We recently caught up with Friedrich Gray’s Ben Pollitt along with photographer, director, collaborator, and friend Tim Richardson. We discussed their collaborative work, the SS 2010/11 Friedrich Gray collection, and what went into presenting tonight’s show for Australian Fashion Week.
Ben Pollitt: The inspiration for the collection comes from Richard Serra and Banks Violet, these are two artists that Tim introduced me to. After showing Tim the collection and the inspiration images, he went away and came up with some ideas for the runway, and I liked the concepts.
Tim Richardson: We considered what we could do with the space that gives the show some kind of unique quality. I started talking about doing something that was architectonic or sculptural. I tend to work within a balance of the creative dynamic of what I can bring to it, and what Ben can bring to it. Then we talk about how and what we can actually afford to execute.
Question: How did the sculptural piece for the show come about?
Tim: This piece came about because I was looking at a lot of art in New York that I was really interested in that has a basis in music. Ben and I play music as a kind of inspiration … that’s one thing we have in common creatively as a starting point. I wanted to do something that was physical and had a presence in a room, but had a function as well. Because it’s all mirrored, it will be a beautiful amplification of what’s going on with the fashion. This being two-sided, it’s really nice, because as the girls walk through it, they will be multiplied. By choosing this medium, we are trying to make the most of the event and something for people to remember it by.
Ben: When the sculpture was in 3D, Tim tested how the light would reflect and refract from it. This where the name for the collection comes from, Refraction. When the models exit through the installation, the light refracts from the mirrors and shows you all the different sides of the garments.
Sculptural piece for the runway, under construction
Question: So how did you both come to work together originally?
Tim: I’ve known Ben since about 2004 before he had a label. He was recently out of school and changing careers. I moved to New York and he came and stayed with some other friends for a few months. We have a similar taste in music, and a lot of our references are musical. It’s very organic, the exchange. I think for me the reward is really simple, it’s being able to make projects on a situation-by-situation basis. It’s not like a traditional brand where you have a set campaign every year where you can afford to buy advertising space in magazines and you’re doing print. You’re really trying to take whatever medium you can get, and get the most out of it for the designer.
For me, it’s to find something that’s unique and interesting aesthetically. It has to be a balance of all those things. I work with a lot of big brands where you have a lot of money to spend, but it’s a very politicized situation. With Ben, I deal with the creative person, the marketing person, and the person who cares most about the brand all at the same time without having to wrestle with the dynamic of a big boardroom of people where you have to prove things all the time. Instead, it’s a one-on-one agreement.
Ben: We’ve known each other for 5 or 6 years, and this is the second project we’ve worked on together. Tim is also helping me with the lighting because he’s a photographer, that’s his profession. I trust Tim’s vision and how he works, so I let him look after those elements and he always comes back with something that’s incredible.
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