Premiere of “The Island”
After attending fashion designer Danish Wakeel’s clothing launch ‘Peacock Revolution’ at The Hilton Hotel last summer, I expected the premiere of his film ‘The Island’ to be as quirky as his clothing collection.
The Island red-carpet premiere held at Ruby Blue Leicester Square on Thursday 11th July had a mystical, mysterious vibe with its dimmed lights in comparison to the more demure and conservative Hilton hotel but was just as funky, glamorous and full of fashionistas. Greeted by The Face London and personalised “The Island” cupcakes, and with London Model Academy hosting the event, it seems Wakeel tried to pull out all the stops while still maintaining the quirky style I have seen in his clothing collection by strangely offering pizzas on platters.
Unfortunately, the organisation of the event let the premiere down with the film not showing until 9.45pm – forty-five minutes later than scheduled, by which time I had left after patiently waiting. After watching the film
tagline “inspired by the Italian cornucopia supervened by the heritage and the avalanche of Venice” which does not make it any clearer what the film is about. Wakeel’s character walks flawlessly into a masked ball and seats himself in a position that must be luring because he effortlessly attracts two women who he then takes back to his room for a private viewing of their lingerie.
Meanwhile, over the sound-tracked scenes with now three women, his beautiful female neighbour is disturbed and so she complains to him; only for him to ask her to join him but she refuses. Her mother is cheating on her father who shoots himself at the end. And with the sound of that gunshot we are left in perpetual darkness too – certainly not in Venice which seems to feature only in the tagline and not the film. To enlighten the audience before the film is washed away on a gondola for being so ambiguous, I attain an exclusive interview with Wakeel and get some answers.
Q. What made you transition from fashion designing to acting and directing?
I love to experiment and indulge with different branches of art and amalgamate and juxtapose fashion with them. Films are one of the mediums I choose to display my designs and their opulence in a very subtle manner. For each collection every season I make a short fashion movie however this time I went one step ahead and worked with professional writer and a director of ‘The Island’. I feel film and fashion are interconnected and inseparable for over many decades now quite evident in how the Hollywood is fascinated with the world of vogue.
Q. Have you ever partaken in a project like creating, directing and featuring in a film before?
I have been a professional high fashion model for many years and I have been approached by some great acting opportunities but my brand ‘Danish Wakeel’ is my priority. I have made numerous short fashion films for my collections which have been premiered during fashion weeks in London and Milan.
Q. The film, including the tagline of the film, is extremely ambiguous and the dialogue is minimal which creates greater perplexity. Can you enlighten me, and audiences who can watch Part 1 of “The Island” on YouTube, what this film is trying to convey?
The avalanche of Venice and the Italian cornucopia has been one of the most intriguing inspirations and it is about the ‘Queen of the Adriatic” for me this entire season. Along the voyage of constructing my creations I am being experimental and mischievous with Venice. I think it is one of the world’s most romantic cities. The film at the moment might be mysterious and transcendental but as the story progresses in the second and final third part which will be premiered in London later during the year, things will become luminous.
Q. What have you learnt from producing the first part of this film?
Nothing is impossible and if you have a will there is definitely a way to go out there and achieve it. I still consider myself a baby in the craft of film-making but have also realised how irksome it is to produce a film. But the fruits of the final product that I have reaped are extremely gratifying. The mistakes I made while making the first part of “The Island” have been a learning curve for the second and final part which are being dealt with during current filming.
Keeping up with the Venetian theme, Wakeel is organising a pre-London Fashion Week Masquerade Ball held at Chelsea London. He states: ‘the “City of Bridges” and “City of Masks” ‘amalgamated with the sartorial elegance, impeccable workmanship and pure art work is something my new collection “Conspicuous Hedonism” will exhibit on the runways during London Fashion Week in September 2013’.
[Danish Wakeel and I at “The Island” Film Premiere] Photography: SamiPhotographer