We’re always interested in the people behind the scenes, and Loren Denis’ story is particularly fascinating. With a successful modeling career under her belt, the French writer/ director has spent some time on both sides of the lens. After years of posing as the subject, Loren decided to get behind the camera instead. And we’re so glad she did – she’s since shot two of our Lookbooks as well as this short film, which brilliantly captures the essence of Sundry. It’s clear that Loren truly has a knack for conveying emotion and movement on camera. While visiting LA, she took a quick break to tell us more about her past experience and her hopes for the future:
What compelled you to move from modeling to directing?
It’s funny because when I was a model I always thought something was missing in my life somehow, and I was often wondering about what my next step would be since I knew modeling was only going to last for so long. Also, when people asked me what I was doing for a living back then I never felt really proud of my job for some reason, even at the time that I was working quite well. So I kind of struggled with myself for a while but at the same time I was always very curious when I was on set, you know, about lighting, directing and everything around. And I think it sort of slowly got me interested in all of what’s happening behind camera, without me realizing at the time that directing would eventually become my future job. So in short I think modeling was definitely the seed that prepared me to do what I do now.
What inspires you? What do you look for when shooting?
To me what is really important is to try and convey emotions. It is the key idea behind every film I make or picture I take. Of course love stories always work, because you have a wide range of emotions in them – hate, love, passion... Also, I’m really into using movement in most of my films because to me it is truly the essence of life. I like being “organic” with my subjects and being close to them when I shoot in order to try and grasp the kind of feeling we have in our 20’s – you know, that sense of being totally carefree and full of hope. The first video I did with Matt for Sundry was shot with that idea in mind: capturing real moments and conveying that sense of freedom.
How would you describe your personal style?
Unfortunately I have kind of a “boyish”/ casual style, haha... I don’t know, maybe it’s a French thing. I mean for me it’s good because I like to be comfortable in my clothes, especially when I work. Of course I dress more “girly” when I’m not on set, but you probably won’t see me with a mini skirt. Dressing casual is also a way to blend in more – directors are 90% men – and attract less attention on set I guess.
Do you think your modeling experience helps you direct?
I think so, yes. Having been on the other side of the camera for so long I’m maybe more inclined to put myself in the talents’ shoes and feel what they feel. Especially when you get on a job and you see how many clothes you have to shoot in a day, haha. Usually at that point your energy level plummets. Also, I know all about the atmosphere and the particular “codes” of a set, and I believe it is a huge asset when you start in this business. It’s a world I know and feel comfortable in. Plus my years as a model certainly help create an atmosphere of trust between me and the talents as well, and in return it puts me in the best dispositions to get the best from them – or at least I hope! I actually believe that the key to making a good film or a good picture lies within the quality of your communication with the actors and models.
What do you always take with you when you travel?
Usually my camera if I have enough space – I tend to overpack – even though I think the new iPhones take beautiful pictures too, my computer of course… hahaha - I’m really a geek, aren’t I? And then, I would say my favorite pair of jeans. Oh yes, and my sunglasses
What are your dreams/ aspirations?
I don’t know if I dream of anything in particular. I actually like to take life step by step. I’m not the type of person to think “okay, I want to do at least this and that this year, then a feature film within the next 3 years, and...” I mean don’t get me wrong – I want to be the best I can be, but it has to be within the right timing and for the right reasons. I recently just shot two short films, one called “The Monday Morning Man” for my friend Camille Tanoh’s shoe company, and one for the Opera de Paris, called “O as in Opera,” that has just been released actually. It’s having quite a buzz right now and things are starting to turn in a really good direction so you can say I’m quite happy for the moment! I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love, so we’ll see where it leads me.
I just love it! To be honest, it was a love at first sight with the people behind it, Matt and Joanne especially. And of course with the values the brand carries. Plus, the fabrics are amazing – so soft and easy to wear. Most of my friends are going crazy about it.