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5 Minutes With: Voula Stamos

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5 Minutes With: Voula Stamos

If you drive an hour west of Sydney CBD, you will find yourself at the Australian PlantBank in Mount Annan. The largest native plant conservation seedbank in Australia, the PlantBank meets modern architecture with natural scrubland, contrasting rich greenery from forgotten plant species with exposed concrete pillars, polished steel, mirror panels and jutting light.

This theme of duality forms the basis of the Harrolds Spring/Summer 2020 campaign, where old meets new, past meets present. The first campaign since the launch of Harrolds Online and the beginning of the next chapter for the 35 year old luxury retailer, it was important for Harrolds’ Creative Director Voula Stamos to be able to encapsulate the story behind the iconic Australian brand that is Harrolds.

We caught up with Voula who took us behind the scenes of the campaign to talk all things creative flow, vision and this season’s biggest trends.

1. What inspired the campaign?

When I first saw this season’s buy, I realised that there was a huge homage to the ’90s and that decade was inspired by ’70s fashion. All the big collars, sartorial tailoring, tonal colours and chunky shoes gave me major flashbacks to my childhood. Except this season has all the refined and best parts of growing up.

In fashion, the ’90s was a very political time, people spoke freely which was reflected in the way they dressed. Grunge was a huge inspiration in today’s version of ‘streetwear’, but it was also juxtaposed with luxury fashion and looking glamorous. Women looked powerful in tailoring and androgyny was sexy. It all feels the same today, just with a new spin, a contemporary and gender fluid spin.

What inspired me was the chance of a do-over, a take on all the best things from the ’90s and doing it better.

What inspired me was the chance of a do-over, a take on all the best things from the '90s and doing it better.

Nick wears full Thom Browne look. Available now at Harrolds Online.

Isabella wears full Thom Browne look. Available now at Harrolds Online.

Nick wears full Thom Browne look. Available now at Harrolds Online.

Isabella wears full Thom Browne look. Available now at Harrolds Online.

2. Can you share what your creative process look like?

It’s an organic process. It starts off with understanding how our brands have told their season’s story; how they have marketed their vision, whether they come from a sustainability point of view, a technical point of view or revisit their archives, all of this helps spark creative and visual ideas. The other part of my process is balancing this with understanding the business’ needs, what trends our buyers have bought into and what story we want to tell our Australian and New Zealand market.

3. What were the most important things to consider for the shoot?

Content, content, content. And relevant content at that.

It’s really important for our content to make sense to the Australian market. It’s now “trendy” to know luxury, thanks in part to globalisation where luxury has become widespread and more readily available. When I was a kid, we recognised luxury as luxury but not the brands featured, now we’re speaking to a global audience and millennials who were brought up in the digital age so their eye has been trained to recognise luxury for the brand. Because of this, we need to ensure our content is not only luxurious, but still somewhat attainable.

4. Where was the campaign shot and why did you chose this location?

The first day of shooting was at The Australian PlantBank in NSW. The building’s architecture, clean lines, textured sandstone walls and timeless structure appealed to me. I knew that the crew would be inspired working in such an amazing place and our content would have a contemporary edge that reflects the season’s buy.

5. What was the most exciting part of shooting the campaign?

Seeing your vision come to life! There is a real high at the end of a shoot knowing that you have created something special. I try to make a point of celebrating the wins by catching up with the crew for dinner or drinks and reflecting on the shoot. We rarely take time these days to appreciate hard work and the entire journey that we go on to produce something like this.

6. What does your shoot day attire and packed essentials look like?

Well comfortable shoes is a must, I usually wear my Comme des Garçons Play sneakers. And a hat, of course, you have to be sun smart when you’re outside for hours on end. I also keep a bumbag on me with sunscreen, lipgloss, panadol, phone, etc.

7. What was important to you when sourcing talent for the campaign?

As you have probably gathered I’m quite a nostalgic person so in keeping with this vintage feel, being able to thread ideas of androgyny and power throughout started and finished with our incredible models. Isabella (our female model) truly represented both fierceness and femininity. Nick (our male model) embodied the vision for Harrolds menswear this season that mixes our heritage tailoring brands like Tom Ford, Brioni and Caruso with our modern, edgier designers like Song for the Mute, Craig Green and Thom Browne. The suit is no longer restricted to 9-5, tailoring is given a contemporary refresh through unstructured jackets, loosened leg hems and relaxed fabrications.

8. What made you decide to work with The Artist Group?

I have had my eye on photographer Daniel Goode for a while now and felt he had the best eye for creating beautiful imagery that was suited for an e-Commerce fashion retailer. His point of view is high end but he also understands how to capture product in their best light. We need to find a middle ground between conceptual and relatable content.

I had also worked with stylist Caterina Scardino before and think she is one of the most talented fashion directors and stylists in Australia. She has such incredible insight into both men’s and women’s fashion.

Nick wears Burberry jumper and shirt, Neil Barrett pants and Thom Browne shoes.

Isabella wears Petar Petrov dress, Saks Potts coat and Isabel Marant boots.

Nick wears Burberry jumper and shirt, Neil Barrett pants and Thom Browne shoes.

Isabella wears Petar Petrov dress, Saks Potts coat and Isabel Marant boots.

9. Working with a team of so many creatives, how do you ensure a seamless vision?

Communication is key here. It’s important to work collaboratively to ensure we’re utilising everybody’s full potential. The Artist Group and everybody who works with them are the real veterans of the industry, I trust them completely. This is what they do everyday so I would be silly to not leverage off their lived-experience working on set. They know better than anyone what works and what doesn’t.

10. Tell us about the video campaign.

Our video campaign truly encapsulates the nostalgic mood we wanted to create. Captured by Murray MacLean on a Super 8 camera, the video was designed to feel like a vintage movie trailer, shrouded in mystery and intrigue, flicking from moment to moment and closing in on the finer details of our seasonal collection. By having shots of the surrounding landscape, we’re speaking to the architecture of our brands and their collections. The backing tracks were produced by a local Melbourne artist and have since become the soundtrack to my life… (obsessed)

11. What are some trends to look out for this season?

A lot of our designers are revisiting the traditional codes of their house, which means we have seen the revival of some cult classics, or the rework of a heritage print, with some designers giving their logos a bit of a refresh in the past year. This season, be on the look out for soft tailoring, modest dressing pieces, military motifs, animal print and exotics, bohemian embellishment, glamour, tonal colours, etc etc etc. There’s a lot of playfulness this season when compared to last.

12. What brands are you heroing this season?

Designers that take risks in their design, experiment with colour and print and/or use innovative technology during the creative process. For women, we’re excited to welcome Antwerp-based label Bernadette to Harrolds, whose silk print dresses are made from hand-drawn illustrations, we also welcome local Sydney designer Albus Lumen to our Australian stable. Then we’ve got Toyko label Ambush for both men and women, where designer duo Yoon and Verbal construct architectural accessories and technical garments. We’ve also got Melbourne-based designer Christian Kimber who is really owning the contemporary tailoring space, joining Brioni and Caruso. We also can’t neglect our collection of Australian exclusive designers including Tom Ford, Thom Browne, Wandler, Stefano Ricci and Valextra.

 

The Harrolds Spring/Summer 2020 campaign was produced by The Artist Group, with photography by Daniel Goode, styling by Caterina Scardino, set design by Nat Turnbull, makeup by Linda Jefferyes, hair by Daren Borthwick, videography by Murray MacLean and retouching by Sarah Donvito.

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