Victoria Pearson, RUSSH

For friends Jacqueline Kaytar and Michelle Jones, the key to making an item timeless is simplicity and quality. This ethos is evident throughout their brand Plus Equals  – a collection of Australian designed, Italian-crafted leather goods for the modern woman and man.

Whole Sum, a short by filmmaker Oscar Nicholson and exclusive to RUSSH, is an ode to the Plus Equals woman and the joys of stripping the excess – here, it’s all about pared-back beauty.

Nicholson chats to RUSSH about Whole Sum, Aristotle, and late night studio sessions.

How would you describe the Plus Equals woman? 
The Plus Equals woman has many facets, yet adding them up does not define her. The more you know her, the more there is to discover. The way Jacqueline and Michelle describe Plus Equals is both powerful and humble. Their bags don’t define you; they play a supporting role in your story. The Plus Equals woman hints at who she is by carefully cultivating and editing the way the world sees her. In an age where the loudest person wins the social media popularity contest, it’s refreshing to see a brand celebrating understatement and simple elegance.

What drew you towards working with Jacqueline Kaytar and Michelle Jones and their brand, Plus Equals? 
Jacq and Michelle embody that multi-faceted woman. Though superficially Plus Equals creates leather accessories, their inspirations are varied. Even a quick scan of their Instagram reveals how they draw upon architecture, nature and art to inform their aesthetic. For Jacq and Michelle, Plus Equals is a creative platform and a means of creative collaboration. For me it’s an amazing opportunity to work with a brand that’s fearless and experimental. Plus their sense of design is immaculate, so I knew they would elevate my work.

How did the concept of the film, Whole Sum, come about?
The Plus Equals brand is underpinned by the Aristotelian philosophy that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” I believe that also describes the Plus Equals woman. So the concept was born from that philosophy and the film makes it literal. By dividing Charlotte into superficial characteristics – strong, cool, shy, critical and apathetic – we can know of her without actually knowing her.

We hint at that deeper understanding by revealing the ways she regards herself and her consequential inner turmoil or inner peace. Strong Charlotte is always moving, looking straight ahead, unaffected and unselfconscious. Yet shy Charlotte cannot bear scrutiny. She’s harmonious in conflict – a beautiful contradiction. As the French revere jolie laide; it’s the imperfections that make Charlotte perfect.

Tell us a little bit about the soundtrack you use in the film?
For the soundtrack I collaborated with my brother Sauce. He’s an amazing beatsmith inspired by everything from bebop jazz, P-funk and the recent broken beat and glitch hop movements. I wanted a driving beat with elements we could weave into the film, so we spent a night in a studio creating a palette of sounds we could use to create music organic to the visuals. All I had in mind going in was the backbeat, which I banged out on a tom-tom drum.

Then we mixed our found-sounds as we edited the film. It was laborious and not the traditional way to do it, but it was the only way to make the film like visual music.

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