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23rd February 2018
Reframing luxury
Title of film: Selfridges, The Greatest Luxury
Director: Kathryn Ferguson
Production Company: Hot Air
Director Kathryn Ferguson explores personal ideas of what is luxury with fashion designer Gareth Pugh, American rapper Mykki Blanco and director artist Holly Blakey

Today you released your latest film “The Greatest Luxury”. It’s an ambitious film, taking into account how we tend to associate luxury with wealth and ownership. How did you decide to explore luxury in this film?

The great thing when working with Selfridges is that they give you creative freedom. It was a tougher brief than normal as luxury is such a loaded word, so I was interested in its emotional meaning. Once I had collated my thoughts I went about creating my vision for the film and I worked with the very brilliant Rhea Theirstein, whose work I’d admired from afar for a long time. 

The next stage was casting, which is always a very long process for me. I am a huge fan of Mykki, Holly and Gareth and I had wanted to interview each of them for a while so when this brief came up, they felt like the natural trio. All live and breathe their work and in today’s world with rising rents and young creatives being forced out of the most major cities, this is becoming more of a rarity and, dare I say it, a type of luxury. I spoke to each of them pre-shoot then used their answers to weave together a world and a scenario for them to appear in. I always like to feature people as they really are rather than project what I think they are onto them. The house and the dance worked well as the threads that weaved everything together.
The film is part of Selfridges’ Hot Air channel. This is a platform you developed with Selfridges to question society’s pre-established standards and provide a different point of view. Can you tell us a bit more about how this collaboration came about?

I began working as a freelance Director for Selfridges back in 2013 and we continued to work together for a couple of years when they then invited me to join the team as their Resident Director and Film Consultant in 2015. Working with them has been a very liberating and creatively nourishing experience. 

We set up Hot Air a few years ago as a hub to feature more visually questioning and engaging films that we hope leave the viewer thinking more deeply.  Past subjects include non-binary ways of dressing, redefining beauty and body politics. I balance this in-house role with my freelance career as a film director (where I work with other brands) and as a Fashion Film Research Fellow at London College of Fashion. Our aim is to create more films with varied subject matter and a very inclusive range of talent more frequently, fingers crossed.
“The Greatest Luxury” was shot with an almost entirely female crew. In your opinion, are we moving towards men and women being offered the same opportunities in the film and advertising industries? 

The scales are still woefully unbalanced but, with initiatives like Free The Bid, things are slowly changing. What I love about FTB is that it’s given me access to the huge database of female directors working globally, and this has been so galvanizing to see and be part of.
What can we expect from you in the future?

Aside from my commercial work, my new film “Taking the Waters” will launch at film festivals this summer and I have two longer-form documentaries in the pipeline.

Interviewer: Nicco Montanari