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Hsiang Chin Moe of Kapital World Movie – Exclusive Interview

Even with the colossal impact and hyper growth of social media, blogs, and other technology, look books have always held their place in the fashion world. Part art, part science; they serve as a convenient, clear point in showcasing any brand’s overarching or seasonal vision, collection, and creative direction.

However, when it comes to those select seasonal catalogues that stand out amongst the rest, there’s no denying that Japanese label, Kapital, has earned themselves something of a legendary reputation. Their most recent F/W 2014 look book was boldly set in the barren landscape of Mongolia, while other editions have traversed a range of other terrains and environments.

To give viewers and fans an inside look and gain a better understanding of the artisanal brand’s process, New York-based artist, Hsiang Chin Moe, was brought on to craft and produce the film, Kapital World Movie. The movie focuses upon the creation of Kapital’s Spring/Summer 2014 look book, “Sailor Ninja”, which is largely set in Paris, France. Since its premiere on March 6, 2014, the cast and crew have screened the film around the globe and we recently caught up with Chin Moe to learn more about her experience thus far.

Heddels: For the poor souls who haven’t seen it, what in your words is the movie about and what did it set out to capture?

Hsiang Chin Moe: The film is about the friendship and chemistry that exist among the crew and models, especially the relationship between Eric Kvatek and Kiro Hirata and how it carries the spirit of the Kapital books. Along with the theme, I want to show what a typical Kapital photo shoot is like and what really goes on from casting, styling, coordinating to the actual photo shoot.

Kapital World Movie Producer, Hsaing Chin Moe, in the studio.

Kapital World Movie Producer, Hsaing Chin Moe, in the studio.

RD: Is the movie exactly the same as you imagined it before you started shooting?

HCM: Before shooting, I thought I was making a 15 minute short documentary. Short and sweet. But that’s not what Kiro had in mind. He told me, during our first meeting, he wanted a 2 hour long movie and his assistant was nodding his head the whole time. I thought, “this is impossible!”. We ended up agreeing half way and setting the goal of 1 hour long film.

So to be honest, when I was shooting I had no clue what the film would turn out to be. I was trying really hard to shoot as much as possible. I would be the first one waking up and last person to sleep, because I wanted to capture every single moment. I remembered getting back to NYC and staring at my hard drives thinking, “what am I going to do with all of the footage?”. But as the editing went on, the theme and all the stories came out naturally when all those little key moments appeared on the screen.

RD: How much did you shoot vs. how much went in the movie?

HCM: I started shooting when Eric was doing scouting before the Kapital crew and models even got to the location and I stayed ’til the very last day. I shot A LOT for over a week of footage! But never enough footage!

Models and cast of Kapital World Movie

Models and cast of Kapital World Movie

RD: How did you get involved with Kapital and making the movie? Did you know or work with anyone in the production before?

HCM: I actually appeared in a few Kapital books before as a model and this was how most of the crew already knew me. Being part of the photo shoot is a great experience and I learn a great deal of their creative process. Watching Eric and Kiro working together is very inspiring.

The dynamic duo; photographer, Eric Kvatek (L), and Kapital designer, Kiro Harata.

The dynamic duo: photographer, Eric Kvatek (L), and Kapital designer, Kiro Harata.

RD: How did you have so much access? It seems like you were truly a fly on the wall for the whole movie and everyone was extremely candid.

HCM: I think it’s because I have been on Kapital photo shoots before, so I am familiar with the rhythm and the pace of how Eric and Kiro work together. I could expect what might happen next, how they might execute certain styles or shots, and the most important thing is where I should stand and shoot without getting in their way.

Also, I am already friends with most of the crew and models, so it’s slightly easier to shoot. Everyone is incredibly understanding and helpful. But the most important thing is that if you watch Eric and Kiro working together, you see how easy their communication is. They understand and trust each other.

So when I was invited to shoot the film, I also felt that everyone trusted me because both Kiro and Eric trusted me and gave me full access.

Kvatek shooting in Paris, France

Kvatek shooting in Paris, France

RD: Was there anything that wasn’t captured in the doc that you think is an important part of the Kapital lookbook process?

HCM: Yes. If I were given more time to shoot, I would like to show how the location is decided, Eric’s post-production process, how Kiro decides the layout, and the end result of the actual book. I would like to show the entire process of how the book is made. Right now the film is only about the photo shoot but the Kapital book is much, much more than the shoot.

RD: Any chance at a sequel?

HCM: Right now, there is no plan for a sequel unless…