It’s this duality at play in Alex Turvey’s work that gives him his unique voice. Whether it’s his promos for the likes of Zulu Winter and We Have Band or his fashion work for Burberry and (most recently) H&M, Turvey travels a line between between maniacally art directed environments and more naturalistic moments. His latest spot features Vogue Japan editor at large and all round fashion icon Anna Dello Russo astride a gigantic gold platform heel while reciting her fashion commandments – a new dimension of strange that also hints at Turvey’s sense of humour.
Tell us EVERYTHING about your latest shoot for H&M with Anna Dello Russo – did the label come to you with an idea or was it quite an open brief?
I was approached by H&M through Colonel Blimp who rep me for music promos. They sent me the track and asked me to come up with a treatment for the video. It was a totally open brief – I had to feature Anna and the collection but the rest was mine to play with! Dream project!
On set Anna was an absolute dream to work with, she respected my work and my direction and let me get on with it. Equally I didn’t want her to be over-choreographed or pushed in a direction that wasn’t ‘Anna’. It was so important to the final film that Anna was genuinely having fun in each scene. She gave each performance everything she had and didn’t complain once, even when being hoisted onto a 2 metre-high gold stiletto at 10pm and rotated at precarious speed showered under gold light.
You’ve managed to avoid falling into the flavour of the month chasm which so often happens to emerging directors. Why do you think that is?
I guess I’ve always done things my own way. I’m not driven or effected by trends or view counts, I’m driven by the challenge of realising new ideas. As long as I’m generating ideas that excite me I’ll continue to produce new work whether I’m in or out of favour. The moment you start trying to tick boxes to seek approval is the moment you lose that natural naivety that fuels the creative process.
At this point in your career would you say you’re more of a promo director or fashion film director? Or do you just like the process of converting ideas into realities on screens?
I’m a film maker / visual artist. My goal is to write and direct features, but ultimately turning ideas into reality is a wonderful thing. Whether it be for a fashion brand or a musician it all starts with an idea…
There seems to be a dual aesthetic at work in your films – on the one hand you’ve got the super stylised and sometimes sinister strand and on the other there’s the more cinematic ‘real world’ pieces. Where do these two different impulses stem from?
By nature I have a ludicrously vivid imagination, I’m drawn to the absurd but inspired by human connection – I guess I’ve ended up blurring the human and the alien into one strange universe, sometimes beautiful sometimes ugly. I guess that’s my take on how I see the world.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Human connection, tales of the heart, nature and absurdity.
Are you working on anything at the moment you can tell us about?
Lots of lovely new projects on the hob. I’m shooting a very exciting fragrance film next week in the Yorkshire Dales with White Lodge. It’s set to be the polar opposite to Fashion Shower, a super dark raw cinematic moment. The film will play out at cinemas across the UK from mid November. Along side this I’m just about to start shooting my first full narrative short -again it’s dark and hyper stylized, that’s where I’m most at home!
Anna Dello Russo x H&M collaboration.
Directed by Alex Turvey
Starring Anna Dello Russo
Production company: Colonel Blimp
Producer: Lou Gagen
1st Assistant Director: Sam Powell
DOP: SImon Chadoir
Art Director: Mark Connell
Edit: James Rose @ Cut and Run
Effects / Composite: Felip Docolomansky
Colourist: H @ The MIll