For Comme des Garçons latest eponymous fragrance, an unusual blend of rose oxides, lilac, hawthorn and Scotch Tape, it seems wholly appropriate they decided to accompany its release with an unconventional beauty campaign in collaboration with artist
For Comme des Garçons' latest eponymous fragrance, an unusual blend of rose oxides, lilac, hawthorn and Scotch Tape, it seems wholly appropriate they decided to accompany its release with an unconventional beauty campaign. Step forward Katerina Jebb, the Paris-based, British artist known for her unorthodox approach to image creation who has been creating captivating fake beauty advertisement films since early 2009, for her imaginary TV Channel, Lucid TV. Featuring well-known female faces, the subversive series of shorts, entitled Simulacrum and Hyperbole, employ powerful voiceovers to promote mythical, wonder products – the works, powerful, witty comments on consumerism and the beauty industry. Inspired by the series, Comme des Garçons invited her to create a film in the same vein, but this time focused on a purchasable product. The result: the fake ads cleverly intercut with the Comme-focused ad entitled We Can Find Beautiful Things Without Consciousness.
Described by Comme des Garçon's president Adrian Joffe as "the purest, strongest and most creative perfume we've ever done", the new release features a new bottle design; an intriguing, unique shape that doesn't dictate whether it should be laid horizontally or vertically . "It's not every time we can allow the expense of a new bottle", he explains. "This is the first new bottle since Odeur 53 and before that, the pebble bottle of the first fragrance." Here, AnOther speaks to Jebb about her ideas between her beauty film series and her longstanding collaboration with Comme des Garçons.
What were the ideas behind the Simulacrum and Hyperbole series?
I made the series as an ongoing video work which would exhibit inexplicable contradictory aspects and possibly entertain people. The story I wanted to tell was one that resembled something very beautiful and serious, and at the same time seemed vaguely ridiculous. Because I love the two extremes, it is vital for the two to inhabit the same space at the same time. I started the series in May 2009 with Tilda Swinton as the face and the spirit of "Hot Dollar". Then shortly after, I made Life Eraser with Tilda as the ambassador for the skin cream "Life Eraser".
You have a longstanding relationship with Comme des Garçons – what do you enjoy most about working them?
I started collaborating with them in 1998 in Paris. I documented quite a lot of clothing with my photocopy work, and our projects have always taken shape gracefully over the years. Working with them is like working on your own exhibition in that you are given an immense amount of respect and liberty to do what you feel expresses the truth of the work. I always feel in a position of privilege to exchange ideas with expansive minds. Creatively there is no point in working with people unless you can access some kind of beauty.
"The story I wanted to tell was one that resembled something very beautiful and serious, and at the same time seemed vaguely ridiculous"
What were your thoughts behind the new film? How did having a real product effect the outcome?
I was given freedom to make the film. Freedom is a very large space, and so it can be confusing as to how to make a work which has meaning without appearing to be empty or pretentious, and which simultaneously represents my feelings, a product, and the very particular sensibility of Comme des Garçons. Having a real product, as opposed to a figment of my imagination, is not so different because when I make the fake products, I make myself believe during the time I am making the film, that they really do exist. I am my own best ambassador.
What makes a successful beauty campaign? Do you have a favourite campaign of all-time?
Wow, that's a difficult question for me to answer and not sound like a militant. I don't believe in beauty campaigns in the general sense, if you are referring to skincare ads and such. Beauty campaigns are a multi-million dollar industry, which turn the wheel of finance. I have no idea what makes a successful one. People know that it is an industry, like selling tyres or diesel fuel for better performance, The only difference is that here a woman's vunerability to aging is the button which is being pressed. And most women are sensitive to this. A successful beauty campaign is a personal agreement with yourself, not a skin cream.
Katerina Jebb will present her film series at Dover Street Market today at midday.