Interview with fashion designer Geoffrey B Small taken during the brand’s Paris Fashion Week September 2019 show.
1.Fashion Magazine 24: Hello, Geoffrey! FM24 is pleased to have seen your show in Paris and to get the opportunity to understand your vision.How would you describe your brand?
Geoffrey : I am more than happy to share my brand’s vision with FM24 readers ! GBS has always been particularly for people who think differently. L’Alcibiade, our last show, probably got people think more than ever before.
2. FM24: A very unique mise-en-scene/presentation has been prepared for your last SS2020 show, L’Alcibiade. Could you tell us more about it?
Geoffrey: It’s the first live opera performance during a Paris runway show, in the history of Paris’ fashion. It was a very ambitious presentation, our 109th in Paris. This was a world premiere, it hasn’t been performed since 1680 until tonight in Paris. It’s a play on quite a few different time periods and we had to depict several stories at different times.
3. FM24: What about the plot of the opera and the collection?
Geoffrey: The story is about a great war hero, [Alcibiade] who returns from a hard campaign, only to be egged on again by Socrates to join yet another war, the biggest and most ambitious campaign yet, that is the campaign (of Athens in the Peloponnesian war 2500 years ago) against Sicily. The runway itself symbolizes the entrance to the Athenian senate, so the models are walking through trying to get into the senate dressed as senators. We took liberty with that and dressed women in contemporary dress. Our new collection has a very masculine, non-gender feel to it.
4. FM24: The message behind the opera is extremely modern. Do you think it can also be useful to read and understand the present?
Geoffrey: There is a tremendous thread about women’s rights, misogyny, oppression going throughout this entire story. Alcibiade is also played by a woman in this, as it was written in the opera by composer Marc’Antonio Ziani. The opera takes many plays at sexuality and gender. It’s a feminist play, a feminist opera. The moral of the story is that women have power, the have knowledge, the have capability, maybe they are even more capable than men in running the world in which they lived in and maybe in which we living today. We think it’s a very powerful piece with a very powerful message that pertain to today regarding repression, gender issues, war issues, ambition and power.
5. FM24: Why does this opera have such a modern message?
Geoffrey: Venice at that time was the hotbed of a sexual revolution that was taking place in Europe, as well as the birthplace of Feminism in the western World, with many women taking on roles never before seen in Europe up until that time.
6. FM24: What are you is trying to say to a fashion audience by choosing to stage a live opera with a Paris runway show?
Geoffrey: The power of these human voices is really amazing. It’s part of our ongoing push to try to strive to show what human excellence, skill and collaboration can achieve today when great people work together and try to hit new heights.