Text & Interview: Alec Coiro
Photo: Olivia McCausland
Video Courtesy of Callum Cooper & threeASFOUR
Cover Model: Morgan Connellee
There’s never been a stage in the career of threeASFOUR when they were not challenging the assumptions and norms of the status quo. That’s the first thing you learn about them. The second thing you learn is that there is a method and philosophy behind what they do and that philosophy runs deeper than an anarchic need to challenge things. In fact, far from anarchic, more than any other designers I’ve encountered, threeASFOUR is about the triumph of harmony over chaos. They believe in underlining geometries and expanding symmetry.
For their latest collection, they pursue a very specific type of geometry created by the titular harmonograph. The results are complemented by Callum Cooper’s amazing video, which owes as much to modern technology as it does to the old-fashioned ingenuity of Georges Méliès. It also explores geometry in its own kinetic and unique way, as you will soon discover. The video is also a way to allow those wearing the clothes to have their personalities shine through more so than in a typical fashion presentation, which reflects threeASFOUR’s commitment to a respect for humanity and individuality. Also, as Cooper points out, he and the designers used to have studios in the same building, which always helps!
Not only were they kind enough to share their video with us, but we also got a chance to talk to all of the parties involved.
Is that shot at Mana Contemporary? Does Callum work out of Mana as well?
threeASFOUR: The video was shot all at Mana yes. Callum does not work out of Mana he is a multimedia artist based in Chinatown Manhattan.
How did this collaboration come to pass? Have you been fans of each others’ work previous to making the video?
threeASFOUR: We met Callum about 2 years ago and we were fans of his work, so was he. we both got very interested to do something together. At first, it was a virtual reality film then we decided to use one of Callum’s 360-degree camera techniques.
Callum Cooper: I really love Asfour’s approach and attitude to fashion design. I had been approached by some large fashion houses to execute the technique for them but I always feel that the films form should respect the content and theme. The theme of Asfour’s collection is Harmongraphy which made a nice synergy with the visual approach. Our initial engagement was due to proximity as my studio was in the same building as their previous studio.
The video is so innovative. How much can you tell us about the techniques you used to create it (without dispelling the magic)?
Callum Cooper: The camera technique, I created almost a decade ago. In a way, it is inspired by Philippe Halsman’s iconic JUMPS series. Nowadays, almost everybody presents a facade to the camera. This is especially true of models in fashion, the technique offers a wonderful departure from this because each participant engages the sculpture rather than the camera. In forgetting the camera and engaging in an action, we can achieve a very natural portrait of their personality.
It takes at least 2 pendulums to create a Harmonograph pattern. In other words, it takes two to tango. Perfect theme for us three. - threeASFOUR
To what extent does the style of the video reflect the style of the clothing in the SS 18 collection?
threeASFOUR: The title For this collection is HARMONOGRAPH, which is an apparatus that records two oscillations into a single curve. It takes at least 2 pendulums to create a Harmonograph pattern. In other words, It takes two to tango. Perfect theme for us three.
Speaking of the collection, the video nicely illustrates the way each piece flows and also how the pieces flow together as a collection. Can you tell us a little bit about what your intentions were when you created the collection? Were there any new ideas you explored or techniques you used for the SS 2018 collection?
threeASFOUR: Fascinated by the complex geometry of these harmonic intersections, threeASFOUR wanted to investigate these intricately layered circular patterns and explore them as harmonic auras in 2D, 3D, and 4D. From draping and construction to prints and finishes HArmonograph geometries were closely adapted to the body.
Did you use a harmonograph or Lissajous curves when creating the collection, or is the title more metaphorical?
threeASFOUR: To create the Prints, threeASFOUR collaborated with architect Patricia Correa Velasquez on several custom harmonograph geometries- which she wrote a (computer) script for -that resulted in black and white graphic concentric lines.