Matrimony Collection - available now!

Chapter 4_ Matrimony

Matrimony |

Chapter 4_

Matrimony. Matrimony came out of a huge realisation that I had. I looked at my life and realised how content I was. Or rather how in love and fulfilled I am with family, my friends and my work. I am never fully ‘content’. I am work obsessed and am constantly reflecting on past work and planning my next move and concept and trying to figure out what my heart is trying to articulate… I haven’t always been complete as myself, and I probably still have moments when I am not, but I am always pushing myself to do better, do more, challenge myself, question myself & the work I am doing/I am yet to do, the person I was and am and strive to be etc... and then I have moments of contentment with myself when I acknowledge where I am at & how far I’ve come to get there. That wanting to do more and be better comes from me. Wanting more from myself – as a human, a creative, a boss to some, a collaborator, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a stranger… even wanting more from my self for my self. And that’s when it kind of hit me. I wasn’t ‘missing’ anything in my life. I wasn’t waiting for the other half to turn up and save me or complete me. I am that other half. But for some reason it feels dirty to say ‘I’m married to my work’… Like it’s an excuse or a distraction from deep loneliness. The truth is – I’d fucking love to meet someone who would challenge the attention & focus & love that I have for what I do. But I don’t need that. I started to think about how we don’t really celebrate that self love in the same way we celebrate the union of two people – and let’s be honest… Up until recently that was only the love and union of two straight people… and we still have a very long way to go with achieving absolute love equality.

So I wanted to embrace that realisation & put it out there in a positive and empowered way – and also acknowledge and champion the journey that it takes to commit to yourself, all of yourself, completely – despite all the odds, negativity, pity, judgement & moments in between. I basically decided to shoot a film (I was trying to take the pressure off myself and my team as I gave us a month to create & present Matrimony… That was a month to sketch the collection, create the collection, storyboard the film, cast the film, shot both film + editorials + look book, edit, compose soundtracks… and fit in the million other elements I decided to add in along the way)… So as anyone who has met me or worked with me would know… A ‘small’ production is never going to remain ‘small’. I think for every production I have conceived so far the number of garments per collection has always at least tripled. For example, with Matrimony I think it was originally going to be 4 actors/4looks… Next minute we have a cast of 20… So that was 20+ looks… A team of approximately 60… and 1 month to make this ‘small’ vision a big reality.

To start our storyboarding process, I invited a group of friends and collaborators over to have some wine & unpack the words ‘marriage’ vs ‘matrimony’. Everyone there had in some way experienced rejection and judgement from mainstream society, from the church and, specifically, the institution of marriage because of their gender, their sexuality or how they choose to identify themselves. The whole idea of fighting to have your love for another, or yourself, not respected and acknowledged is such an unbelievable reality that too many people live with.

The evening was incredibly beautiful, shocking, deeply personal and eye opening for us all… and a complete privilege to be a part of.

We recorded over 4hrs of discussions over many glasses of wine. Many themes came up – like sacrifice and how choosing to sacrifice a part yourself for something can actually be the bravest thing you can choose to do. When sacrifice is a choice it adds character and strengthens character. Love brings vulnerability and choosing to love is courageous. We are on earth to live our most challenging lives. You must choose yourself first – to choose yourself every day, to stand by yourself every day and in every way. That sort of self-love and self-ownership is so powerful – and takes so much courage to commit to that. It’s not given enough credit how huge that commitment to self can be – especially to those whose identity isn’t acknowledged, encouraged or respected. The sacrifice theme came into the self-love conversation also, as there is often an element of sacrifice in letting go of who you are – in order to discover whom you could be, or want to be. Then again, a beautiful partnership should enhance who you are and teach you more about yourself. These are lessons we decided you cannot get from friends/anyone else – it has to come from an intimate partnership. Maybe these union’s don’t have to last forever. We discussed vows and the beauty of speaking so honestly and openly about your love for another person, in front of more people that you love – is something truly powerful and beautiful. We described it as a moment of binding. Really, we are bound to different people at different times in our lives, and in so many different ways. Not all of these moments & relationships & lessons need to be forever. I think we can learn from ‘vows’ and make them something that we use more frequently in life – to make sure the people we love know that.

We eventually came to the conclusion that marriage was the act of giving up something that is yours whereas matrimony is sharing something that is yours. Matrimony is essentially a more evolved version of Marriage and doesn’t exclude people and their love based off of gender, sexuality and identity. 

Casting this film was such a beautiful process. We sent a questionnaire off to all the team members so we could understand their feelings towards matrimony vs marriage, to start that discussion early and to hear a lot bit more about why they wanted to be a part of this project.

We had decided in the film we would start be introducing the characters & confronting them with the symbols that had judged or rejected them for their gender, sexuality or identity. The characters would smash that symbol, smoke that symbol and destroy that symbol so that they could come into their own matrimony of self, a partnership, or both. We had scenes with Eve taking down Adam, a queer couple taking down the church, a lesbian couple taking down the patriarchy… etc and all dripping in head to toe latex garments inspired by wedding parties and the dark fairy tales from the minds of the Brothers Grimm.

The colour palette was a complete candy coloured rainbow, with lots of latex bows embellishing every look. One dress was literally called the ‘cake topper’. We wanted the sets and the outfits to look synthetic – like the institution of marriage we were taking a stand against.

The show itself opened with a gospel choir singing an edited version of ‘Be My Husband’ by Nina Simone. The allies & bridal parties entered & took their places at the alter, we played the film, followed by the happy couples + happy selves joining their allies and bridal parties on the stage. The choir then sang a song written by Creamy Spies, the gospel choir leader, which was inspired by the story of Matrimony and called ‘Middle of Me’… I also surprised people by joining in singing with the choir at this point. I grew up in punk bands – my voice has always been one of the rawest and most unapologetic things about me. So, it seemed appropriate to go back to that. There’s nothing more raw and honest than live vocals. You can’t hide behind anything, you have to commit. There was a verse in the song written for & dedicated to my mother Maryanne – my love for that woman is as deep as the Mariana, which is the deepest and warmest part of the Pacific Ocean. In a way, that moment was a vow of love for my mother, who I called Muthys. I haven’t sung publicly for her like that since my father’s funeral. Which I realise was my vow to him all those years ago.

I remember as opposed to writing a speech to read out on that day.

All those years ago.

I chose to sing.

My voice on that day was actually limitless.

Which was the most perfect vow I could commit too.

Limitless love.

 

Middle Of Me

 

CH

I go back to the middle of me

make my way back to the middle of me

 

VS

caught myself wondering

what the hell this all means

you had my love, what did you do with it?

poured it all out and now I'm through wit it

I'm tired of being still

tip-toe-ing around how you feel

so now I don't give a damn

cos I remembered who the fuck I am

 

CH

I go back to the middle of me

make my way back to the middle of me x2

 

[Choir chant]

there was a girl

her name was alabama

she had a love

deep as the Mariana

thick jet black hair

tumbles down past her shouldas

and had a belly of fiyah

that can burn all you suckers

 

bridge

....ooooh im loving on me yeah

 

CH

I go back to the middle of me

make my way back to the middle of me x2