A million miles away from the ‘attractive models flaunt luxury wares’ archetype, Canadian studio Vallée Duhamel’s new film for Hermès Paris embraces surrealist quirk to showcase the brand’s key products for 2014. The concept behind the film, which features bangles and shoes transforming into verdant masks and tropical birds, was to replace actors with anthropomorphised products and create a universe where nothing really made sense.
The style of Milan’s 1980s Memphis Group was a big influence on the film’s mood and aesthetic. “We are big fans of Ettore Sottsass and were really inspired by the simplicity of his designs,” say studio founders Julien Vallée and Eve Duhamel. “We love how he merged vivid and pastel colours, and the contrast formed by the addition of his patterns. The furniture Sottsass created was adapted to be photographed and look good even in a two-dimensional image.”
With so many fiddly transitions and little room for error, Vallée Duhamel and director of production Simon Duhamel tweaked its normal approach to accommodate the technical nature of the scenes. “We spent more time than usual on storyboarding to make sure the team really understood well what we were about to shoot,” says Vallée. “We usually allow ourselves a lot of flexibility on set but in this case the process had to be a bit more precise in terms of making sure everything happened at the right point.”