Lorin Mai is the Russian-Kurdish fashion designer behind Vertigo, a fashion brand that explores belonging, memory, and cultural hybridity. In 2020, she collaborated with director Georgiy Kazakov-Pokrovskiy to create Pastoral: a visual poem that sees the brand’s garments meet meticulously-arranged sets and subtle audio landscapes. Together, it unpicks the complex notion of beauty born from migration and multiculturalism.
Video portraits are combined with flashbacks of Syrian everyday life, which in turn inspires Vertigo’s designs. Separated from her Kurdish relatives, Lorin fantasies about their lives through the lens of her fading childhood memories: echoes of emotions, smells, and vibrations.
“The idea emerged when Lorin was showing me old VHS recordings of Syrian landscapes and family portraits taken by her mother. I thought that these archives could work well with more visually rich images to create a poem of memories,” says director Kazakov-Pokrovskiy. “While working on the video, I drew inspiration from masters of large-format portrait photography like Deana Lawson or Bruce Davidson. They used to film their subjects in the home settings which combined intimacy with almost monumental character of images and richness of details. The intimacy of nostalgic memories is what we wanted to achieve.”