A still from Hotel Madrid.
Designer Vera Wang is eschewing the bridal runway for the second season in a row, instead choosing to tell the story of her Spring 2016 collection through film. Collaborating with director Gordon Von Steiner, the new short, Hotel Madrid, is about sensuality, with heavy sexual overtones. “Brides want to feel more sensual, more exposed, more sexual,” Wang tells Yahoo Style. “I like to think I’m translating a movement in wedding fashion with my own vocabulary.”
We sat down with Wang to discuss her creative process, how the film was inspired by the raw earthiness of Spain and Latin women, and why she’s drawn more drawn to complex characters like Peggy Gugenheim over more obvious types.
Hotel Madrid will be released on Friday, April 17th at verawang.com.
Yahoo Style: This is your second film, why did you decide to show your bridal collections through film instead of a runway show?
Vera Wang: I felt that I really wanted my collections to be viewed through my own particular lens, and my own perspective. How I envision these clothes creatively and artistically is not necessarily how they’re able to be conveyed or portrayed in a runway show in a showroom.
YS: How so?
VW: The music choices, the nuances, the work itself is sometimes lost in a typical runway show. I am freer to create atmosphere and emotion, and I think that’s important in everything I do in fashion.
YS: You collaborated again with director Gordon Von Steiner. Is directing different or similar to designing?
VW: I’m the person that comes up with the theme, and how I view my clothes because when I’m designing, if I’m lucky, I am able to envision where it’s going. Some seasons I’m not. Now that I’ve started to make films I think of the clothing in a cinematic way and in a story line. I always have, but now it’s even more specific because I know I’m going to create that story, and I’m going to be able to film it. So for that reason I even look at the way I approach design very differently, and even more specifically in a weird way.
Wang in the director’s chair.
YS: There was a dark romanticism to your first film. Can you explain what inspired this perspective on bridal?
VW: Yeah, well I’m pretty well known for moody. That’s not a new thing. Where last year I was very inspired by a sisterhood. I think of girls who are very artistic, and sort of locked in a sisterhood like the Bronte sisters, and a little bit like Pride and Prejudice.
YS: And this film?
VW: And this time it’s very different. This is basically about sensuality and sexuality. The skin is oiled. The girls look sweaty. It’s meant to be very, very hot in terms of temperature. It’s meant to be almost in a weird way lethargic, with very, very, very heavy sexual overtones. Very different from last time. Very different characters and very different women, and I think a lot of it had to do with what’s sort of been happening with brides. They want to feel more sensual, more exposed, more sexual. There is a big movement towards that, and of course I like to think that I’m translating a movement in wedding fashion with my own vocabulary.
YS: Your bridal collections tend to be more fashion-forward than traditional in design. Why is that?
VW: For me bridal has never just been about bridal. It’s not a new thing. For 25 years bridal for me has been about fashion, so I’m not a bridal designer. I’m a fashion designer who happens to create bridal. That’s a very different point of view and a very different perspective.
A still from Hotel Madrid.
YS: What was your inspiration for this collection and the story for the film?
VW: This particular collection was definitely about transparency, sensuality, sexuality, and hopefully grace. There is a certain grace and lyricism to this particular movie that’s very different from last time. Last time was about a sisterhood and perhaps they were artsier girls. This time it’s about some very, very sensual, sexy women in Spain.
YS: Spain. Why Spain?
VW: Because I felt for that kind of attitude and that kind of freedom, that kind of earthiness, the girls are extremely refined, but a raw earthiness and what Spain brings you. What Latin women bring. And Spain to me implies warmth and earthiness and sensuality and sexuality and dance and movement.
YS: What do you hope brides take away from it?
VW: The same thing I’ve always hoped: That they feel free to express themselves, and I’m there to offer them the alternatives. There are other worlds. Bridal for me is about fashion. It’s about emotion. It’s about encouraging women to express themselves, and creativity.
YS: When producing and directing a film, how is it different than a runway show?
VW: It isn’t different. It’s the exact same thing. There’s a music component, the choreography of whether they’re moving quickly or slowly, what their attitude is as they’re walking, what heel height the shoe is to convey different things. What you’re trying to get across, what you’re trying to convey.
YS: Are there any directors who have inspired your filmmaking?
VW: In this case Luis Buñuel, the Spanish director that moved to France and created so many memorable movies about women with a double life: Belle du Jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. His films are kind of extraordinary. And they’re always about complex women. I think my whole life obvious women have never particularly fascinated me, and that’s why I like the Bronte sisters, and that’s why I like Niki de Saint Phalle, and Peggy Guggenheim. They’ve all inspired me through the years. They’re women that didn’t live normal lives, they lived exceptional lives and I think that’s always been important to me.
Hotel Madrid will be released on Friday, April 17th