L’oréal embraces nouveaux animation

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To celebrate the launch of Bonbon Couture, the new eau de perfume by L’oréal’s Viktor & Rolf, fashion illustrator Piet Paris and Holland-based creative production studio Ambassadors have created custom illustrations, brought to life through animated storytelling.

Clichy-based L’oréal is the world’s largest cosmetics company. Piet Paris (pseudonym of Pieter ‘t Hoen, 1962) was once the art school teacher of Viktor & Rolf and has partnered with the Dutch fashion duo on several occasions.

For Flowerbomb, the first perfume by Viktor & Rolf (one of the most popular luxury women’s fragrances in the world), Piet Paris created illustrations and designed numerous catwalk designs for the duo.

Piet Paris discovered Ambassadors with the help of Christian Borstlap, who previously made an animation for Louis Vuitton with the creative production studio. Early this year Borstlap collaborated with Ambassadors on the new corporate identity of the creative production studio.

Together with Vincent Lammers, head of design & animation and director at Ambassadors, Mr. Paris created the animation for Bonbon Couture, which can be seen online and will be on display in shops and luxury department stores worldwide. Besides the animation Joep Meijburg, Composer & Sound Designer at Ambassadors created the music and sound design.

The scoop from the creators
“Normally I work on my own, so this was a first collaborative effort for me,” Paris said. “That was the big difference, but from the start it went well – actually we finished each other’s sentences.”

“After the first meetings with Vincent I made 24 illustrations as a storyboard. Throughout the process we didn’t deviate from those original designs, so that speaks for itself.”

On the animation itself Paris said: “My characters are usually drawn from the side and profile view. This created the idea to have the figure walk out of the paper. Normally the perspective of an illustration is depth. Now the perspective was a horizontal narrative. That worked really well.”

“Furthermore, the customer (L’oréal) had a number of conditions, including the use of colour, props (such as scissors and pincushion) and of course the bottle. But these are all iconic fashion images, so this was not an obstacle creatively.

What is the strength of the story?
Mr Paris: “Something is happening in the animation that transforms the protagonist. She gets a new dress and ends up on the catwalk; in one way or another the catwalk remains – like a football stadium with artificial light, for example – greatly appealing to the imagination.”

On working with Ambassadors, Paris says: “Again, I have had from the very beginning the feeling that I was understood by Ambassadors. That does not always happen in the case of artistic types like me (laughs). They serve a need, but of course at the same time they are creators. Therefore each meeting felt like a chat instead of searching for something “creative”; that was there, in fact the whole time.

“They were only located so far away, but I understand that they are soon going to open a branch on one of the canals. So that is now solved.”

The special sauce
Joep Meijburg, composer & sound designer said: “The briefing of Piet for the music was a music box and a song of Justin Timberlake. Vincent and I thought it was a funny briefing. However I thought: okay, how do we bring this together?

“First I composed a piece in the style of a music box as the starting point. The music I alienated further and further, pulling the composition of the music towards the sound design to make it more vague.

“Pretty soon the idea came to make the beginning and the end cute. The middle has become a fusion of music and sound design. The “beat” in the sound design gives the music some more punch. It ends small, with the packshot quite nice on the last “ping of sound”.

“It was a super cool project to work on. It’s quite nice when you get so much creative freedom. That only makes it more exciting.”

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