Rose Murdoch and Meg Alexander met in Wellington, New Zealand, through a mutual friend. Landing shopkeeping jobs at the same vintage boutique, they’d chat politics and fashion behind the counter, eventually deciding to make an original work together. Their first collaborative project showcased a small collection of Rose’s handmade garments, aptly titled ROSE MURDOCH 2017. They conceived of their second collaboration, a film called Angelic, as a sort of farewell to home—Rose would soon move to London and Meg to Tokyo. Angelic captures a selection of Rose’s previously unseen designs on sixteen of the pair’s friends (all wearing angel wings) at sixteen of their Wellington haunts. Britney Spears’ ‘Everytime’ provided the soundtrack.
We wrote Meg from Melbourne, straddling the minor Tokyo time difference, to talk about the process of making Angelic, friendship, and working against the clock.
Hi Meg. I feel like it’s a really precious thing when you meet someone you connect with creatively. How did you meet Rose?
Rosie and I met through our mutual friend Kasper. At the time, I was in my final year at Uni and was working on a project called Divas In Distress. It was about teen fiction and the power of emotion. Rosie was living with Kasper at the time in their first flat—which, weirdly enough, was also my first flat three years prior. I ended up shooting both Kasper and Rosie for my project. After that I became a big fan of Rosie’s work. I shot a small collection she produced featuring her “Fuck the Right” t-shirt and an amazing deconstructed suit jacket piece that I will forever think about. Maybe a year before she left New Zealand, Rosie started working with me at Recycle Boutique. I think our friendship really blossomed from there. We were always bouncing ideas off each other and discussing celebrity gossip, true crime, anxiety, and fashion. Rosie is really smart, so she taught me a lot about the politics of fashion and politics in general. I had never met someone so in tune with their beliefs and interests. It was really inspiring to be around. Working with Rosie was obvious. Not only do we connect creatively, but in so many other ways too. I would go to visit her thinking I was going to be home for dinner, and then wouldn’t leave until nearly 1AM because we would chat for hours.
How did Angelic come about? How did you matching your sixteen friends to the sixteen locations?
Leading up to Rosie’s last few days in New Zealand, we were discussing doing one more shoot to present her unseen works. We were also talking about creating a film, featuring our friends wearing angel wings and day-dreaming in a slightly melancholic and angelic way. I can’t remember exactly how it happened but it just sort of clicked and we put the two ideas together. We wanted to shoot in as many contrasting places as we could, all very mundane scenes. Some locations had personal connections to us and our friend group, like Club 121 or Reading Cinemas where I used to work. Rosie has a beautifully organised brain, as much as she would argue that it’s a mess. She planned out every look and who was going to wear it and together we discussed where we saw that look being presented. It was actually incredibly difficult to figure out the logistics, because we had to work around everybody’s schedules as well as the open hours for certain locations. I think the whole project took about six months to come together.
I know that you pulled your first collaborative project together incredibly quickly, in something like two weeks. Did it feel like a bit of a luxury to spend those six months on Angelic?
Well, I think this time around we had a clear idea of exactly what we were doing. Because of the time limit [of the shoot itself] and the amount of models and locations, we had to be really organised or it wouldn’t have worked. We planned to shoot over two days, banging out seven portraits per day. We had originally shot fourteen portraits. We still had hiccups along the way. People pulling out last minute, arriving at a sports field to find the McEvedy Shield—a boy’s school athletics carnival—was being held that day. Most of the dramas happened on the first day. The second day ran a lot smoother, we had a feel for what we needed to do and what we wanted from the models. The time spent on editing and reshooting was what extended the length of the production as a whole, it didn’t exactly feel luxurious haha but very much worth it!