So – why is it that I organized 30 people to pull off my OAK COUTURE project, instead of just doing it all myself, in my ‘true’ own vision?
Well, honestly, there were logistics. My initial vision was millions of pieces of fabric tied to the ends of branches, truly replicating the idea of “foilage”. But, for me to do that on my own would’ve taken months, & perhaps a dose of insanity! For me to hire people to do it all at once would’ve required a bigger budget, & probably at least 30 people.
I have to admit, the real catalyst of the collaboration approach was a phone call I had with Porky Hefer of Animal Farm. I told him about the project, & he immediately said he’d “love a tree”. I asked him if he’d also “love to make a dress” to match the tree. He said, no, rather bring someone in who knows how to make a dress, but make it a true collaboration. Ok – I liked this idea! It was similar to that of the GRAND DADDY & DADDYLONGLEGS hotels (in Cape Town), where they got all different kinds of artists in to decorate & paint the rooms via their own artistic expression.
And, so the collaboration was born. We had tree dressers from all ends of the spectrum (aka, architects to pastry chefs) & fashion designers (also ranging from classic fashion to costume designers). Additionally throwing in make-up artists & models to match each tree created the full teams. Overall Conceptualist (moi). Trees. Fabric. Tree Dressers. Fashion Designers. Make-up Artists. Models. Photographer. Each adding a layer of their own to the final visual.
To make it even more intriguing, I went for the full gammut of the “mixing bowl”. I threw emerging to established tree dressers in with make-up artists & designers, shook up the pot, & just let them all go on their way to see what they would create.
As you might imagine, the architects began the project a couple days in advance, doing precedent studies, taking into consideration any other similar installations, taking thorough & accurate reviews of the site & it’s context, etc. They had sketches & theories behind their design to boot. Others met the day before in their teams, confessing they were truly a bit intimidated by each other, realizing a giant sigh of relief upon the fact that they were really all just humans, equally a bit nervous regarding what their part in the project would be. As it turns out, they completely inspired one another, & seem to have plans to continue collaborating in other ways. Other groups simply came that day, and figured out their plan of attack as it went along.
As I heard people discussing “collaboratin” throughout the day, & how lovely it can be, we were also all reminded of the “risk factor”. You have no control of the final outcome. You don’t even necessarily have control of the “pass of the baton”. Though you can explain your inent to the person who picks things up after you, you have no final say on their perspective, especially the kind of collaboration we did here – a quick one. We didn’t spend days & hours discussing and reviewing amongst each other. We had a slot of time. We did our thing. We passed it on to the next in line.
This all reminded me of travelling a bit. You’re in Milan. You’re supposed to make the 6:00pm train to Paris. Somehow, you get there at 6:02, & end up in Madrid, which is the way it was all meant to work out anyway, for whatever reason.
It’s a roll of the dice, & often (I believe) where the unexpected magic happens. Keep your eyes peeled on our OAK COUTURE collaboration unveiling!