Network: My Technology - Smaller than a pack of cigarettes
Leading British fashion designer Matthew Williamson talks about the beauty of his Motorola V688 mobile phone
Monday 27 September 1999
I was a consultant on Motorola's latest campaign, with Jodie Kidd as the model, and it's pushing the whole fashion thing. I work with Motorola because it's really crucial (we are working in an industry where everything is about the aesthetic of what you are doing) that we co-brand with a company and indeed a product that we are proud to be associated with.
With the V Series phone I look at it and I think it is an incredible piece of equipment. It becomes more than just a little gadget, and you can attach to it some aspirational fashion value. What strikes you is its size; it's a tiny, tiny phone, the smallest phone in the world; smaller than a packet of cigarettes.
When you lay all the different types of mobile phones on a table there isn't much between them in terms of pros and cons. But what I think this phone has to offer is its size, and the fact that it is so compact, light, weighs practically nothing, is easy to use and the digits are easy to punch. It's just such an effortless piece of technology. For that reason I think it lends itself so well to a more fashionable audience. And it slips into a handbag.
Because of its size it becomes more of an accessory: it's a social network phone. The type of people who tend to use it are not necessarily business people.
I have designed a limited edition case for this phone that is black with hologram glitter to give a party, disco feel - particularly at night when it becomes a spangly, sparkly number. It also has a butterfly embossed on the front.
The phone was a VIP part of the invitation to my show and went to Jade and Bianca Jagger, the photographer Mario Testino and all the top models - Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Jodie Kidd: very lucky ladies.
The phones came in very useful at the show. Most of the production team use headsets, but if there is a problem with the radio it's handy to know that there are four of us in the team who have a mobile. Mostly it was used when the audience were filtering in and we needed to do light checks and various bits and bobs. It was great to be able to communicate from backstage to the front of house.
Otherwise I don't often use the mobile, to be honest. You see, only five people know the number and it's really a hotline. I did have a phone prior to working with Motorola, and used it even less because it just became a burden to me. It was so heavy it was like a brick. I just use the basic office equipment: faxes, phones and computers.
There is a lot of technology in the show but it's not really me who deals with that, it is a whole different arena with it's own production team called Inca. My role is really to give an aesthetic sense for those people to work with. Sure, there's always a worry because I am not informed enough about it and it's horrible to be thinking - can I pull it off, can we do it? But it's a case of experimenting and keeping on trying and rehearsing.
None the less, I am slowly but surely getting more and more involved in technology. I did find it interesting watching the lighting for our show come together as a technical process. We wanted quite a dramatic effect and the logistics took a hell of a long time to work out. So the final results made me think that what you can do is quite limitless. And how unaware I was of the scale, how many people and how much was needed to create what I thought, in my head, was quite straightforward.
I have noticed that the shows have got more and more elaborate, and that the people expect them to be so as well - as you grow, you are expected to pull out more tricks. It's always a fine line between putting on a fashion show and creating a theatrical spectacle. But at the end of the day what we are doing is showing the clothes: I am not a film designer.
Matthew has collaborated with Motorola on the latest advertising campaign for the Motorola V3688 due for launch October 1999, acting as creative consultant on the campaign
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