Curated by Highsnobiety and presented during the time period formerly known as Paris Men’s Fashion Week, “Not In Paris 2” is our second in a series of bi-annual digital exhibitions celebrating creativity in the age of remote interactions. Head here for the full series and cop our new merch via our online store.
In typical showbiz fashion, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode decreed that the forthcoming Parisian menswear fashion shows must go on... even if it’s without physical guests. But these guests can rely on at least one hot ticket: Martine Rose has invited them from all over the world to visit her digital housing block.
Rose obliterates all the digital fashion presentation rules with “What We Do All Day,” an experience with the primary goal of creating a platform documenting everyday life in these wild times. “Lockdown forced everyone to think in different ways. I had more of a sense to reach out to people and beyond my own experience. It encouraged and inspired me to try and connect with people in a new way,” she explains.
The British designer (who is known for her subversive take on streetwear, fearless use of tongue-in-cheek humor, and bootleg typography) asks tough questions regarding our life post-pandemic. Shedding light on digital delirium and endless longing, Rose offers the viewers an exclusive look into other people’s current circumstances, which almost metaphorically becomes a mirror of our own reality; normal people in lockdown, only these people are dressed in the latest collection by Martine Rose. “I want people to walk away thinking people are wonderful, that they’re funny and warm and mad and, importantly, that everyone is also the same. I want people to feel connected, not separate. From isolation to togetherness,” she says.
Comprised of 24 personal films presented in real-time — in different time zones from all over the world — the project creates a portrait of the present in its simulated housing block. “I enjoyed the process and challenges of creating something digital, which had the textures and warmth of a physical show. You can’t hope to replace the sense of togetherness a physical show brings. There’s no substitute for being in the same room as people and there will always be a time and a place for that,” she explains.
“I wanted to create an environment that everyone could inhabit,” Rose continues. “The housing block is a metaphor for a global community. We’re all in this space, living together. This sense of life is the housing block.”
“What We Do All Day” couldn’t have been done without the help of International Magic, the design studio whose clients range from 032c to FKA twigs. “This was a unique project, for sure. We have experience working with the technology which drives the presentation, but we had never built a complete production before. There were many new workflows to master and a lot of trial and error,” says Adam Rodgers, the studio’s creative director.
“Each of the characters tells a very particular story and through their mundane idiosyncrasies, the audience can develop a connection with them, their environment, and their context. These aren't actors. These are real people, from across the world,” adds creative producer Ben McKinnon.
One particular “resident” in the Martine Rose building was none other than Drake. However, casting director Isabel Bush clarified that this is not a proper Drake performance: “Drake and Martine have been longtime fans of each other, so this was such a perfect opportunity to make that connection on a bigger scale. Usually we look for very unknown characters, however, the beauty in this was how humanizing the project could be. We could capture a feeling of intimacy because of the voyeuristic nature of entering each person's space. So it was less of a performance of ‘Drake,’ and more of a connection to him as an artist and a person.”
In contrast to digital presentations from last year’s fashion cycle, “What We Do All Day” will not be living in the cloud for years to come. “I wanted to create a moment in time that doesn’t live on forever, because they don’t,” says Rose. “I wanted people to be there and show up as you would for a physical show, a community watching together. The main goal was for people to come away with a sense of togetherness.”