With Absolutely Fabulous out in cinemas tomorrow, I had the perfect excuse to catch up with talented designers Vin & Omi to discuss their involvement in the new film, what it's like working with funny gal Jane Horrocks, and what we can expect from the fabulous duo next...
Hi guys! How are you?
Tell me about your involvement in the new Ab Fab film?
We were initially called in to think about a costume problem they had in the film. Bubble’s outfit had to transform in the scene and it was a tricky one to work out. We can’t give away the plot, but needless to say it was a challenge. After solving that problem we were asked to design a few more outfits. We wanted to make Bubble contemporary and relevant. After chats with Jane (Bubble) and Rebecca Hale who was the overall Head of Costume for the film we came up with additional social media outfits. We made 18 pieces in total which included shoes and hats. One dress was made with 500 handmade flowers and we went on to make a further 3 copies of it. We came fairly late into the project, so it was all very intensive, we had to draft in an extra small team to make it work. We jumped around on set a bit as some of the outfits were tricky to work with. Being on set was… surreal.
You knew Jane Horrocks and Jennifer Saunders already, right?
Jennifer had been very supportive coming to some of our shows. Her daughter, Freya, was our assistant for a while. Jennifer’s as lovely as you’d expect.
We had already got the call to do Bubble’s outfits when, purely coincidentally, Jane came to one of our shows via her top hairdresser Lino Carbosiero who works on our shows. When she came backstage she had no idea we would be working so closely with her. She’s since become a great friend. She also walked in our last fashion show which was a great fun!
How does it feel to have such talented women wearing your clothes?
We get a buzz when any people we like wear our clothes, famous or not. We have to like the people we are working with and luckily we love working with Jane. She was very inspirational throughout the whole process. It also really helped to have the Head of Costume be very trusting in letting us just flow with ideas and designs. Rebecca just let us get on with it and design and make basically what we wanted. We threw lots and lots of designs at Rebecca and Jane and then we went with the ones that were likely to work the best.
One of Bubble’s dresses is also hanging in one of Liberty’s windows at the moment, which begs the question; What’s more challenging, dressing a celebrity or a shop window?
Yes, the outfit in the Liberty window is called the hashtag outfit It is made of padded hashtags; Bubble’s new language. Some of the hashtags are abbreviated secret messages, some more obvious like #patsyisaslag. We also made an emoji outfit made out of small emoji cushions - that one is doing the rounds on posters and trailers. The Liberty team used our hashtag cushion concept as inspiration for all of their windows, which was very flattering.
And LOL, dressing a celebrity is way more challenging! Most celebrities come with a range of insecurities and anxieties - and who can blame them. They are on show all the time and get hacked to pieces in the press if they are having a bad hair day. We’re used to going through a whole range of emotions with some celebrities; its part of the job!!
Looking ahead, how far are you into designing your next collection and can you tell me what it’s inspired by?
We are in the middle of the next collection at the moment. This season will be much more high end couture. It will be an ‘arty’ collection. Last season we had an overwhelming turn up for our show and around 700 people didn’t get in. This season we have stepped it up a notch with a larger space. Our SS17 show will be on the 19th of September at the Congress Centre, a really great venue right next to Tottenham Court Road. (For ticket enquires email: firstname.lastname@example.org )
And when are we collaborating on an obscenely priced t-shirt? I’m poor.
Everything you do is obscene!!! But yes it’s time for some wearable Portis - let’s talk!
Lastly, who is more Patsy and who is more Edina out of the two of you?
Omi is definitely Bubble. Vin definitely had a bit of Patsy on the go years ago but has smartened up his act.