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“With one eye on the past, I walk backwards into the future,” is how Yohji Yamamoto poetically describes his 20th anniversary Y-3 spring/summer 22 collection. With two decades of Y-3 behind them both, the industry-changing collaboration that opened up new worlds has continually shown that the poetry and purity of Yamamoto's tailoring and conceptual skills can be applied to the world of sportswear with the technical ingenuity and innovation of the German three-stripe giant.
Repurposing, re-coding and reimagining key moments, designs, materials, and silhouettes from the brand’s rich history, the spirit to revolutionise tomorrow pushes the Y-3 spring/summer collection forward and inspired LN-CC to enlist 3D artist and art director Harriet Davey (AKA Harriet Blend) to place it in her digital daydreams.
“Together with Adidas, we created something that did not exist before — and completely projected the future,” Yamamoto explained to award-winning German filmmaker, photographer and close-friend Wim Wenders in Interview back in 2013, marking 10 years of the collaboration.
“Adidas is a very personal inspiration to me and it has enriched my creative life,” he continued. It’s not just another collaboration, it is the collaboration. It’s an exchange between different cultures, different approaches, different ideas, and most of all, it is teamwork. Y-3 spring/summer 22 is a celebration of the past, present and future of this ever engaging exchange. Mirroring this sentiment, LN-CC encouraged Harriet to work with her trusted network of collaborators to build a post-earth, post-time world in which to suspend the collection. As she imagined the characters and landscape, digital fashion specialist recreated the cosy tailoring and transformative garments virtually, while composer and musician Imogen Davey soundtracked the moment.
Firstly, how do you like to introduce and position yourself?
I'm Harriet Davey (AKA Harriet Blend), a 3D artist, and Art Director obsessed with questioning what it means to be fluid and human in a digital world. My work examines and interrogates the ugly and the beautiful; the maximum and the minimum; the online and the offline.
Where are you and what have these questions interrupted you from?
I'm at my desk and I was just playing Elden Ring – a new fantasy RPG from the people who made Darksoul). It's an incredible game but I'm not so good at it... it's brutally punishing, so I've been farming some runes in an attempt to level up and stop myself from constantly dying. I'm also currently recovering from COVID, hence playing video games in the middle of the day.
What does Transformative Nostalgia mean to you?
Strangely, I'm not at all a nostalgic person. To me, maybe transformative nostalgia is looking forward; can we feel nostalgic for something that hasn't happened yet?
How did you approach this commission?
As soon as I knew I'd have to be working with cloth simulations and digital tailoring, I knew I needed to bring Ponz onto the project, she is a digital fashion specialist, fellow member of Digi-Gxl, and a good friend. I can never wrap my head around garment patterns, so having Ponz recreate all the physical pieces in the virtual was absolutely needed. We had a big back and forth workflow, where I would create the avatars, feed them to Ponz, who would then dress them, and simulate everything, before returning the files to myself. As always, we had some really huge ideas for simulations and concepts, but we had to scale down a little to what's possible in the time frame and with our combined skills! The starting point for me is always the characters. Once I have characters created, I then build the environment. I find it easier to imagine the world around the characters, rather than characters that inhabit a particular world.
Beyond product, what do you hope viewers take away from the film?
If viewers feel somehow moved, at peace, and disturbed, then I would say my goals are accomplished. I never want to make work that simply fulfills a brief of looking good, or 'right', I hope it challenges the viewer at least a small amount. there's a balance in the middle of many binaries that i stay in, such as soft and dangerous or masc and femme.
What’s next? Is there anything you’re working on or soon-to-release that you’d like to promote here?
Ooh! Lots I probably can't mention. I'm working as a concept artist with Baeond (a digital card game) and I'll also be working with a new media museum soon on some avatar related things!