, featuring South-of-France food and wine, fashion, and the new film Dior and I.

The event, held at the Saratoga Arts Center, featured fare à la paysanne from TC Paris and Putnam Market, with wine from the Rhone Valley. Guests first enjoyed a fashion show featuring local designer Kim Vanyo’s ready-to-wear line “Kimism.” Says the designer, “I’ve had a small studio, Khymanyo, on Beekman Street in Saratoga Springs since 1986. I’ve been doing demi-couture and costuming, specializing in dance.”

Vanyo’s new line is but a few years old and still evolving. At first she featured only silk-lined skirts made with natural fibers. “I’m slowly adding more tops in my line of day-to-evening separates, featuring a couple of classic blended-fabric halter-tops.”

Models were dancers on loan from the School of the Arts, trained in cat-walking by James Pentaudi of Albany Talent, and done up by Robyn Otto of Robyn Originals. The skirts on display played with a collage-like mix of metallic silk, A-line shapes, and color blocks. The looks progressed from chic office attire to a more sumptuous evening attitude.

Carol Maxwell, president of the Saratoga Film Forum, said that the evening just fell together. “Dior and I was just released, and the Cannes Film Festival began last night.” Throw in some French food and fashion, et voila! Maxwell was excited about the new lineup of movies: four of the eight were documentaries.

“We don’t usually show that many, but there are so many good ones right now. Monk with a Camera is a documentary about a monk who became a very rich man who threw away everything. It just so happens that he was the grandson of Diana Vreeland, the editor of Vogue magazine. He was brought up in a very style-infused life.

So this week we’re doing Cannes, and next week we’re doing anti-Cannes!”

The Film Forum has also partnered with Northshire Bookstore to fête the release of Harper Lee’s new/old book. On July 13, they will feature the films Hey, Boo! and To Kill a Mockingbird, along with some Southern food. At midnight (the book is released on July 14) guests will leave with a copy of Go Set a Watchman. Maxwell would also have film buffs know that Saturday nights are being added to the schedule, and that the membership policy has been revamped, offering packages for folks of all income ranges and levels of film addiction. Find out more at saratogafilmforum.org.

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