Natalie Chanin: Southern Belle

Wyatt Troll Enters the Organic Couture World of the Alabama Chanin Visionary

To celebrate ten years of designer Natalie Chanin’s groundbreaking couture project Alabama Chanin—a micro-enterprise that uses organic and recycled materials (and local talent) to produce limited-edition, hand-stitched creations—cinematographer Wyatt Troll traveled to the foothills of the Appalachians to capture her universe on film, exclusively premiered here by NOWNESS. “One can feel lusciousness in the air and water there—a bit heavy, but altogether wonderful,” says Troll of Florence, Alabama, where the company is headquartered. Troll’s movie, set to Devendra Banhart’s cover of “The Overachievers” by the Liars, captures the languorous glamour found in Chanin’s clothes—appliqué cotton camisole dresses that sweetly invoke American Gothic, intricately embroidered A-line jackets with deconstructed “fur” finish—by locating the collection in the everyday poetry of the rural American South. “Natalie’s world is all her own. She cares as much about her sewing family as she does the countryside and her own kin,” says Troll, whose cinematography credits include Spike Jonze’s short film We Were Once a Fairytale and Tom Kuntz’s recent video for MGMT’s “Congratulations.” With help from a cast made up mostly of Florence natives, plus long-time Chanin comrades, artist Lisa Eisner and creative director Roman Alonso, the group effort went off seamlessly. Eisner both orchestrated the three-day shoot and documented the experience with a series of still photographs, while Alonso’s LA-based design outfit, Commune, art-directed the film and refreshed the company’s graphic identity and website for the anniversary. “It just went by too fast,” laments Chanin. “I only wish they could’ve stayed another week.” Read our interview with Natalie Chanin here.

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