Eugene Leung's The Butterfly's Dream turns the notion of fashion film on its head. SHOWstudio's latest fashion film submission features an array of CG characters floating in an unearthly stratosphere wearing looks from INJURY's digital 2021/22 collection, while a darksynth track by REAL PARENT plays overhead. Recalling the chaotic, otherworldly panels by 16th century painter Hieronymus Bosch, The Butterfly's Dream treads the line between the virtual and the real with flair. One thing is certain – digital fashion is having a moment.
We spoke to Leung over email about the freedom of creating film with CG, animation as a time capsule, and why in the future, digital clothing will be just as important as physical clothing.
Violet Conroy: How did you come up with the idea for this film?
Eugene Leung: When we decided to make a fashion film for INJURY, the first thing that came into my mind was simulation theory and the digital world, which has been something I've been interested in for a while. We decided to name it The Butterfly’s Dream, which is an ancient story and philosophy that explores the idea of ‘reality is an illusion’ and whether dreams could be reality, and metaphorically resemble our theme of simulation hypothesis. The theme became the backbone of the film, and I thought that a music video-format short film was a good way for us to merge a sci-fi fantasy theme with fashion presentation.
VC: What made you want to make a fashion film using CG, instead of shooting in the real world?
EL: The CG format allows us to expand our storytelling to the dimension of the fantasy world, which is essential for such a sci-fi surreal theme that we worked on. Without limitations of a physical format, we have a lot more creative freedom to explore new possibilities of aesthetics, colours, shapes and textures. In a CG environment, we can build a set that is almost impossible in the real world, our avatar models and hyper-human characters can escape gravity, and float in the air easily. We also like the idea that a CG film made in 2021 will be viewed so differently in the future.
VC: Why did you choose to create your 2021/22 collection digitally instead of physically?
EL: Slow fashion is one of our ongoing destinations, we are always seeking ways to create our collections more sustainably. While we will still able to deliver our concept and clothings in detailed fittings, textures and colours, creating clothes digitally can minimise wastage and resources, and sometimes create even more. We also believe that digital fashion is currently a very interesting phenomenon, we would like to create a journey for consumers to experience the digital collection first, and then we will bring them on to the physical collection in part two, it will be a different perspective and experience.
VC: Tell me about the music in the film?
EL: The music ‘Desert of the Real’ was created simultaneously with the fashion film based on the same theme, by music collective REAL PARENT. While most of the scenes in the film are at a slower pace for audiences to explore the characters, in contrast the electronic music was a blend of different genres including trance, synth wave & IDM. It is in quite a fast tempo, we would like to experiment with these combination of visual and audio to create an intense and adventurous atmosphere.
VC: In your opinion, what is the future of digital fashion?
EL: I think in the future, digital fashion will become equally important to physical fashion. As people explore more about their second lives in the virtual world, the need for digital fashion will rise. While the technology of creating digital fashion is always improving, I think the line between physical and digital fashion will blur further in the future.