LA-based designers Wolk Morais were in New York (their old stomping ground) last week to debut their gender fluid Spring/Summer 2022 collection through their short film Grand Gestures. The designers tapped into their creative pool of talent such as stylist Elizabeth Stewart (who once again styled the collection), Lydia Hearst, Katrina Spencer, Todd Gordon, and others to perform in a modern adaption of the “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy from Hamlet.
The creative team [noted cinematographer/photographer Fiorella Occhipinti] shot the vignettes of the film’s subjects in slow motion with a Phantom Camera on a soundstage in Hollywood. The film was also inspired also by the Jumping Photographs of Phillippe Halsman. The result is one of the most original digital show presentations we’ve seen.
“As designers we are always interested in story telling with our collection,” Brian Wolk alongside partner Claude Morais told The Daily via Zoom. “The idea that we were able to use these vintage fabrics that have such amazing prominences added another layer to the storytelling. The film and the collection were inspired by [the quote] ‘To Be Or Not To Be.’ When we first started designing the collection, we thought this was going to be our Roaring Twenties collection. It was interesting as we designed that we quickly realized this is not going to be the Roaring Twenties quite as we had hoped it would be. We started thinking a lot about theatre and we watched Romeo & Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and started thinking a lot about Shakespeare. We always like to have a theatrical backbone to our work. We kept asking ourselves to be or not to be. What is happening? When we made the film we interviewed our cast and asked them questions about to be or not to be. We asked what they want to be and what they don’t want to be. It was this idea of bringing this ancient text to modernity and understanding what it still stands for. ”
The collection includes 26 looks with textiles from vintage, archival, found, or upcycled fabrics. “We resourced everything in Los Angeles through various Hollywood dealers.” Wolk says. “We went to costume shops and attics to find fabrics. Every fabric we found has a story. They range from the 1940s to the 1990s like a powder washed denim.” Their 10th collection pays homage to their filmic inspiration ranging from black and white sequins, ultra-suede and cashmere to technicolor satins, moires, and denim. A collection To Be!
The film had its European Premiere on Sunday at the London Fashion Film Festival, where the designers took home the top prize of “Best Fashion Film” last year. Watch Grand Gestures here!
Click HERE to see the full collection.