What could be more fun than a shop-able exhibition? To celebrate London Fashion Week, which begins its inaugural SS13 women’s wear shows today, and all things British, Matches has asked visual maverick Emma Davidge to install a showcase of Britain’s best designer wears.
I've been obsessed with mannequins from a very young age. I would have my nose to the glass, inventing stories in my head on where the mannequin was going and what she was doing – I guess the rest is history!
Since husband and wife duo Tom and Ruth Chapman founded their original Matches store in Wimbeldon (hence the name) they have promoted, stocked and offered support to young English, Irish and Welsh designers. From Saturday their Marylebone store will be transformed by Davidge – whose company, Chameleon has worked for Christian Louboutin, Louis Vuitton and Hermès and has made her a respected industry insider – into a homage to Matches' favourite designers, from A. Sauvage to Vivienne Westwood. Dazed Digital spoke to Emma Davidge ahead of the opening of her latest installation.
Dazed Digital: For fashion week you're working with Matches and celebrating British design. How are you translating this concept into an installation?
Emma Davidge: I wanted the design to have a strong reference to both [Matches founders] Tom and Ruth Chapman's personalities and what the Matches brand means to them both. I also wanted to ensure the installation carried the Matches handwriting. I started with a story (I always do), which was based on 'The Book of Matches', referencing the magazine that they publish each season and reflecting their various media channels. It made sense to me to work on a concertina design, so that it looks like pages unfolding from a match box. The oversized match box is the feature at the front of the store and the structure of the entire space unfolds from it.
DD: What has been the most rewarding aspect of putting this display together?
Emma Davidge: To be honest, I have to say it's working with Tom and Ruth. They are always so open to ideas and fun to work with, which makes all of our processes so much easier and making the whole project more rewarding.
DD: Your company, Chameleon, offers a wide range of visual creative services - how did you discover you had a talent for this field?
Emma Davidge: I've been obsessed with mannequins from a very young age – as a child, I would go shopping at the weekend with my parents, and would stand outside the shop with my Dad, whilst my Mum went shopping with my sister. I would have my nose to the glass, inventing stories in my head on where the mannequin was going and what she was doing – I guess the rest is history! I left school and went straight into a full time role at Browns on South Molton Street as a junior, and have been working in visuals ever since.
DD: Your work usually involves showcasing clothing - it must be difficult to bring life to a display of clothing that is ultimately static, can you give us a few tips of tricks of the trade?
Emma Davidge: If it’s a static installation of hanging ready-to-wear it’s slightly harder as you have to consider the linear footage and the accessibility for shopping collections. I think we have brought the Matches concept to life in an engaging way, which conveys the evolution of the brand from boutiques to a global online business. As for tricks of the trade, you'd have to kill me before I let any secrets slip out, we have to keep some illusion of magic to what we do!
DD: You've worked with a wide range of luxury clients - Louis Vuitton, Vogue, Christian Louboutin, etc - what do you like about collaborating with a brand’s aesthetic on a brief?
Emma Davidge: I enjoy all of the work we take on for many different reasons:, there is something nice about switching hats and working under different aesthetics. We're called Chameleon for a reason…we do something different every day.
The exhibition, which is open to the public, runs from Friday 14th – Monday 24th September
Photography Chameleon Visual Ltd and Melvyn Vincent