For their 2013 resort collection, Kenzo were inspired by all that purrs, slithers and goes rumble in the Jungle. Now these exotic and animal-inspired garments are brought to life through the world of film and animation, with the help of renowned director and visual artist Mat Maitland.
Collaborating with exciting young filmmakers smith&read and animator Natalia Stuyk, Maitland has created a psychedelic world aptly named ‘Electric Jungle’ – a model boldly exploring her way through an exotic dreamland, where the clothes she wears camouflage her perfectly against a flashing neon backdrop of pink leopards, parrots, snakes and tropical plant life. Watch and be mesmerized. i-D Online caught up with the film’s creators to find out more…
How did you come up with the concept for ‘Electric Jungle’?
Mat Maitland: Kenzo’s resort collection was based on the jungle; although a heightened version of it. With this in mind we devised a loose narrative of the Kenzo girl inhabiting a surreal neon-lit jungle, walking through different worlds as though experienced through a lucid dream, where nothing seems to make sense, all approached through the eye of my collage work.
How did the collaboration with Kenzo come about?
Mat Maitland: Kenzo initially approached me via my illustrative work and were interested in whether I could produce a film with a similar aesthetic. I had worked with Dan on a music project and a fashion editorial and knew he worked on film projects with Chris as Smith & Read. Knowing their work I felt they would be perfect to work with on the fashion/filming side of things. I’d wanted to work with Natalia for a while having seen her Roses Gabor video so this was a great opportunity to do that. I think it was exciting for all of us to try something collaborative and new.
Working with animation was a different approach for you. Tell us more about the creative and technical processes involved…
smith&read: For us it was about capturing footage that gave us a lot of options in the edit as well as being easy for Natalia to work with. Initially it was about getting into a new creative headspace where we had to envisage where animated elements would be and how the model may have to interact with them. It was new for us to shoot on a green screen and also using a green screen treadmill for the walking shots. We then set about producing an edit for Natalia and Mat to work with.
Natalia Stuyk: From there, Mat and I started the long process of bringing the world of his collages to life using this green screen edit as a skeleton for the animation to flesh out.
Fashion Films are increasingly becoming the visual tool of choice for many brands. How do you see its future in the industry?
smith&read: People used to talk of film vs stills as if there was some kind of battle going on where only one would remain. The use of film is expanding massively and we think they are being viewed as equals more than ever. There are pros and cons to both stills and film but the real strength is when brands combine them. The story/mood telling of film sits perfectly along side stills campaigns and lookbooks to give a complete picture of the collection. We think it’s a formula that works and will be the default for a long time.