fashion | 18 April 2018
To wear Rosie Murdoch’s collection is a bodily experience. An expression of the inside and outside. The question of public and private. You are the body, you are the garment, the garment is your body, the body is your garment. Using her self-taught skills and with the support of photographer Megan Alexander she managed to create, shoot and present a five look collection within two short weeks.
words: tyla stevenson
photographs: megan alexander
The following section consists of photographs from the initial shoot that show a collective of feminine limbs and flesh against the hillside of the Wellington coast, Makara. As well as photographs and footage from the night of the more theatrical presentation at Club 121.
We got to catch up with fashion designer Rosie Murdoch and photographer Megan Alexander to talk about their collaboration, process of this project and it’s broader underlying political elements, from concept to presentation.
"You are the body, you are the garment, the garment is your body, the body is your garment."
The body was a prominent feature and point of inspiration throughout this collection, Rosie explains, "An ageing naked body is just so beautiful. I wanted to take the idea of the body away from the tiny nuanced differences that we all obsess over and make them even more prominent. I would usually make something that goes on the body, a shell that you could just step into. But this was more about how the body might influence the clothes. I used breasts and bums, instead of covering them, it was exciting to use those shapes I’ve never really involved before. The relationship between the body and these clothes are inherent due to the way the clothes change depending on who wears them. It can be quite liberating to be able to step out of your body, and wear a more exaggerated version of yourself."
Cream bandanas, singular pearl earrings and rosy cheeks were consistent among the models. This uniformed styling imagined these women as a type of collective or family. Meg explains, "Using the styling and imagery we wanted to build on our pre-existing friendships and ultimately present a sort of sisterhood."
Rosie: "Yeah, the feeling of the images ended up being very warm, and that translates to a type of sisterhood, or closeness, but it’s not necessarily happy or joyful. It’s more of a real closeness that the girls have already. It wouldn’t have been the same if I didn’t know everyone involved. Meg is so skilled at making people feel good in front of the camera as well as giving them clear instructions. The models were being so supported in how to be, even some of the more difficult poses came out well because there was that sense of ease."
To juxtapose the coy feeling these women manifest, one shirt stood out as blatant political commentary, Rosie clarifies, "The top says “Fuck National’ and on the underside “Educate Yourself” so you can wear it in a bunch of different ways. You could wear it “Fuck National”, “Educate Yourself” or “Fuck Yourself”, “Educate, National”. I think it’s probably the less controversial thing that is in the collection for me, or it doesn’t seem controversial when you are surrounded by people that think in the same way.
I don’t think the slogan tee shirt as an obvious and only sign of politics because fashion is inherently political no matter what. I understand that slogan tee shirts in fashion can feel disingenuous, but sometimes you want to be able to wear something that is more representative and it’s nice to be able to wear your message on your sleeve. I follow and have a great interest in politics, but it’s hard to find the words and sometimes all you can say is just, fuck."
“Fuck National”, “Educate Yourself” or “Fuck Yourself”, “Educate, National”
Rosie and Meg were both captivated by each other’s previous work, so to collaborate on a project together was a natural development. Their strong creative relationship and friendship is evident in the quality of work they produce together. There have been many respected creative collaborations in the fashion world between designer and photographer, and this is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Rosie: "There was an urgency to getting this work out there because I was moving overseas and Meg was the person that convinced me that making a 5/6 look collection in 10 days was a good idea, when no one else thought so. It definitely wouldn’t have looked the way it did without Meg. The shoot for example, Meg had planned for a completely different shoot, but when the weather wasn’t working with us she took complete control. I just stood back, and she made everybody feel so at ease. It helps that she has a very methodical way of working."
Megan: "I gather a lot of inspiration on the daily, which can just be a bunch of saved images, like things I have spotted on the street and taken a photo of on my phone or something I have seen in a movie or a music video. Leading up to a shoot, I imagine how the images are going to look and I write down ideas I have for each photo on a big notepad and on the day I look back and tick through. But when we got to the location on the day of Rosies shoot the weather was not what we expected and we had to scratch it all because it was going to be a completely different vibe. I think seeing the clothes on the girls against the backdrop of this cute little Makara farmland really inspired me, so we just kind of went for it, and it actually turned out even better than what we had planned. Of course it also really helped that Rosies work speaks so clearly for itself. She is so incredibly talented. I can’t wait to see what her beautiful mind creates next."
After the shoot was completed, film developed, and footage edited, the show was the last step of this particular collaboration. A chalked square indicated the models space in the corner of Club 121. A key signifier to reveal that this was a presentation, an exhibition, rather than any other regular night out. Rosie reveals the significance of the club for her and this collection, "There was this theatrical kind of element that followed from the shoot into the show that wasn’t planned. But it made so much sense with the space, lighting, and the dramatic makeup (Lara Daly) .
It felt really incredible to use the 121 Club space. It was perfect for the performative element of the clothing. But also because its this really great thing that is happening in Wellington, it was really great to be there and have so many friends involved, I’ve known Ollie and Cam, the owners since we were in school, so that was really incredible. It was such a supportive night and that’s integral to the club as well, they want to be able to be that sort of space, where you can feel welcome and be comfortable. It’s the only club that I would ever want to go to in Wellington for that reason."
"The space needed to be something where people can come and go at ease, be able to get close and see the clothes on the girls, but then being able to step back and chat to a friend. There was a feeling of what it’s like to go out, like a feeling of doing something, but not actually doing anything at all."
"like a feeling of doing something, but not actually doing anything at all."
Rosie Murdoch: @rosemmurdoch
Megan Alexander: @megan_patriciaz
Tyla Stevenson: @zambougie
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