Sundance-winning director Ava DuVernay talks about the potent message behind The Door, her new film for Miu Miu, starring Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Adepero Oduye and singer-songwriter Goapele. Watch the short here.

Few fashion brands have as much to say about contemporary womanhood as Miu Miu. Since it was launched by Miuccia Prada in 1993, its seasonal collections have consistently and ingeniously trod the line between girlishness and sophistication, babe-dom and intellectualism, with surprising and thought-provoking results. Though the brand has always sought to expand our conception of femininity in its collections and campaigns, the conversation has become even more animated in the past two years with the launch of Miu Miu’s Women’s Tales – a series of films about women, featuring Miu Miu clothing and masterminded by some of the best female directors in the industry.

Here, Ava DuVernay, the award-winning director of 2012 Sundance hit Middle of Nowhere and the fifth creative to be set loose on the project, explains how her short The Door, featuring the sultry Miu Miu spring 2013 collection, aims to show women in a light not often seen in mainstream cinema:

“The Door is really about friendship and sisterhood. It’s about a woman in turmoil and three different friends who come to her and give her a gift to draw her our of her hard time. Something you don’t see enough in cinema is sisterhood and the friendships that women share, which are very specific and nourishing.

Moves affect the way we see ourselves and the way we’re seen by others, so I think examples of women being together and not being catty or competitive are important – when women get together there is always a little drama, but it doesn’t have to be negative.

‘Feminine and strong’ are words that shouldn’t be antithetical to each other. You can be womanly and have strength and boldness; I’ve always enjoyed that about Miu Miu. Its classic lines have an edge that is feminine yet strong. The label reached out to me after I won the Sundance award for Best Director and invited me to make a film with them: no men allowed, very collaborative and minimal guidelines. We shot everywhere from Malibu to inner-city Inglewood over two days and the Miu Miu clan were all in, rolling up their shirt sleeves and styling the shoot.

Miu Miu was completely open to any women I wanted to cast and I was very clear that I wanted to use a beautiful array of African-American women. If a black woman film director doesn’t include black actresses, then who will? I just love these amazing actresses and they all happen to be black. We’ve got this myth that African-American imagery doesn’t translate well outside the States, and that is something I am decidedly against. I know that with opportunities like this, we can make sure this myth dissolves.”

Words: Zing Tsjeng