Twin Talks: The Versace Baroness by Sarah Baker

05.02.2020 | Art , Blog , Fashion , Literature | BY:

Multimedia artist, entrepreneur and founder of Baroness Magazine Sarah Baker recently teamed up with iconic Italian designer Donatella Versace as guest editor for the second instalment of the magazine. In a photographic storybook shot and curated by Sarah Baker, art directed by Stephen Male and styled with Versace’s collection, the artist tells a tale of glamorous yet tumultuous affairs among five characters as the dominantly females cast is tasked to work together in order to successively overcome blackmail & deceit. The scenery is set by Decor from the Versace Home collection and even served as the brand’s holiday campaign.

Twin sat down with the artist Sarah Baker to discuss inspiration and her process of realizing the issue.

What was the experience like working Donatella Versace as guest editor for BARONESS issue NO.2 ? 

Working with Donatella was amazing. I have admired her for a long time as a business woman and creative director and she has inspired my artwork for many years. Her team is superb and they have been carefully chosen by Donatella to filter the first round of decisions. When Donatella reviewed our progress, she had a fresh perspective on all the options, and I really admired her bold decisions. As an artist, it is a dream to work with an editor who is open to a lot of very outrageous ideas and willing to experiment and take risks.

You opted to go in the untraditional direction by creating a saga around female collaboration as opposed to female rivalry, what inspired this?

I think it’s about time female collaboration is not seen as groundbreaking. We were interested in reinterpreting the character of The Bitch (the title of a Jackie Collins novel that inspired Alexis Carrington). Interestingly, Collins also wrote Lucky, perhaps her most famous character, who is sexy, sassy, brilliant, and in-control. This really personifies the Versace woman, and the strong traits of our lead characters Angelina and the Baroness resonated with Donatella. My work has been about looking at how women are represented in popular media and how a woman might represent herself. As an artist, I am interested in shifting the narrative away from woman as seen from a man’s perspective, to a woman who is very much in control of her own image, and temper, and therefore abandoning Dynasty-style cat fights. Regarding my personal inspiration for female collaboration, I was also thinking about my own very close group of girlfriends—we have supported one another since early childhood.

What was your favourite aspect of the process while fabricating this issue? 

I really enjoyed solving problems with the structure of the narrative. The plot shifted so much from the very beginning, and every time a character was removed or dialogue altered, it had a ripple effect over the whole story. We started with twelve characters and twelve chapters, and due to the reality of shooting schedules and time constraints, we needed to alter the story quite a lot. It was extremely challenging to keep the story alive while maintaining logical conclusions. This problem kept me extremely excited and maybe in the end it was never fully solved, but that contributed to the ridiculousness of the narrative, which made it a little bit more funny. It was reminiscent of the TV show Soap, which is often a point of reference for my work, where the farcical narrative explodes into embellished dialogue. It is true to many fictitious dramas—most Noel Coward plays have the absurd built in—but sometimes life can actually be like that too. Or maybe it’s just my life!

Is there anything you want your viewers to take away or feel from this series? 

Humor is really important. That is another thing that was really great about working with Donatella: she has a great sense of humor. Especially at this current time when it seems like the world might blow up—politically, ecologically. It can feel very overwhelming. I personally find laughter more important than ever right now.

Do you have ideas or clues you can give on what may be in store for the next BARONESS issue? 

Something fabulously sexy and witty, like everything published by Baron and Baroness.

Where can one purchase the book ?

The Baroness is available online at baronmagazine.com.

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