Art Meets Fashion in AMPM’s Surreal Masterpieces

EE Fashion File

AMPM Zahia Campaign Art - Caught in a Sliver

December arrives and Fashion label, AMPM gives free reign to their imagination as they enter the celebratory season, with the launch of a fabulous festive collection – Zāhia.  EE’s Fashion File features the talented duo behind Zāhia -the collection and the campaign- Priyanka Modi and Pranoy Sarkar. Showcased through a stunning campaign, Marrakech’s Palais de la Zāhia, home to the 60’s fashion icon, model and actor, Talitha Getty, is the exceptional muse for this collection

Renowned artist Pranoy Sarkar did a series of three-dimensional composition paintings and animated videos of AMPM’s Zāhia collection that are brilliantly captivating. These paintings depict what day-to-day life must have been like in the prime of the villa. A self-indulgent lifestyle juxtaposes an effortlessly-stylish, yet intoxicating mix of classic European chic and high-spirited finery from Marrakech. These paintings resonate with the spirit of those times and the eloquent subjects portrayed, where spaces, objects and ideas vacillate between the real and unreal, akin to a desert mirage.

Sunny North African skies, endlessly blue and brimming with promises. Long afternoons in vineyards with musky purpling grapes. A dreamlike calm, by the archways in Marrakech at dusk. Experience the other-worldly charm of the Palais de Zāhia, with the sculpted arches and bannisters of Le Zāhia; the doorways engraved with intricate foliage, resplendent colors and curvilinear art serves as inspiration for luxury, that is enriching yet intimate.

The Exquisite Edge’s Editor-in-chief Priyanka Sippy in an exclusive conversation with the talented duo, where they share the challenges and the creativity that went into this outstanding collection and its corresponding campaign.

Priyanka Modi

Q: What made you pick the Palais de la Zāhia as the muse for your collection?
A: Travel and spaces have always been an intrinsic part of our design process at AMPM. Palais de la Zāhia remains a recurring source of inspiration this season. Home to the ’60s fashion icon Talitha Getty, a Dutch model and actor who spent her days in Marrakech with her husband, the Mediterranean architecture inspired us as we pursued a fantasy of sorts. Its sculpted arches and bannisters, doorways engraved with intricate foliage, vibrant colours and curvilinear art served as inspiration for luxury, that is enriching yet intimate.

Q: Tell us a little about the Zāhia collection.
A: With Zāhia, we bring a luxe wardrobe of styles that transcend seasons. These are versatile designs that elevate the wardrobe of the woman of today. Thematically, it is an escape. A collection where quintessential AMPM style marries architectural elements in a flight of fancy.

Drawn richly from Mediterranean influences, Zāhia, in particular, features even more comfortable silhouettes than we usually provide, considering most gatherings in the near future will have fewer people and hence mostly seated. Think effortless and versatile separates along with one of my favorite silhouettes from the collection – the        classic AMPM pre-draped saree. We designed parts of this collection during the pandemic, so attention to the details of comfort and wear-ability was of utmost importance.

Q: Were the challenging circumstances amid the pandemic also part of the driving force behind the collection? To think of opulent times and a throwback to the past.
A: These times are unprecedented. However, working remotely brought the team closer, I think. Communication is key and the distance ensured that we take that to a deeper, more holistic level. There is an innate element of fantasy in the collection.  Even our visuals were created as actual pieces of art, thoroughly imaginative and evocative.    Everything has been so surreal about this year that it was important to me that we captured it in our communication. I like to think of our concept as something where ‘art precedes reality’ so to speak. I think it captures this moment perfectly.

Q: How was it working with Pranoy Sarkar on Zāhia?
A: Pranoy has been a long-time collaborator and friend of the brand. It is always great to creatively associate with people who share your vision and lend it their unique perspective. With this campaign, he exhibited his true genius by bringing these art compositions to life.

Q: Tell us about the past year and how the fashion industry faced unprecedented circumstances.
A: The past year has been very challenging, to say the least. It was a time when everyone needed to take stock of the situation and consistently course-correct marketing and sales initiatives. Production practices had to be re-evaluated and the supply chain examined. In the interest of the safety of our customers and staff, we closed down all our brick-and-mortar stores across the country well before the official directive came from the government.
While our e-commerce store was still operational, we noticed a dramatic drop in traffic and orders as deliveries had been put on hold until the nation-wide lockdown was lifted. The only way to deal with the situation then was to judiciously reassess, re-strategize and re-organize for when the market opened up again.

Q: Any exciting plans for your label that you would like to share.
A: This year has incidentally played a catalyst in shifting our priorities to making AMPM a digital-first brand. Our heritage and strong values are guiding us through this time, as we explore new possibilities in design and our consumption patterns as an organisation.
It is going to be our sincere effort, to keep our imagery refreshing, our content relevant and our communication positive. It is our endeavor to help our audience look at the brighter side and remain hopeful about our collective futures.

Q: Share your favorite motto
A: Principle that I stand by – “Less is more”. It is time that we as an industry, lead with consciousness. Design lies in solving problems and not creating new ones. Production method and quantities need to be reconfigured. Only then will a change in consumption follow, putting the focus on craftsmanship and longevity.

Pranoy Roy AMPM

Pranoy Sarkar 

Q: How long did it take to conceptualize and put together the campaign for AMPM?
A:  It took roughly a month to conceptualise, and approximately another month and a half to execute the eight artworks from start to finish.

Q: What made you take it up?
A: The brand itself. I have worked with AMPM before I took this project on. With Zāhia, we decided to pivot the brand’s visual vocabulary towards a new direction, and it was extremely exciting to work on this art project with Anirudh and Priyanka.

Q: Give us your understanding of the collection and what it conveys?
A: The inspiration from Moroccan art and architecture is quite apparent but in a truly AMPM style. For me, it conveys minimalism and elegance.

Q: What inspired the 3D artwork concept?
A: After hearing about the inspiration and seeing the collection, I thought artworks would be the ideal route to showcase a Moroccan dreamscape narrative.

Q: How was the Zāhia experience with Priyanka Modi?
A: I have observed a lot of creative alignment every time we work together. A very interesting thing about Priyanka is that while she is very clear about her vision and expectations of a campaign, she is equally open to taking her brand into newer spaces. Same with Anirudh (AMPM’s Chief Brand Officer), they both know exactly what they like and are not afraid to try new things. So, in short, it has been extremely joyful working with them.

AMPM Zahia Campaign Art - Caught in a Sliver

Q: What have the challenges of the past year taught you?
A:  To work on varied projects simultaneously.

Q: Name two previous fashion campaigns you worked on that are memorable for you.
A: Rajesh Pratap Singh and Suket Dhir

Q: What is ‘fashion’ to you, in one word?
A: Storytelling