Reinvigorating the fashion world with dynamic scenes of models in motion, Polish movement director Pat Boguslawski thinks fashion should be fun no matter the risk. “We need to have more fun and also create more interesting things. The problem is that people are scared, and I am not scared,” Boguslawski expresses over video chat. “At the beginning of this job, I wanted to create things, no matter the risk. I feel alive when I'm taking risks.” With years of dance and acting under his belt and amassed modelling experience early on in his career, the Paris-based movement director has built a reputation that celebrates fashion and the art form it is.
Either on the runway, where he continues to have his hand in shows by John Galliano for Maison Margiela, or in magazines, where editorials appear as stills in a beautifully constructed film, Boguslawski – represented by Elite London and Streeters – uses movement as a way to express one's inner desires, even if those desires are to simply smile. With years of work that includes collaborations with FKA Twigs and brands, including Chanel, the ambitious artist is grateful for his journey and is never caught up in what's to come but rather savouring each present moment. We spoke with the exceptional movement artist about his relationship with John Galliano, the beginnings of his career, and what keeps him grounded during Fashion Week.
How are you feeling now, especially since fashion month has wrapped?
It's been quite an intense month. I'm very happy now to have a break, 10 days of completely relaxing. It's nice to recharge your batteries and go back to work the next week. It's been a great start to the year.
Are there any upcoming projects that you are looking forward to? Are you someone who plans?
I'm never planning anything in my life. I'm literally living my life day by day. I'm really bad at planning and organising. When I'm doing anything at the moment, that's what works best for me. It's also hard to do so because a lot of projects are very last minute. Usually, everything seems to be very last minute, even in my personal life.
I want to take it back to when you were young. What were your first memories of dance and movement having this significant influence on you?
I was having a conversation with my friend about it last night. It was weird because I sort of was preparing for this job without knowing all my experiences from the past. It all of a sudden made sense. When I was younger, I was very lost. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life or who I wanted to be. Everything seemed to be very confusing, and I was changing my mind all the time. It was tiring, and even my mom was exhausted from hearing about my new ideas all the time. Though I feel like life was sort of preparing me for this job.
I wasn't a professional dancer. I went to school in London, and then I went to school in Los Angeles. All of a sudden, someone found me on the street and took some photographs of me and sent them to this agency. A few months later, I was modelling for Alexander McQueen. I was very down to do this because I always loved fashion. This kind of lifestyle was always fascinating to me because I could travel the world, and meet a lot of great people and, see amazing places plus, make money on top of that. Modelling was an escape from the dance world because I was always dancing and hanging out with dancers, and it was time to experience something different.
When I was modelling, I felt like I was a performer; I was almost like an actor. I found the passion to act within modelling, which is something I wanted to explore. I was studying drama acting for about 3 years, and then, all of a sudden, I found myself again going back to dance. This is what I'm meant to be doing. Even though I had no clue if this would ever work out, I felt super strong in it. There are a lot of emotions and excitement behind it. I'm very happy that I lost myself in all these life experiences because they're very helpful right now.
Beginning in this industry as a model yourself, does your experience allow you to navigate this industry better? And if so, how?
It definitely helped a lot in the beginning. People already understood who I was because they knew I could inform the camera. I'm crazy, and I love to have fun. I'm a comedian. When people heard that I was doing movement direction, they understood.
You've worked with giants, including Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Still, within the last few years, your work with John Galliano, specifically your hand in the Spring/Summer 2020 show for Margiela, where model Leon Dame struts down the runway, created a pop culture moment. Can you speak to the process of preparing for that show? Did you anticipate that sort of virality that occurred after it?
When it came to the show, it was definitely an interesting experience for me because I was not very aware of it. I didn't think it would become such a big thing on the internet because, in previous shows, Leon was doing different walks, but this time he was closing the show. His work was so iconic that people really noticed him. It was definitely a massive shift in the way that people got excited. They can appreciate it. I remember when I joined Margiela, I really wanted to create iconic walks because that is something that John is known for. I wanted to collaborate with him and come up with some interesting characters. I'm always going to be grateful to him that he saw something in me. This friendship is very meaningful to me because I have so much respect for him, and I grew up watching all his work and shows.
During that time, when Leon did that walk, a lot of people were excited. Let's not forget that there have been a lot of incredible things that have happened already on the runway in the 90s. We've got to the point where everything is boring. Through my work, I wanted to show people that models are also humans with emotions and feelings. We need to have more fun and also create more interesting things. The problem is that people are scared, and I am not scared. At the beginning of this job, I wanted to create things, no matter the risk. I feel alive when I'm taking risks.
Can you speak to a few inspirations that continue to guide you in your craft?
I don't ever have to workshop. I'm never really preparing myself in a way that I'm in front of my computer and doing research. I feel like that is really limiting. A lot of ideas just show up in my mind. I picture the project and what I want to achieve, what I want to see. Sometimes, I think about it for a couple of days, and it doesn't come to me, but I know that it will at some point come to me. Even in my dreams, I'll wake up the next day and have an idea. I get inspired by a lot of things. The most inspiring thing for me is music. I listen to music basically all the time. I am always trying to create a mood.
Your work spans editorial to film, creating individualised pieces of art. When choreographing or movement directing, how does the process differ between an editorial, where movement is captured in a still, compared to a video, where movement is not confined within a single frame? Does your approach differ, or does the process remain the same?
I always prefer doing video work. With editorials, you have to fake it. With people who can't really move, you have to be able to fake it. You can do this by doing something simple, creating an incredible image. Yet, in real life, it's not going to look as good as in the pictures. Making people move in front of the camera for stills is a different process than creating a video, though it's a live image.
Can you speak to the defining moments in your journey as a movement artist, how they have impacted your motivation to continue creating and your outlook on the craft?
John, for sure. This is someone who inspires me a lot, and I love working with inspiring people. I love working with people who are challenging me. It was incredible to work with Victoria Beckham,  Dua Lipa, Pamela Anderson and Harry Styles. These guys were just so inspiring, and in those moments, you can share something incredible. Working with people, it's so nice to see them trust you and collaborate with you and listen to your ideas. It's just special, man. It's just so special. I'm just so grateful that I'm doing my job.
Are there any brands or collaborators who you wish to work with?
I never met Marc Jacobs, and I would love to work with him. He's such a great guy. He's also one of those who loves taking risks and doesn't care what people say; he just does whatever he wants.
Fashion month has finally wrapped. What rituals do you practice during these times to keep yourself grounded and not get overwhelmed with the work?
I'm sober, so it's actually making me very grounded. I'm not drinking, I'm not smoking, and I'm eating healthy. I exercise every day, like five times a week. My lifestyle is the one thing that keeps the balance. I have to have this lifestyle; otherwise, I would go crazy.
What changes within the industry do you wish to see?
The client needs to have more fun because they are only the ones who are the most stressed. It's all about money these days. It's very hard to answer this question, but I would say they need to have more fun, but I don't think that will happen. It's going in a better direction anyway. People are having more fun anyway.
The future seems more unclear every day, yet you always have to stay looking forward. What are a few goals you have for the future or something that you are manifesting?
I'm not manifesting if I'm going to be talking about it. There are a lot of plans that I have and want to achieve. But I don't want to say anything because that works best if I want to achieve them.