Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Making of the Demetrius Collection 2010 - A Story About A Girl Named Alice

One thing that Jorge Manuel is a fan of is that of challenges. Making his footprint in the bridal world with his first collection, the Etelvina Collection, the designer decided to add a little fantasy into this next collection. But the idea did not come about until he came across the old, but very current story of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. As a child, Jorge Manuel was fascinated by the Disney classic. However, it wasn’t until 20 years later when he read the books "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass"  that the designer truly fell in love with the characters and story. The story’s complexity between a child’s imagination and a real world truly captured his attention.

"The story is great! And the special characters and colorful settings vividly came to life in my mind as I read through the scenes in the book."

Alice in Wonderland ignited the spark for what became the designer's second collection. The Demetrius Collection was a 6 month project that involved many long-hour castings, detailed planning for props and meticulous search for locations. Jorge Manuel and Operations Manager for Jorge Manuel, Inc., Kyle Leverett, decided that the campaign for the collection would tell a story similar to that of Lewis Carroll's novel, but with a Jorge Manuel twist on design for characters, settings and costumes! The challenges to logic in story inspired the designer to bring an element of fantasy into his dresses. The meaning for the campaign pictures was to capture the struggle between the simplicity of a girl named Alice trying to find her place in a complex Wonderland. In a magical place where anything is possible, inevitably Alice discovers that  "different" is not only interesting, but also exciting.

Jorge Manuel had already introduced a very "different" aesthetic to bridal design with his earlier collection, the Etelvina Collection. This new endeavor was sure to create a Jorge Manuel fingerprint in the bridal industry. First things first, The dresses and costumes needed to be designed, characters needed to be casted and scenes and locations selected.

To find the right Alice, Jorge Manuel saw almost 60 beautiful golden-haired models. Among them he found his definition of the perfect "Alice" character for his campaign in a young Russian model, Angelina, whose name coincidentally also started with an "A."  The production was an ambitious project that would take 15 scenes, 11 characters, 3 animals, 16 dresses to bring “...a Story about a Girl Named Alice...” campaign to life. In order to keep the theme consistent from scene to scene, the designer wrote down on a piece of paper what the story meant to him:

"This is the story about a girl who found herself within the madness of a wonderland. It is a place where journeys have no meaning, people have no itineraries, and time is unimportant. Anything and everything is possible here. This is a story about a girl named Alice..."

During the entire process, he occasionally glanced at the piece of paper he had written this in in order to make sure he was taking his "vision" into the right direction. What direction? It is quite clear that Jorge Manuel's gowns in this campaign are as unique as the characters, and the "vision" for each dress reflects the time and place she is within the story. The characters in the campaign appear in chronological order following Lewis Carroll’s original work. It was a project that would lead the designer through endless days and sleepless nights. Nonetheless, Jorge Manuel had as much fun designing costumes for the characters as he did designing his gowns for this collection. It was the perfect harmony between design and idea.

Perhaps one of the most significant scene of the campaign is that of Alice holding the pig. Yes a pig! For those who do not know, in this scene, Alice takes a baby out of an unsafe house. Soon after, the baby she held in her arms turns into a piglet. The designer was adamant on bringing this scene to life! But, it would not come easy.

"I was on the search for a piglet since the moment I decided to make this project. It was weeks and weeks before I finally found the perfect pink piglet! Two days before the shoot, the piglet escaped and was no where to be found! We had the entire neighborhood of people looking for Wilbur and everybody, crew an all, looked for him until the sun came down. I was really worried for him, not to mention that each scene can be quite costly and a lot for this scene was at stake! Having a piglet scene without a pig would have been a disaster! Nevertheless, I drove about 4 hours early morning the day of the shoot around 3 a.m. to Wachula, Florida to get a piglet I had researched for and found online. It was the longest drive of my life! I was tired, sleepy, but hopeful!  On the way back I received a call from my parents telling me that someone had found the other pig! I was ecstatic because nothing happened to Wilbur, but concerned because now we had two pigs! Both piglets were shaken and aggravated and it seemed as if they would not behave for the shoot. This scene seemed to me as if was headed to disaster! Wilbur, the rampant piggy, was a bit sunburned from his own adventure through the streets of Miami. Fortunately, as if by magic, as soon as Angelina held Wilbur in her arms, he seemed at peace and cooperated with getting the perfect picture! We were all so proud of him and the model for being such great sports!  We got the shot and the piglets found a wonderful home in a farm south of Miami the next day! It was truly a bitter-sweet, but very memorable and funny story!"
The experience of bringing the "About A Girl Named Alice," campaign to life was an experience like no other for the designer. The Demetrius Collection turned out to be a reflection of the designer's creativity and artistic freedom. The Demetrius collection 2009 is dedicate to the creative bride who just won't settle with anything that isn't beautifully different!

No comments:

Post a Comment