“As a child, I wanted at all costs to become an artist – even if I wasn’t aware that it could truly be a job,” says Laura Passalacqua. “But my family is neither passionate nor curious about the arts, so it was at school that I began to discover it.” Growing up in southern France, Laura was also interested in literature, painting and fashion, exploring these creative fields in her spare time. But it was the medium of film that truly caught her attention, inspiring her to combine her natural gift for illustration with the endless possibilities of animation. “I discovered the work of Satoshi Kon, Masaaki Yuasa, Eiichi Yamamoto, Ralph Bakshi, and many other eye-opening directors,” she says. “They impelled me to study animation in Paris, where I enjoyed experimenting with different techniques. I came to realise that I prefer imagery that is rich and complexly rendered.”
Now 23, Laura’s early advancements in illustration and animation have already landed her an enviable position at French production company Remembers, where, most recently, she directed her first commercial film for iconic fashion house Chanel. Created as part of a series of eight promotional films for the brand’s Métiers d'Art 2021/22 show, Laura’s animated production focuses on the jewellery by Maison Desrues ateliers. “[It] lasts 17 seconds and contains about 200 drawings on paper,” she explains. “I chose to go for a more mysterious, intriguing style, with a nocturnal atmosphere that allows the jewellery to stand out.” In the film, which is titled Little Treasures, a haunting score plays as Laura’s protagonist navigates her way through a hidden door, unlocking it by twisting a key in a Chanel logo lock and stepping into a secret room in which jewellery can be seen glittering and rotating like stars in the night sky.
Each piece of jewellery exhibits Laura’s signature colourful palette, contrasting with a moody background filled with blacks, blues and purples. “I use a lot of bright and bold colours,” she says, “something that makes it pop.” The film finishes with a single piece of jewellery smoothly transitioning to become the pupil of an eye, which closes to bring the animation to its finale. It’s truly an entrancing experience, despite its short run time, and effortlessly exemplifies Laura’s masterful grasp of pacing and narrative. It’s a huge achievement for someone who only graduated a few years ago, and yet Laura is refreshingly modest and humble about the project. “I am very proud to have had the opportunity to make a film for Chanel so early in my career,” she tells us. “As a fashion enthusiast it was a big dream that has already become a reality, and I feel very lucky to have been in an exciting environment where many people are so talented.”
But Laura is not one to rest on her laurels and is already working on a series of music video clips, as well as harbouring ambitions to direct more short films, illustrate for magazines, and design posters. “Broadly, I want to experiment a lot graphically, whether through collage, video processing or animated GIFs,” she explains. “After several long projects, I'm looking forward to finding a more instinctive and playful relationship with my personal creations.”
Laura Passalacqua: Little Treasures – Chanel Métiers d'Art 2021/22 (Copyright © Laura Passalacqua, 2021)
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.