Many of our traditional boundaries are shifting and wavering today. This fall, a new fashion label will make its debut in response to these current trends. Produced by Tokyo-based creative studio KLEINSTEIN, BIÉDE was established to showcase the concepts of genderless and borderless with a view to reinventing the very definition of—and ideals associated with—uniformity. The creative team is anonymous and consists of multinational teams.
The first items in the collection to be released are three leather bags meticulously handcrafted by professional artisans from Guangzhou, China. Craftsmanship and a modern sense of style are skillfully brought together here to create items worthy of the label’s debut.
For the launch of its first collection, BIÉDE collaborated with Quentin Shih, a leading visual artist in China today. The Beijing-based photographer and filmmaker, whose work has been featured in galleries in Los Angeles and Paris, is known for both his art projects and commercial work with luxury brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada.
For this project, Quentin Shih set the scenes in a Chinese apartment and on the beach, in accordance with the BIÉDE brand concept / story. Quentin Shih’s unique sense of color, lighting, and composition is on full display in this shoot. He has created a fantastic, surrealistic image depicting the idea of “somewhere not here.” 8 out of 19 works shot by Quentin Shih for the collaboration will be displayed at STIENBOX in Aoyama, Tokyo, along with the three new bags from BIÉDE. The exhibition will be open to the public starting September 12.
For this exhibition, TOKION interviewed Quentin Shih by e-mail. We asked him about how he collaborated with the brand, what he wanted to express, his creative philosophy, the Chinese photography scene, and Japanese photographers that he keeps in his sights.
I wanted to create a scene that could be anywhere.
——What was the thing you wanted to express most in this collaboration project with BIÉDE? What did you think when you received the collection story from them?
Quentin Shih: According to BIÉDE’s concept, I just wanted to create something between east and west, dream and reality, just “nowhere,” or somewhere could be “anywhere,” that’s interesting because it’s for a Japanese brand, and we see Japan although located in the East Asia but a western country.
——What did you keep in mind when selecting locations and models for the shoot?
Quentin Shih: Since it’s for a bag, and the design of the bag is minimal and modern, so for the location I chose a space that is simple, modern and could be an apartment, a hotel room or a showing space, I also went to the seaside to create some surrealistic dreams feeling. For the wardrobes, I chose some reflective and shiny materials to match the leather texture of the bag. For the model, I chose a girl who looks unisex, and between a human and a robot.
——BIÉDE’s brand concept is “genderless” and “borderless”, seeking a new kind of “uniform” through the creation. What are your thoughts on these keywords?
Quentin Shih: For me, BIÉDE is a simple brand but for people with complicated minds. It’s a style of futurism, emotionless and very frigid. That’s very cool.
——The color sense and composition of your work, and the way you create images that don’t fit into the “East/West” dichotomy, are highly original. What is your creative philosophy?
Quentin Shih: I always create images that related to my memories or recollections, light and color are two of my strong visual languages. For me, taking pictures is like to evoke some memories in my deep mind. It’s like traveling to the past and seeking to meet somebody or somewhere that I’m already familiar with.
——How do you think the current state of the Chinese photography scene? And what is the uniqueness of the scene?
Quentin Shih: It’s pretty diverse, some young photographers learned photography from the US or Europe, and brought back some new visual languages, and because of social media, they are much easier than before to show their works.
——Are there any Japanese photographers who have attracted your attention?
Quentin Shih: When I studied photography more than 20 years ago, I shot B&W films, and Daidō Moriyama’s street photography influenced me a lot at that time. I’m not a big fan of Kishin Shinoyama and Yoshihiko Ueda, but they are both really popular in China and influenced a lot of young Chinese photographers, people see their style as typical “Japanese” photography style. I quite like Rinko Kawauchi’s work, her works are unique, surreal, shooting daily lives as day dreams, I can feel emptiness and meaning at the same time in her body of works.
This exhibition is a unique opportunity to experience Quentin Shih’s work first-hand, which has rarely been shown in Japan. We encourage you to see with your own eyes the beautiful and fantastic images inspired by “BIÉDE”.