Submarine Channel

Chunk: JC/DC Vs Lego by Four H

We loved Four H‘s 3D animated Lego fashion film for Jean-Charles de Castelbajac so much (see our top 5 favorite online fashion films), we just had to add it to our collection of Chunks. We had an email chat with Four H’s charming creative director, Nicolas Cornet, to see if we could get to the bottom of this succulent visual soupçon. (Hey! Is that Anna Wintour on the front row?).

Since bursting onto the scene with the ‘teddy bear coat’ famously worn by Madonna in the late 1980s, Moroccan-born fashion and interior designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has been a firm fixture in the avant-garde sartorial scene, defined by his fusion of art and fashion, and his poppy, excessive style. For Spring / Summer 2009, rather than dealing with the back-stage turbulence of live fashion shows, he got together with Parisian audio-visual production studio Four H to create an animated runway, using unusually attractive little Lego people as models. We had a chat with Four H’s charming creative director, Nicolas Cornet, to see if we could get to the bottom of this succulent visual soupçon.

Can you tell us what the brief looked like for this project?
In fact, this whole project started with a message on >Facebook. Four H used to organize parties and I asked directly to Jean Charles de Castelbajac if he would be interested to work with us on his after-show party. He responded quite quickly and we saw each other. We were searching for a huge concept for his after-show party. He used to build some accessories in Lego (hats, glasses, necklaces…) for his fashion shows and I suggested we can go further and do a virtual fashion show with the Lego characters. He loved this idea of creating clothes for virtual characters. So we contacted Lego France and they were also enthusiastic about this idea. Two months later, the film was done.

Are the clothes featured in the animation real JC/DC designs?
Yes, all of these clothes have been produced. But he adapted all the clothes especially for the Lego characters.

What software did you use to create the piece?
Essentially 3DS Max, Maya and After Effects.

How did you make the sexy hip-swing movements and shiny textures so life-like?
This is our secret. If I tell you, I could loose my job so. ;)

Which part of the production was the most fun?
Definitely the movement of the characters. We had to find a way of walking that would replicate human movement as well as the Lego characters (which is more robotic). It wasn’t so simple to find a “golden middle”, the perfect balance.

And the most challenging aspects of the production were?
Time. We worked in HD so we needed a lot of time for calculating all the sequences of the film. From the brief to the final projection, we had only two months to do it all.

Are the models and characters in the animation based on real people?
No, we put some celebrities at the beginning in the audience (on the first row). But for a question of rights, we had to remove them finally. So, we just created characters inspired by real fashion critics and singers but without designing them as 100% real.

Why did you decide to use Lego?
Jean-Charles has been using Lego since 3 or 4 years for his fashion shows as accessories. Have a look on the dedicated website: >

It is widely reported on the blogs that this animation replaced Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s runway show for New York Fashion Week. Is this true?
I can’t tell u if it’s a joke or not. But it could the future of fashion.

Do you think fashion designers and brands in general will be reaching using digital channels and new ways to reach out to their audiences?
Yeah, totally sure. If you think about it, luxury industries have always been innovative and they use new technologies everywhere (websites with 3D navigation, concept stores, fashion show with huge video facilities…). The future of fashion will be also digital.



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