Knight’s A Beautiful Darkness was the first in a new series of creative events to be held annually with the champagne brand Veuve Clicquot, who will be partnering each year with a creative luminary to produce an alternative Halloween happening.
The series celebrates creative vision and freedom of expression, whilst paying homage to Madame Clicquot, who after being widowed (hence the name – Veuve meaning widow), took on her late husband’s champagne business. She went on to pioneer several innovations in the industry including the riddling table to enable the production of clear, non-cloudy wines, and mixing red with white to create rosé champagne.
This year, renowned image-maker Knight curated a series of rooms with creatives including fashion designer Gareth Pugh, taxidermist Rose Robson, and perfumer Michael Boadi.
“I have curated the show to stimulate all of our senses; sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, and also our sense of the paranormal,” Knight explained. “I hope A Beautiful Darkness will be a truly unique cultural event that will offer attendees a new way of seeing fashion and art as well as proposing a beautiful new dark aesthetic to celebrate Halloween.”
The event also saw the launch of five new films from SHOWstudio inspired by the language of horror, including the dark, glitchy, spine-tingling spectacle, The Face of a Dying Dog, by Nick Knight, Charlotte Stockdale, Rupert Friend and Younji Ku. (Check out the rest of the films at showstudio.com).
As Knight suggested, the language of horror went beyond just the visual, with some intriguing theatrical elements and interactive installations. From being greeted at the door by Thom Browne’s veiled gentlemen in formal mourning dress (who were also DJing), through to Gareth Pugh’s twisted dancing clowns clad in his classic clubwear look; from exploring macabre fashion illustrations by candle light, to Janina Pedan’s tribal masks of superstition; from aerial performance from Sasha Krohn with Tessa Kuragi, to the enveloping, heady scent of Michael Boadi’s Magnificent Rose room, with a perfume created especially for the event.
With the carefully selected artists and newly commissioned work, the sumptuous gothic aesthetic, and with visitors freely roaming the building, the event demonstrated the potential of these types of collaborations – it felt like a genuine good fit, without trying too hard to be cool.
The objectives might need a little fine-tuning – the inviting bar with its rows of gleaming bottles, black rose bouquets and wing back chairs perhaps drew in crowds for too long – but the celebration of cross-discipline art forms certainly has some strength for future Widow Series events.
Don’t have your Halloween costume sorted yet? Check out Isamaya French’s freaky masks available to download from the SHOWstudio website now.