Fashion film has become the creative brand’s latest method of communication. This new medium is heralded by established and underground design houses alike. London Fashion Week has become a film festival of sorts, and this week one brand in search of alternative ways to showcase their Autumn/Winter 13 collections introduced an integrated fashion film and image project. McQ’s creative team collaborated with photographer Roger Deckker to devise a mood image series and a film to capture the brand’s youthful aesthetic, rebellious nature and street-inspired heritage.
The film takes inspiration from twentieth-century avant-garde Czechoslovakian and post-war Italian cinema but is set in modern London. Comprised of a series of unlinked vignettes, featuring models Maria Bradley and Botond Cseke, the short is both climactic and ethereal.
If you didn’t have one already, October 31st is a singular excuse for embracing your dark side; whether you’ve kohled your eyes up to the nines or simply put on your favourite moody stare. And no other label has the haute goth look all tied up more than Alexander McQueen.
Tonight the Dover Street McQ store is opening its doors to all spirits to enter and celebrate Halloween McQ style. For those who preregister before the event, there’s a treat of 20 per cent discount. Not a bad trick eh?
McQ Dover Street flagship store 5pm – 8pm. Sign up here.
It’s been two years since Sarah Burton was appointed creative director of Alexander McQueen. Since then, her success at the label has been nothing short of a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Following the tragic and sudden loss of Lee McQueen, his design assistant for over 14 years was immediately thrust into the large gap that the English enfant terrible of fashion had left. Aside from the mourning of such a close friend, the expectations on Burton to continue his legacy were another heavy burden for the Manchester-born designer to carry.
But rather than crumble under the pressure, she excelled. From the delicate, earth motherly collection for Spring/Summer 2011 with which she made her debut to the futuristically astounding designs for this season, Burton has stepped out of the shadow of Lee McQueen to become a distinguishable design talent in her own right. Here is a woman who unarguably embeds the label’s DNA into every piece, but has considerably lightened up the overall feel of every collection from the at times dark and tortured soul that we knew and loved about the late designer’s collections to something softer, but equally breathtaking.
There is not just her accomplishments at the main line label to praise: having debuted the brand’s diffusion line McQ on the runway in a military and forest-inspired show this London Fashion Week, as well as establishing its first standalone boutique in the capital, Burton isn’t just continuing the brand founded by her mentor, she is reviving it. Managing to guide the label from a desolate tragedy into a bright future, it’s safe to say that Lee McQueen wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
McQ showed on the catwalk at for the first time in its six year history in what was a powerful assertion of the label’s place within Alexander McQueen’s legacy. All the McQueen DNA was present at McQ’s A/W12 show at The Sorting Office High Holborn, but simply delivered in a more compact and accessible package.
Taking a stripped back wartime aesthetic as her starting point, with felted wool and tan and hunter green tailoring, Sarah Burton weaved a collection that was in parts army surplus and in others Black Watch. To finish were beautiful tulle and applique dresses reminiscent of the luxury and excess of Dior’s New Look – modelled by Kristen McMenamy with a gothic twist.
This was a collection of retro-romanticism rendered in rich fabrics and dark tones, proving the almost impossible, that a diffusion range can still be luxurious and beautifully tailored – prepare to see more McQ everyday.
Irish photographer and filmmaker Niall O’Brien is fascinated with youths on the edge of society. His GoodRats series, the result of following a group of young South London punks across Europe, was a stand-out story from Twin‘s debut issue. Having shot for McQ and Nike, for his latest video project, Anger, he turned to the subject of youthful rage.
Twin spoke to O’Brien about the project.
Why did you chose to make a film about anger?
It was originally part of a commission that fell through. I was given an emotion and the idea of angry kids appealed to me and fascinated me. Temper tantrums are almost in everyone’s breaking point and I think it can come out easier in youth. I know I was a bit of a shit when younger. Recreating it was almost a salute to the way we once were, or still are as the case may be.
Where and when did you shoot the film?
I shot Anger a year ago. It was shot in an estate below my flat in Tower Hamlets. I’d been looking at it for over a year, so when the project came up it was a perfect location.
How does your film work fit with your photography?
I don’t know really, I try to keep the two separate and use it as an opportunity to collaborate. I’m confident in my photography and in my film there is still room for learning.
I’ve been shooting films for four years now and I’m still looking for my voice, I only found what I felt comfortable sticking with in photography about 12 years after I picked up a camera. I love it and have a great crew but I don’t want to be employed to shoot a film because of my photography. I want to be chosen because of my films. But… it all comes from the same person so it must relate somehow.
When and why did you start taking photographs?
I used to be involved with the skateboard industry in Ireland and started taking pictures of my friends. A few magazines and board companies started commissioning me and buying my photos so I decided to study it. I thought I was going to further sports photography, but I ended up doing fine art.
What draws you to documenting the adolescent sub-cultures you’ve photographed?
Reliving my youth I think. Being a kid was a very important time for me. The boy I was then and my friends needed to be documented, but I never had a camera. Some mental stuff went on as a boy, so when I met the punk kids it was the perfect opportunity to recapture it and in many ways relive it. It took me two years to feel like part of the group and when I did, I got a kick out of it. It is a rare opportunity and an almost VIP ticket into the lives of an amazing bunch of lads.
How do you build trust with your subjects?
Getting arrested to protect them helped (for Good Rats), but I think becoming one of them is important. If I approached them with questions and with a mature way I’d be told to fuck right off. It’s easy enough for me as I’m a bit of a kid at heart and don’t mind going there.
Who are your creative influences, photographically and otherwise?
I’m influenced by people who have drive and get stuff done. No matter what they do so long as they put their heart and soul into it and most of all stick to their guns. There is a risk of losing what you have by watching other people too much. Keep the blinkers on, move yourself forward and don’t worry about the other person.
What would you do if you weren’t a photographer?
I’d be a painter decorator.
Last summer, Twin contributor Niall O’Brien drove 6,000 miles across the American Northwest to shoot the McQ SS/11 campaign. Along with a small team of intrepid fashion road-trippers, they beat it up the coast of California into Washington State, Montana and Idaho, stopping off whenever the mood took them to shoot the collection along the way.
“When we stopped, it was usually at rivers and small towns where we’d end up hanging out with kids and locals, drinking beers, swimming, exploring and having fun,” says Niall.
The result is a fashion travelogue that is both an ode to young Americans. Be sure to keep an eye on the McQ website over the coming days as more images from the road trip appear on their Tumblr.