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20th February 2013
Alien beauty
Title of film: River Island Design Forum x Georgia Hardinge
Director: Alex Turvey
Production Company: White Lodge
We talk with White Lodge director Alex Turvey about his crafted spectacular for River Island

This is your second fashion film through White Lodge – how are you finding it collaborating directly with clients as opposed to working through advertising agencies?

So far so good, I’ve been outrageously lucky on the past few projects. My clients have been a dream to work with, incredibly respectful of my creative process and in turn I’ve worked hard to give them the best of my abilities. So I can’t say I’ve missed the agency formalities.

How did this project come about? And how did your concept develop?

The project was commissioned by River Island to mark the launch of their latest Design Forum collection in collaboration with Georgia Hardinge, Georgia and I both shared a mutual love of artist H R Giger so I wanted to create a film that held his influence. The film tells the story of a macabre alien life cycle set within a universe inspired by Hardinge’s print textures and the intricate detailing of the collection’s showpiece which references the timeless aesthetic of Giger.

The set and sound design are stunning. Who did you work with to realise these visions? It feels like you’ve established a really solid network of collaborators who understand the worlds you create.

My art director / production designer is Mark Connell, we have worked from the ground up over the past three years. I’m incredibly hands on and design all my sets, I then give my designs to Mark, who against all odds has the ability to realize anything I give him… I love that guy.

Sound design was created by Golden Hum, my first time working with these guys – they blew me away, captured my brief perfectly.

Over your past two pieces, the Topman film and now this piece for Georgia Hardinge, your aesthetic has taken on a more raw edge in comparison, say, to your Anna Della Russo promo. Is this a permanent shift for you? Or why do you think your work is evolving into this grittier territory?

I’ve always been drawn to the shadier parts of life, I’m happiest devising worlds that are steeped in a sense of surreal romantic tragedy, so where I am now feels good, I feel more confident as a film maker but I know I have a huge amount of exploration ahead of me, long format, character-based narrative is the next challenge I’m most excited about.

It seems that there’s a general assumption that fashion films are either uber-luxe scenes of dissociated models or low-budget 5D kaleidoscope and symmetry student projects. Yet your work is definitely challenging these misconceptions or creating a new space for the genre – could you explain a little bit about what you think the filmic language of this third space could be? Is it more narrative? Your films certainly have an emotional journey if not necessarily a purely narrative beginning, middle and end.

If there is to be any longevity to the genre narrative / humanization / emotional connection are all key to the development of fashion film.

Yes my River film is Alien in its aesthetic and universe, but the tone is very human, if you can humanise aesthetically led film and connect with your audience on an emotional level your work will have longevity.

Are you working on anything else at the moment that you can tell us about?

I’m currently working on a short, an absurdly dark labour of love. Hopefully ready for summer.


Produced at White Lodge
Concept & Direction: Alex Turvey
Executive Producer: Stephen Whelan
Producer: Tiernan Hanby
DoP: Will Bex
Art Direction: Mark Connell
Post: Nice Biscuits
Edit: Max Windows @ Stitch
Music / Sound Design: Golden Hum
Very Special Thanks: River Island, Georgia Hardinge, British Fashion Council