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What does luxury mean? Is it wearing a bag worth a lot of money? Having a second home in the countryside or by the sea? Maybe it’s just taking a bubble bath after an exhausting day at work. Filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson explores this concept through The Greatest Luxury, a video she’s made for Hot Air, Selfridges’ own broadcasting platform, which interviews and features the likes of activist and performer Mykki Blanco, fashion designer Gareth Pugh, poet Lilly Ashley, and dancer Sophie Apollonia.
Before we start, could you please describe yourself through a movie, a song, a painting/artwork, a book, and a moment of the day?
Stories We Tell, by Sarah Polley; Troy, by Sinead O'Connor; Welcome to the Monkey House, by Kurt Vonnegut; anything by the artist Hannah Bays, and I love early mornings.
The video explores the concept of luxury, so this one is mandatory: what does it mean to you?
I think given all that’s going on in the world today, the only way to create a feeling of luxury is by doing small things that bring you some headspace and peace – even if only momentarily.

Through The Greatest Luxury, you celebrate the idea of it as something personal, emotional, liberating. The video highlights the importance of doing small things that make you feel good. What is a ‘treat yourself moment’ you couldn’t live without?
Swimming in the sea, where I live with my family, and being able to dry off in the sun.
You’ve chosen very diverse creatives to star in the short film: performer and activist Mykki Blanco, fashion designer Gareth Pugh, poet and performer Lilly Ashley, and dancer Sophie Appollonia. They’re not the average celebrities that would come to my head when thinking of luxury. How and why did you choose them?
The great thing that happens when working with Selfridges is that they give you creative freedom. I am a huge fan of Mykki, Holly and Gareth, and I have been wanting to interview each of them for a while. So when this brief came up they felt like a natural trio. All live and breathe their work, and to me, that is a huge luxury in today’s world, with rising rents and young creatives being forced out of the cities. I wanted to speak to three incredible people to find out how they create space at a time when the world is shifting at such a rapid rate.
After hearing and discovering what does luxury mean to them, has your perception of this concept changed?
No. As for me, I was always interested in the emotional meaning of the word. It’s a loaded word and I wanted to discover what it truly meant on a personal level.

The video starts with a powerful quote: “Unity is the greatest luxury. To see and say ‘You are me and I am you’. All that matters is that you do what you want to do, right now, no matter how, every hour, minute, second, here”. Would that be the main and conclusive message you’d like the viewers to understand?
Yes, and also emphasising that creating your own small luxuries, which don’t depend on money or status, is very possible.  Luxury for me, in an emotional sense, is when we let ourselves feel something outside of our day to day. That can be achieved by going for a walk, making yourself an amazing meal or, on a simpler level, spending time with people you love. That for me is what I wanted to highlight and engage the viewer with. Also, in some ways, to be grateful for what you already have.
In the video, though, you’ve had to convey different points of view or perceptions of luxury. How was the process of creating different messages/concepts while also unifying all of them?
It was quite a simple process. Once we had the film cast, I worked with each of them to find out what they felt on a personal level. I then used their answers to weave together a world and a scenario for them to appear in. I always like to feature people as they really are and not to project what I think they are onto them. The house and the dance worked so well as the threads that weaved everyone together.
The video is a commission for Hot Air, Selfridges’ own broadcasting platform. What’s your relation to the retail giant?
I began working as a freelance director for Selfridges back in 2013 and we continued to work together for a couple of years when they then invited me to join the team as their Resident Director and Film Consultant in 2015. Working with them has been a very liberating and creatively nourishing experience. We set up Hot Air a few years ago as a hub to feature our more visually questioning and engaging films, which we hope leave the viewer thinking more deeply. Past subjects include non-binary ways of dressing, redefining beauty and body politics. I balance this in-house role with my freelance career as a film director (where I work with other brands) and as a Fashion Film Research Fellow at London College of Fashion.

Arnau Salvadó

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