Q&A: Honor Designer Giovanna Randall Talks Zosia Mamet, Fashion Zombies

By
Play Video

Fashion films tend to have an overly ethereal gloss (ably mocked by Vena Cava in the brand's Fashion Film video), which is why Honor designer Giovanna Randall's latest video struck such a chord. The five-minute short takes place in a graveyard and— not to give anything away, of course — involves an encounter with the undead. Randall chats about the real-life inspiration behind the somewhat goth, Zosia-and-Zoe-starring (that would be Mamet and Kazan, of course) clip. 

I know Zosia is a big fan of yours and is often at your shows. Was it fairly easy convincing her to participate?

It was a dream come true having Zosia participate in our film. I thought it might be hard to convince her, but I was pleasantly surprised.

 How did you link up with Zoe?

We dressed Zoe for a premiere and when fitting her, I just thought she was so lovely — such an interesting person. I thought, Why not ask her if she would be in the film? I didn't expect her to agree to it either, but she did.

Lucky. And what about the director, Rachel Fleit?

Rachel's background is in film and theatre. We'd been working toward her directing one of our films for quite a while, and this just seemed like the right one. She wrote this film, and after having five films under our belt, we felt confident that we were ready.

 How did you come up with the concept? What message did you want the film to convey?

The spring 2014 collection was inspired by a nighttime party under a canopy of trees among fireflies and a bit of magic. But underneath that was the question of whether or not the party was a wedding or a funeral. I started thinking about the times that bring us together, where we laugh and cry. From there, Rachel crafted a story that was really near and dear to both of our hearts because since we started HONOR, both of us lost our grandmothers within one year of each other— on the same day. The story came from a real place, although fantastical.

Given all the graveyard symbolism, this is a bit darker than your typical fashion film. How do you feel about that?

I don't know; death is a part of life. I wouldn't say it's dark so much as sad. I think loss is inevitable, and you have to go through that process of losing something to have something new in your life. It was more about sadness and moving on from loss than about dark and scary.

How did you find the Locust Valley location you shot at?

Both Rachel and I grew up on Long Island. We wanted someplace that felt strangely like home even though neither of us grew up in a home so magnificent. I was looking for a place that was absolutely beautiful but had natural wear and tear and a tiny bit of decay.

 What kind of reactions have you been getting?

I think the most exciting thing is that consistently people have been intrigued, and had a lot of questions about the film. When we screened the film at the Violet launch party, I noticed everyone was riveted to the film, which was exciting for Rachel and I, because you work so hard on something and you don't really know if it's good or interesting. I've been very involved in the process, and I think after you've seen something that many times and gone through that many edits, you don't really know what it looks like to you anymore. It's like staring at your own face in the mirror for too long and then you don't know what you look like. It was exciting that people had any reaction at all — to me, strong reactions are great. Some people have been moved to tears, some people are confused or see the humor in it, and I love that too.

Are you planning any future fashion films or similar projects?

Since we started the company, Rachel and I have made at least one film each year, and we hope to continue to do so. It's my favorite way to let a collection go, and an opportunity to share what I find most precious about it with the world.