With the rise and importance behind social media, namely Snapchat and Instagram it’s something that is forever in the back of designers minds when showing at fashion week. They need to create an event which showcases the designs but also reflects the brand. Something which I feel Alice McCall did in the most magnificent way possible. She hosted a dinner and installation that was most definitely curated through a social media perspective.
Instead of your typical fashion week runway event, Alice truly captivated her audience this year by hosting an incredibly engaging and exciting installation. She pretty much created a live editorial shoot whereby photographers and guests could take images in perfectly lit and carefully curated sets which were placed around the room. Each set reflecting a different decade and respective style.
“Being a stylist for 10 years I understand editorial and stories, I understand that world and get excited by that. So I really wanted to create my own. I mean I’ve created these sets myself, my vision, every single bit is my vision. I’ve been running around madly finding props even just a few hours ago.”
So why choose an instalment instead of the runway? Obviously it’s to create an experience but what else?
I really wanted to do something different, I wanted to create beautiful imagery that wasn’t just beautiful girls walking down the runway. I wanted to create a world that was evocative and ambient and I wanted to be in control of that.
What was the idea or the concept behind tonight?
The brand is playful but it’s not so much about one decade and that’s why consciously I’ve set up a set as you can see a bit more Beyond The Valley, late 50’s, Bond meets 1970’s Moroccan decadents, another set more, “1950’s house wife on acid”. It’s all about having fun but creating really good content for social media. Imagery is really important. It’s a little bit voyeuristic. I’m thinking a lot about the movie Blow-Up, about the set and experience which takes you the behind the scenes, it’s theatre.
So did you choose the models yourself or did you do it in conjunction with your team?
Yes, so I did all the casting myself and the styling myself,
Did you have a brief you were following with the models; did you have a distinct look you wanted?
I was on the phone a lot, and I mean yes. As you can see, I’ve found my Jane Birkin and my Grace jones.
Have you got any international girls here?
International or not, I mean I’m sure there are one or two, but for me It’s more girls that can act and that can be comfortable within a role, and look beautiful while doing it.
Each of these sets is like stepping into another world, almost a Trueman Show vibe, it really pulls you in. The girls could really be from the decades depicted in each set.
That’s exactly it. We’ve got a little studio 64 right there and we chose all the props within the sets to do exactly that, to take the viewer into that world.
So with the girls, how long is the show process from A-B, start to finish? Obviously it’s not a typical runway show with girls walking one lap and then changing and going again, so how are you going to showcase your entire collection?
I have a very mathematical head, so in my mind I had 10 girls so that meant 6 looks per girl. And all up 60 looks. And over the course of the night I’ll be changing them every 15minutes or so, that way it allows content to roll through the three hours. Everything can keep updating and become a performance rather than a 12-minute show.
That’s fine planning right there!
Now we had Bella Hadid in the country this week and in terms of models, do you ever look for a name when you cast?
No I’m not about that, I don’t tend to follow trends with design, I’m intuitive, I like to meet people and I’ve always run like that.
So a name doesn’t phase you?
Not at all, and if you’ve got a big name girl in your show and she’s fabulous, great, but I’m not going to chase someone for the sake of a name. I believe in fate and I believe in serendipity. And if I put the energy out there I know I’ll receive it back through the people I meet – I’m pretty spiritual like that.
That’s such a great attitude to have.
And lastly, you’ve showed overseas before, but how do you manage the different hemispheres and seasons when designing a collection? Obviously it’s been made a bit easier this year with MBFWA being resort but how do you design a collection with these factors in mind?
Resort is always an easy collection and for us it’s about party time. We’re gearing up for Christmas time, races in Australia, girls traveling and summer overseas.
We’ve just picked up liberties in London, we’ve got Sacks on 5th avenue – all transitional and trans-seasonal. But in terms of designing a collection, I’ll design the body of it that is 80% trans-seasonal and then I’m also very mindful of cold and warm climates which give the buyers a bit more of an option and room to move.
I love the balance between left and right brain, creativity and parameters. I’ve had my business for 12 years and I’ve learnt it’s all about balance.
Photographer: Brooke James – @brooketjames