Dancing and club culture have long been an escape for outsiders everywhere. For the LGBTQ community, punks, freaks and weirdos, clubs have served as very necessary safe havens and second homes. For Kenzo’s Spring ’17 campaign, the brand paid homage to these sacred spaces through a technicolor fashion film, Club Ark Eternal. Recognizing nightlife as “a powerful source of alternative energies against racism, sexual oppression and class violence,” the film, directed by frequent collaborator, Partel Oliva, and choreographed by Ryan Heffington, showcases the almost inherent pull in movement.
“With clubbing spaces obviously needing to be understood and protected, we tried to think of impossible alternatives,” said the brand, in a statement. “With many countries around the world entering a winter of the soul, we wanted to celebrate the kids who go out in 15°F/-2°C.”
“It’s a film about dancing, but we approached it with the idea of not taking dancing for granted,” added Oliva. “So we sat with Ryan and the dancers, showed them a video of a man, clearly not a pro, dancing with such abandon that he seemed deep in thought, on the brink of discovery—it’s about dance as pleasure and privilege.”
Inspired by a model she met on set in Angola, Oliva channeled trance states to create a hypnotizing take on the transcendent power of dance.
“We wanted the film to shift between modes, like a dancer searching for steps or roving kids looking for a party,” she said. “We also drew from research we did on trance states for another project. The structure of the film mimics moving through planes of experience: induction, breathwork, ecstasy, convulsions, sensory illusions, visions. Sometimes the dancer reaches the light, sometimes she doesn’t.”
Watch Club Ark Eternal, below.