Art + Fashion

As well as publishing creative bible Noon and running studio ARPA, Jasmine Raznahan was responsible for the visual direction of Victoria Beckham brand SS16 & AW16. Here, she gives the low down on fun and experimentation in world of fashion…

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Images from Victoria Beckham SS16, art directed by ARPA, photography by Johnny Dufort, styling by Lyson Marchessault

How did your relationship with the Victoria Beckham brand come about? 
I was asked to interview for the position of Visual Director. I went in and met with Victoria and we started working with each other pretty much immediately. 

What elements of the brand did you work on?
The studio was responsible for everything ‘visual’ that was produced by the brand: the creative direction for the campaigns and lookbooks across all brands (Victoria Beckham, Victoria Victoria Beckham and Victoria Beckham Eyewear), the invitations, seat cards and show notes for fashion week, overseeing the design of the space for events in store, commissioning artists to collaborate with the brand (Martin Creed staged a huge installation during fashion week and Eddie Peake created an onsite installation both at the Dover Street store), developing the brand’s packaging, overseeing the design of all collateral created for their collaboration with Estee Lauder, the christmas card, collateral for World Aids Day x VB… 

How would you describe the flavour of the brand?
A chameleon-like attitude that keeps things fresh and unpredictable.

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ARPA collaboration with Martin Creed for installation at Victoria Backham store, Dover Street, London

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Invitation for Martin Creed installation at Victoria Beckham store, Dover Street, designed by ARPA

You collaborated with lots in interesting creatives from different disciplines — how did those collaborations feed into the visual direction of the brand?
Many of the people who I initially commissioned to work with the brand were people I have worked with before and have an ongoing professional relationship with, such as Mel Bles, Vanessa Reid, Lyson Marchessault. Working with people I have an existing rapport with was a really important starting point for me. When it came to approaching some of the first projects for the brand it meant there was an established creative language between us, which is so important when you are working on projects with big budgets and high visibility.

You want to make sure you are creating the very best you can and to do that I think there needs to be a trust and understanding between everyone involved in the project.

I was also able to work with people whom I admired but had never had an opportunity to work with, such as Martin Creed and Eddie Peake. Some of these relationships developed and extended outside of this; for example Eddie and I have collaborated on other projects since (he created a limited edition poster and text piece for the SS16 issue of Noon Magazine) and he has become a friend and confidante too.

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Victoria Beckham SS16 seat cards, designed by ARPA

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Victoria Beckham SS16 New York Fashion Week invites, designed by ARPA

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ARPA collaboration with Eddie Peake Creed for installation at Victoria Backham store, Dover Street, London

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ARPA collaboration with Eddie Peake Creed for installation at Victoria Backham store, Dover Street, London

Do you have a favourite highlight from the project?
Shooting the SS16 Victoria Victoria Beckham lookbook with Johnny Dufort and Lyson Marchessault at the Crystal Palace Dinosaur Park with two chickens on a cold Autumn morning.

There’s a fashion bias in your output as a studio - what excites you about designing for that world?
There is a pursuit of the new within the fashion industry, which, in turn, means that you can take risks and be experimental in your creative approach as an art director. Things happen quickly and I think people rest on things for a shorter amount of time, as due to its very nature it is fast-moving, everchanging. In turn, the creative language that one can use can be more immediate, more disruptive, in a way.

I also enjoy the collaborative nature of fashion projects. Working in teams, I think often you create work that is much more exciting and unexpected compared to if you were working alone. For every fashion project that we are working on, there is always something smaller scale going on in the background too – an independent book project with an emerging contemporary artist, an identity for a start up. In contrast to the seasonal fashion work, these projects tend to have a longer lifespan and I think the two complement each other well.