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12th June 2012
Beautiful bitches
Title of film: Diesel Eyewear SS2012
Director: Tim & Joe
Production Company: White Lodge
White Lodge directors Tim & Joe on filming pooches modeling Diesel's sunglasses collection

What was the brief from the agency and how did you interpret that with your treatment?

The brief was pretty well formed by Poke. Their logic was tri-pointed: firstly they wanted to show each pair of glasses as an iconic style but wanted to avoid looking too cheesy; secondly they wanted to create something fun for the internet community to get their teeth into, and, thirdly, they wanted to make sure the glasses looked as cool as possible. This led them, inevitably, to dogs in sunglasses (or eyewear as the fashionistas call them).

Poke’s brief worked really well for us as we always enjoy good jokes. We decided that the piece would work best if we took the job seriously. Not that we ever don’t take our job seriously but in this instance, the humour had to be very deadpan, the dogs really were top models and we were making four serious fashion films that would make our models and the glasses they wore look as awesome and lux as possible. This meant we would, we hoped, deliver everything Diesel and Poke wanted, whilst making the piece less wacky and more absurd, which we prefer.

The film is a really playful nod to the clichés of fashion films – were you conscious of wanting to parody these elements?

Yes we were, although we had to be careful not to completely undermine the product. As we said, the glasses still had to look cool and we felt this would be the case so long as we made the films feel as high end as possible. The parody came naturally as we took normal doggy things such as shaking off water and jumping into the air and placed them within these rather clichéd fashion contexts.

How was it working with the dogs – was it as difficult as the old mantra says? And how did you pick each of the different breeds?

At first yes it was very difficult and terrifying (using dogs you have no idea if you’re even going to deliver a film, let alone a good film) but in the end no, it was actually a refreshing break from the demands of working with normal talent. The first dog, the Afghan was the hardest, firstly he was very, very shy and couldn’t stand being laughed at. That’s not a joke, he actually went and hid under a table when our producer laughed at him. He also had a lot of hair which got tangled in our glasses rigging and made keeping the glasses on straight very challenging.

Shooting at 2000 fps helped however and in the edit a couple of seconds of usable material became an awesome cinematic moment. After that was out of the way, with the help of a good bag full of sausage meat, the rest of the dogs were really easy and even surprised us with what they could do. The bark and pose at the end of the video for example, was a purely improvised moment from the multi-talented Ripley.

Picking the breeds did involve some back and forth between ourselves, the dog handlers and the client. The dogs needed to be big enough to fit the glasses and they obviously needed to be trained. Everyone agreed the Afghan was a must, she was too perfect for the style of glasses. The poodle on the other hand was only used after we had exhausted all other options. We all wanted something that had the glamour of the sunglasses but thought we could find something a bit more unusual. In the end, due to doggy drop outs and a few other factors we did in fact go back to the poodle Beau who had the most outrageously beautiful coat. Now when we look at it we can’t really imagine any other dog in that role.

Tell us about the art direction – how did you decide on the different settings?

We looked at lots of fashion films, photography and movies that suited each iconic style, then we decided what felt most fun and fresh and also, practically what we could create in a studio and with our budget.

The hardest were the two outdoor scenes. Bad Max especially needed to have that epic desert feel. Luckily, Jamie Brunskil our art director managed to borrow a ton of motorbike parts from his friends and got us a big scenic backdrop and it came together brilliantly. For all the scenes the lighting was also hugely important to sell each style and our DP Dave Proctor did a fantastic job achieving each, using big old 20K lights.

Do you think fashion film needs to take itself less seriously if it wants to reach a more diverse audience?

Fashion is a pretty big and diverse industry. The fact that it takes itself seriously means that it creates some really cutting edge, beautiful and innovative work. It also makes it ripe for parody, so no, we like fashion the way it is.

Credits

Diesel Eyewear SS2012  
Agency: Poke London
Creative Director: Gavin
Agency Producer: Kate Duckham
Production: White Lodge
Exec Producer: Stephen Whelan
Directors: Tim & Joe
Producer: Serena Noorani
Edit: Cut + Run
Post: Studio 66
Grade: The Mill
Music Composition by Major Tom