Text & Interview: Alec Coiro
Photo & video: Katherina Acevedo & Alexis Zabe
Model: Kirsty Hume
We were transfixed by the new AWAVEAWAKE video by Katherina Acevedo and Alexis Zabe, the cinematographer behind the recently acclaimed film, The Florida Project. The short movie for designer Jaclyn Hodes’ Spring/Summer 2018 collection transports the viewer to a realm of witchy elegance. To achieve this aura, the filmmakers brought together a confluence of elements that perfectly capture the spirit of AWAVEAWAKE: model Kirsty Hume steps seamlessly into the role of the AWAVEAWAKE woman; nature in its many splendors plays a huge part just as it always does for Hodes’ designs; the sublime and subtle colors of sunset reflect the power of the colors, which Hodes quests all over the planet to find. It also captures AWAVEAWAKE’s new found home in Topanga Canyon, fully embodying the mystery and legend of the place.
We were thrilled to be able to Interview both the designer and the filmmakers. Read on for more about the video provenance.
How did the collaboration between the AWAVEAWAKE and Alexis Zabe and Katherina Acevedo come to pass?
I met Katherina at the Spirit Weavers gathering of 2016 in Northern California. I was vending there but was so interested in soaking up all the goodness that I was rarely at my rack in the marketplace but Katherina managed to catch me and purchased a naturally dyed mango leaf green silk cotton apron dress. I was immediately charmed by her warmth, beauty, and style and got to know her more when a year and a half later, I ran into her at a flea market in Santa Monica and through other friends and social gatherings around LA came to know her better. I was equally struck by her strong photographic work; at once beautiful and powerful and poetic. Katherina shot images for my brands’ site in April. It was such a pleasure working with her. I was astounded at how she was able to capture mood and light in equal measure. Like her husband, Katherina is humble and so you only find out through experiencing it, how immensely talented she is. I love how refreshing that is, that the work is so innate and confident in her. An authentic connection is at the root of our creative collaboration. It’s an ongoing theme for me and I hope it continues to unfold that way…
Through connecting with Katherina I met her husband, Alexis Zabe. Alexis is a mind-blowingly incredible cinematographer. He is a sought-after “cameraman” for his particular lensing, all you need to do is look him up. I feel that he and his wife share this quality in their work that comes from them individually but also perhaps from their partnership. There is such a stark beautiful quality to the visuals, a strong expressive mix of clarity with poetic and hypnotic effect. They are as inspiring individually as they are as a couple, and it was so exciting to invite them in to directly collaborate for this project. I loved watching them work “on set,” as flowing and loving as they are when I come to their place for tea. I love their warm home in Venice, they bring their Mexico City vibes to the neighborhood.
Katherina Acevedo and Alexis Zabe:
The collaboration was organic and fluid. There was no questioning or overthinking, we all did what we had to do, the sun itself was our guide.
What was it like working with Kirsty Hume? She seems like such a perfect match for AWAVEAWAKE.
Yes, a lot of people recognize how Kirsty is the ideal muse for AWAVEAWAKE and truly she is. Coming of age in the 90s, I was always aware of Kirsty Hume through fashion press. I always admired her ethereal beauty from afar and it was truly a real dream come true to meet her and work with her four years ago for AWAVEAWAKE’s third season of the brand. A friend connected us, and another dear friend, the photographer, Annabel Mehran, and I worked with her for the Spring 2014 lookbook. We captured Kirsty in Topanga Canyon then as well. I had always had a relationship to this magical spot since I first came upon it in 2003. There was a sense of the familiar and the mysterious there when I rolled through like perhaps I might have something more to do with this spot in the future. Kirsty and I kept touch and would get together when I was in town and now we both call the canyon home. We literally live up the street from one another.
Kirsty truly embodies the energy of the brand because she looks like she does, to put it simply. She is a woman who is connected to herself and the Earth and its rhythms. Her work with herbs, natural dyes and her being an artist herself who also has lived a rich life of travel and experience, allows her to embody the qualities of a custodian of the sacred and natural mysteries. For me, her presence conveys both an otherworldliness as much as a natural earthliness, and innocence, in the true sense of the word. She really brings that depth and wisdom, all of which is integral to the energy of AWAVEAWAKE. It has been such a pleasure to build a real relationship with someone so professional, a friend who also happens to be a legendary supermodel!
Katherina Acevedo and Alexis Zabe:
Kirsty Hume was beyond perfect for this video. Her elegance and ethereal look embrace the concept and her wisdom and powerful attitude make a strong imprint on the images.
Nature is the main source of all inspiration for me. It wasn’t always so palpable and direct as it feels for me now, but of course, it is always there and it’s been a matter of re-discovering it over time.
What has the relocation to Topanga been like? It certainly looks magical in the video.
Topanga called me in, embraced me and held me. I didn’t try too hard to find a place but I trusted that it was home when I saw the circle window—I’ve had a thing for circle windows. I had been using New York as home base, operating from there all while exploring Asia and traveling back and forth for long stints in LA. I thought when I came to Bali that I had found the right spot to settle and expand. Bali is still is an important place for me to work from and to connect with the conscious community that I dropped into there, but the summer before last I received the internal guidance that it was time to ground in one spot and it was time for it to be in Los Angeles.
I am so grateful for my sweet little spot here, just paces from an entrance into the beautiful Topanga State Park. I often go for sunset hikes into the enchanted realm and to connect and receive.
There have been moments when it was hard to be in one place, I’ve struggled with that this year. I was able to accomplish a lot through living a nomadic lifestyle and it still remains to be seen how being in one place will nourish me and help to expand projects.
The wind in the hair and clothes, the ocean, the earth under her feet, and the fiery sunset all seem essential to the mood of the video. How important are nature and her elements to the design of the clothing?
Nature is the main source of all inspiration for me. It wasn’t always so palpable and direct as perhaps it feels for me now, but of course, it is always there and it’s been a matter of re-discovering it over time. Source energy is accessed most easily while immersed in nature, all other aspects are accouterment to living, everything else is just complication. I know that clothing is accessory to what we find in nature and yet it is also a solid form of personal and collective expression. Using exclusively natural materials and natural dyes (those plants and the non-synthetic chemicals) are the foundation of the ethos of AWAVEAWAKE. We are all on some sort of spiritual path, as I define it, but let’s say actively I was awakened back into connecting to spirit and nature in 2001. I have reconciled it all the while living in New York City, which was an interesting challenge, that really helps build and polish a person. It became increasingly clearer to me since 2010 that I had to create from a place that was also in alignment with my ethics and from a place of holistic wellness. When I explored the idea of eco-fashion it was obvious to me that chemical colorants (the dyes that hue our clothing) are directly impacting both the waterways and the wearer, so natural dyes are essential to optimal health. The byproduct of this knowledge and parameter from which I decided I should work from, was also something that created immense beauty. The natural dyes alchemize the material, especially the silk. So I seek to design flowing, beautiful and essential pieces that I want to wear that display that gorgeous color palette that derived directly from the Earth while honoring it and being compatible and not conversely toxic for it.
Katherina Acevedo and Alexis Zabe
Topanga is, in fact, a magical place, It was clear from the beginning that the shoot would happen there.