KENZINE: The Fall/Winter campaign 2013 was an outright success and many people suggested it was one of the strongest of the year… Not bad for a first campaign as a team! According to you, what does it take to create a great campaign and make a difference?
Toiletpaper team: Toiletpaper images are made of simple images: it’s something you can easily describe during a dinner with friends, but without being able to completely explain that uncanny feeling it creates in your stomach. Same thing for the campaign: it probably worked well because of its way of treating the familiar as unfamiliar and vice versa.
K: what are the key elements you need when you create a campaign for KENZO?
TP: We’re not sure if there are key elements, because every change is good for creativity, and every habit is probably not. We believe that KENZO is a brand that fits our ideas and our vision of beauty like a glove. It's as simple as this.
K: The first time you shot for KENZO, the set was a bit crazy with the two horses, the kittens and Humberto’s mask... This time, was it more serious?
TP: As we said before, we like to change a lot from time to time… It had nothing to do with seriousness, since those huge plastic fishes were like a punch in the eye of tastefulness, weren't they?
K: What was the initial brief from Carol and Humberto?
TP: It’s a strange feeling: it is really hard to recall how it started when the work is finished… We probably talked about monastery and Orient, and some music also… But in the end, during the shooting brainstorming continues independently from where it started, as a Chinese whisper.
K: What was the inspiration? A bit of Hokusai? Film Noir? Mythology? Surrealism?
TP: If you want to come with a good recipe, you need to mix together a lot of ingredients, but none of them should cover the others. Just remember that in our dishes what looks tasty and yummy usually is also lethal.. Try it at your own risk!
K: Did you start with drawings, mood boards, collages?
TP: Basically mood boards and collages, but we must admit that the hardest side of working with us is probably that you’ll never know what to expect until you’re on shooting phase: that’s the moment where great ideas spring like frogs in a pond.
K: Who does what inside the TOILETPAPER team during the photo shoot?
TP: There are some phases of the work while we discuss all together, these sharing moments are fundamental for the shooting phase. Then naturally we begin to outline the roles more and more. Maurizio, is a kind of a deus ex machina who always manages to keep the right distance from the images, to criticize them in a neutral manner. Pierpaolo has this ability to improvise and reinvent, changing a comma or a whole set, even things that were already established. Micol is the aesthetic eye, and she knows how to tip the balance in the final stage of the number, when the cake is done and the decoration on top is missing. In any case, the territories do not have clear boundaries, and the invasion is more than welcome, because there are no fixed rules.
K: How was it like to shoot kids this time, do they allow more creativity, more craziness, more energy?
TP: We are like children too, so the feeling was not very different from what we usually get during the set.
K: You have influenced lots of different artists/photographers/designers, who influences you?
TP: A lot of artist, photographers and designers! And some very normal people as well: we are like sponges with legs: we go around, see things that affect our imagination and absorb them… That’s why it’s not so easy to go back to the influencers.
K: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
TP: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
K: A secret you could share with us about the shooting?
TP: We brought the fish back home and keep it in an inflatable pool. It’s still there in our office
K: What are your favorite pieces from the Spring/Summer collection and why?
TP: We liked everything so much we couldn’t make a choice, really!
K: What do you share with KENZO in terms of values, in terms of aesthetic?
TP: We both are colorful and do not take ourselves too seriously… That’s the secret to stay mentally young and creative.
K: Why is it important to be irreverent?
TP: Because otherwise you’re already dead.