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The atelier aspect of the film was incredibly important to Tcheng for several reasons. He had already experienced characters of an atelier through working on the Valentino documentary and knew there would be compelling stories to tell here. “Fashion is an image driven culture which sometimes obliterate a certain amount of reality in order to prop up someone or something. It tends to simplify a lot of things. I was interested in paying homage to the people who work in the shadows. It comes from my experience of working on other people’s films. The creative process is very intense and personal. Even if you’re not the main attraction or the creative director, it’s a team effort. In a film at least you have credits at the end. In fashion, there are no credits. It’s just the one designer coming out at the end of the runway.”
One other significant person in the shadows was Pieter Mulier, Simons’ trusted right hand man, who emerged as something of a Grace Coddington-esque character a la September Issue. His ability to speak French aided the communication between atelier and Simons and so he became something of a charismatic mediator. Florence has a particular soft spot for him. Significantly at the recent ready to wear show, Simons took his bow with Mulier by his side. It felt like an acknowledgement as a result of the film. “I think they’re very complimentary,” said Tcheng on the partnership. “Raf is very focused and sometimes,he comes across as withdrawn because he’s in this extreme concentration space. That allows Pieter to be more external. You have to have both of these roles.”
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