Design Army's photo-heavy campaign for Hong Kong Ballet celebrates culture
Design Army’s involvement coincides with a new era of innovation at the ballet since it welcomed its new art director Septime Webre last July. Webre’s inventive style and revamp of the ballet company is exactly what Design Army sought out to capture with its campaign. “Our intent was to transport people to a timeless journey of Hong Kong, where today meets tomorrow,” says Pum Lefebure, chief creative officer and co-founder of Design Army. “We saw this was an opportunity to shake things up in Hong Kong.”
The campaign, which was developed for the Hong Kong Ballet’s 2018/2019 seasonal productions, is centered on the tagline “Never Stand Still.” The photographs star the dancers from the company in gravity-defying poses throughout the city, shot by photographer Dean Alexander. The colour palette of rich red, muted jade and mint greens give the illusion of a surrealist fairy tale—dreamy and magical.
The Design Army team picked every detail to highlight the city, from the clothing to the locations. “We looked at familiar elements of Hong Kong—from landmarks, temples and eateries to fashion, hairstyle, makeup, symbols and colours, and brought in iconic elements like dim sum, fans and parasols, and more,” says Lefebure. Even the ballerina’s buns are stylized to represent the city skyline.
The dancers pose in front of known landmarks such as the Tin Hau Temple, Mido Cafe, the Ying Fat Buildings and the Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant. With the Mido Cafe shot, Lefebure wanted to capture a 1950s vibe and was inspired by Wong Kar-Wai’s film, In The Mood For Love. “What makes this shot so surreal is that the cafe is so, so tiny—the dancer must have kicked that ceiling 100 times,” she says.
The thinking behind the Tin Hau shot was to “mimic the temple’s round architecture,” says Lefebure. “A modern ballerina guarding the entrance of an ancient Tin Hau temple is symmetry at its best. I call it photography by design,” she says.
Although Design Army’s photographs look effortless, they did run into a couple of hiccups. When planning for the shot in front of the Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant, the boat they received was much smaller than what they imagined and extremely wobbly. On top of this, Lefebure and her team were met with rush hour water taxi traffic. However they quickly readjusted to the situation and got the perfect shot. “After some careful boat manoeuvring, we caught a break—the fog machines were rolling, wind was optimal, and the dancers finally got their sea legs,” she says.
See more images from the campaign below, as well as in the top slider.
CLIENT: Hong Kong Ballet
Artistic Director: Septime Webre
CREATIVE AGENCY: Design Army
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Design Army: Pum Lefebure
CEO, Design Army: Jake Lefebure
Creative Director, Design Army: Sucha Becky
Art Director, Design Army: Heloise Condroyer
Director/DP: Dean Alexander
DP Assistant: Erin Winebrenner, Digitech
Producer: Eva Chui Loiterton, AJL Studio
Production Assistant: Spencer Leung
Props Stylist, Flow Films: Billy Lau
Wardrobe Stylist: Tasha Ling
Wardrobe Stylist Assistant: Cat Yeong
Hair Stylist: Alistair Rae, Creative Director, Paul Gerrard Hair
Hair Stylist Assistant: Jodi Tang
Make Up Artist 1: Dale Johnson
Make Up Artist 2: Megumi Sekine
Make Up Assistant: Jan Din
Lighting Assistant 1: Theo Wong
Lighting Assistant 2: Scottie Wong
Lighting Assistant 3: Jacob Liu