The Veuve Clicquot Widow Series – Carine Roitfeld’s Seven Deadly Sins By Fiona Sanderson
World-renowned fashion editor Carine Roitfeld talks exclusively to The Luxury Channel on the eve of her ‘‘SEVEN’’ Widow Series exhibition for Veuve Clicquot….
It was with a sense of true excitement that The Luxury Channel joined guests including Yasmin Le Bon, Leomie Anderson and Eva Herzigova for the launch event to open ‘‘SEVEN,’’ the third instalment of The Veuve Clicquot Widow Series, curated this year by iconic fashion editor Carine Roitfeld.
Carine reminded us that ‘‘when we think of ‘The Widow’ – the founder of Veuve Clicquot – she was such a modern woman, a business woman in fact. She was born at a time when women were not allowed to have creative authority but she proved everyone wrong with her champagne house. She was the first person to copyright a champagne colour – which, of course, is Veuve Clicquot’s magical yellow gold. She was radical and an innovator. There is a tradition within Veuve Clicquot which has a radical feminine energy, and that is something that has inspired us in our production.’’
With that, we were immersed in Carine’s dark and elaborate vision of the Seven Deadly Sins and their contrasting virtues, presented across four floors of raw concrete and metal in a hidden, subterranean venue. Upon arrival, glasses of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label were poured for us by seven widows dressed in black by Tom Ford, before we relished in own own moment of sin by throwing the empty glasses down a three-storey shaft into oblivion. In amongst the smashing of glass, the eerie soundtracks accompanying each installation and the murmur of 300 guests, Veuve Clicquot’s Rosé and their newest launch, Extra Brut Extra Old, were poured for us all to enjoy.
We were then led on a journey through seven installations to experience the bewitching aspects of each sin. Roaming between the bustling spaces, we were immersed in the furore of Wrath through the eyes of FENDI, tempestuous Greed and Gluttony, slumberous Sloth, feverish Envy and Pride, and uncontrollable Lust, which had been dressed by Atsuko Kudo. We were grabbed by hands adorned with jewels, sauntered down a staircase of butterflies, were grimaced at by a woman buried beneath mattresses and were privy to a lustful performance by dancers bound in latex, with each installation enhanced by champagnes from the Veuve Clicquot portfolio.
Carine Roitfeld revealed to us that ‘‘Seven has always been my lucky number in life. I constantly find inspiration in the number seven: the shape of it, the sound of it, the meanings and what it represents. It’s the seven wonders of the world, it’s lucky seven, it’s the seven days of the week, and now for me, it’s Seven Deadly Sins.’’
Working alongside Carine to create the visual spectacle were renowned Creative Director Patrick Kinmonth (an internationally acclaimed opera set director and costume designer), and Antonio Monfreda, famed for his artistic work with Italian fashion house FENDI. Both supported Carine in bringing ‘‘SEVEN’’ to life and guided guests through the space, sharing their inspiration behind each vision. Patrick explained that they ‘‘wanted to make something that was really focussed. We have all experienced attempts to make environments that are immersive, but quite often these experiences can become quite generalised so we thought, let’s concentrate on something very clear and we quickly came to the idea of seven deadly sins, which is kind of a perennial subject for fashion, for art and for culture.’’ He added that, for this project, we thought about the magical world of the pleasure of Veuve Clicquot champagne and the idea of celebrating this time of year – witchcraft and other darker things – so we thought we could bring these all together, using seven categories and seven subjects to concentrate on artistically.’’
Carine’s enviable black book was fully utilised for the creation of the exhibition, with Tom Ford involved as the designer for the main bar dressing the seven ‘‘Carine’’hostesses, and FENDI providing lavish fabrics and a couture outfit for the sin of Wrath. Atsuko Kudo, the designer behind Kim Kardashian and Rita Ora’s famous latex dress designs, also co-curated the installation for the sin of Lust, and renowned Italian designer Gianvito Rossi also provided the footwear for the series.
Carine revealed that ‘‘as I come from a world of fashion, ‘‘SEVEN’’ had to have a big fashion emphasis. It’s interesting that people criticise the fashion world and say we are not very smart and we’re superficial, but funnily enough now that we have gone through this journey, they see that we do have soul and that we are thinking beyond the fashion pages.’’ Of the exhibition itself, she added that ‘‘I want people to let their emotions come out – to be shocked, or even disgusted – but certainly not to be indifferent.’’
Patrick agreed with her sentiments about perceptions of the fashion industry. ‘‘It’s interesting what Carine says. Over time, we have seen a change in the fashion world, and that is that fashion is no longer regarded as superficial; people understand that clothes are a manifestation of deep cultural processes. It proves that the general public are extremely capable of making these profound connections to do with clothes, ideas, emotions and meanings. People have no problem with the idea that clothes can be a make-up of profound ideas – and the Alexander McQueen exhibition was a good example of this.’’