I have chosen three male characters from Shakespeare’s plays: Hamlet, King Lear and The Merchant of Venice. In styling the denim products, I wanted to create a display for male customers of M&S, creating a contemporary look mixed with the presence of Shakespeare’s characters and the versatility and long tradition of denim as a fashion material.
TRADITION OF DENIM FABRIC
Through my research, I found out some interesting facts about denim fabric. It has a long tradition goes back to as far as seventeen century. There is a dispute where did it originate from Italy or France?
The colour of denim wasn’t blue at the start and the Italian sailors in the city of Genoa where making trousers out of it for work in the harbours. The material was strong and sturdy. The French pronounce the word Genoa – Gênes, it may be the origin of the word jeans.
In France, in the city of Nîmes the French were trying to reproduce the jean but instead, they created similar fabric later on known as denim. From Nîmes as the French say de Nîmes – denim.
The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death is the inspiration for this display. I have chosen Hamlet as the character for my window display proposal.
Denim was once again the trending fabric of Spring/Summer 2016 and as a sustainable 100%, a cotton material has a long history and tradition which dates back to the 17th century. In styling the denim products, I wanted to design a display for male customers creating a contemporary look mixed with the presence of Shakespeare’s character and the versatility and long tradition of denim (black jeans) as a fashion material.
The display shows the character on a stylised stage, and we, the audience, watch the ‘dramatic’ moment when Hamlet contemplates death and suicide in his conversation with the excavated skull of Yorick. The style of the scene is contemporary, set in a monochromatic environment of the theatre stage, creating a Gothic and mysterious feel.
THE MAKING OF
Initially, I had a different idea for the window but some of the props were rejected during the process. The SketchUp software helped me to visualise the design in the Gallery Space.
The aim of this window display was to create a contemporary version of 1960’s style. My inspiration was a movie called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinnerby Stanley Kramer. It was originally written as a play what is quite noticeable while watching the movie, through the narrative, dialogs, and the set up feels like a stage too.
At the time American white middle class was not ready for the mixed race relationships or marriages. Black Afro-Americans only started the struggle to become equal with the white Americans.
It was really an influential film for me growing up. There were so few representations of black people living as fully dimensional in a white culture. — Dawn Porter, African American filmmaker
I concentrated on Christina character played by Katharine Hepburn and chosen her as the main character for my window display. I found her the most important figure in the drama, the peacemaker, she is the one who built the bridge of peace inside the moral conflict.
Intensive blue was the most trendy colour of A/W 2014/15 season. I was working with blue, white and black colours on the mannequin accessories, walls, and props. I tried to recreate Christina’s style with the hat, long coat, and the striped shirt.
The gel filter used on the light was warm blue, I wanted to create the winter atmosphere. Later on, the gel was taken off … the light was warmer and it worked well during my photo shooting.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
directed by Stanley Kramer
In this story, the invitation of a black man to a white family’s dinner table is challenging the family. In my window display, the suspended upside down wine glasses reflects the change of values and chaos caused in the family in this 60s movie.