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Melinda Gibson

‘Unwrap’ Christmas with Farfetch.com

This week Farfetch.com launched their Christmas ‘Unwrap’ campaign. The website, which houses 250 of the world’s best boutiques, collaborated with four creative to design exclusive gift-wraps for Christmas, which will be used to package any purchases made from the website this winter. That way, everyone can have a piece of these amazing designs.

Farfetch.com brought on board design duo Meadham Kirchhoff, photographer Melinda Gibson, Artist and DJ Margot Bowman and Set Designer / Illustrator, Gary Card. Each of them was asked to produce a one off design for the festive season.

Here at Notion, we got to visit the studio of Melinda Gibson. Having studied photography at London College of Communication, Melinda focuses on the way we see and look at things- namely within photography. Always working by hand, Melinda cuts out vital sections of photographs to see how this impacts our understanding of the image.

We asked her a few questions about her ‘Unwrap’ illustration for Farfetch.com.

PN: So what’s this piece about for you?
MG: It’s about Christmas, but not in an obvious shiny and glittery way.

PN: Can you take us through it?
MG: Sure. I got all the images from old vintage magazines, and this first image, (middle top) is an image that I burnt with a candle, and behind it is from a selection of Christmas children’s toys, and then part of those images have been removed and replaced with a red backing- because it is Christmas after all.

The second image (left B&W) is from a Christmas festivity, in a pub setting with a couple having a drink. I removed their faces and replaced the mans face space with Christmas themed text, and the woman’s with an ink drawing which I traced from a 1950’s magazine of a traditional Christmas plant, which is also used in the man’s jackets.

The third image is of a boy, where I removed the face and hands and replaced them with wintery themed trees…

PN: Oh my gosh yes! I really see it now, I wouldn’t have noticed it at first, but when you look closely you really see all the details…
MG: Yes, exactly. Also in this image, the boys’ toy has been removed and replaced with a children’s desk that could have been bought from a modern store at the time.

In the fourth bauble is an old magazine cut out which represents the vanity cases and trolleys which you can put both cosmetics and food on- so it’s the more industrial and structured part of Christmas that you have. Those images have also been removed and replaced with more furniture and fabric images that you can buy as well.

Then finally, the fifth bauble is two gentlemen in a bar, the face of the main one and the entirety of the one in the background have been removed and replaced with chrysanthemums, which are Christmassy and of course they’re in black and white which for me is quite vintage and organic. And also you could possibly see that one of the petals it where his mouth should be, another for his eye… His jacket has been replaced with a traditional Christmas table setting that you could have had back in the 50s.

And for the backing I used a collection of different tissue papers, which can be seen as what was used to possibly package presents, and then they’ve been put over a piece of paper containing information about how you can make the ultimate, perfect Christmas dinner.

PN: Amazing- I love how each of the images are contained in a kind of ‘bauble’, which is so obviously Christmas themed. Yet, when you first look at the piece you wouldn’t think that at all, or even realise they were baubles. And that goes with all the imagery within them, too.
MG: Yeah and for me I like that because obviously Christmas isn’t globally celebrated, and as Farfetch delivers internationally I didn’t want to alienate any of the customers with overly obvious or over the top Christmas imagery. I wanted to encompass everybody.

PN: That’s what is so great about it, it’s not sparkly or red or glittery or covered in Christmas trees, and yet it is inherently festively themed.
MG: For me that is the natural way I work. Here you have the nuances and the bits that reference Christmas, but without it being overly heavy or overt, glittery or sparkly. And that is what is present in a lot of my work; the idea of using collage to decontextualize and then re-contextualise images through removing areas that we would naturally use to give a photograph context.

Isn’t it great? And if this whole break down of the design from Melinda wasn’t enough for you, or you want to see the print in the larger size, then not only can you treat yourself to something on Farfetch.com and receive two of the artists’ designs, but Farfetch also decided to cover London Cabs in the prints! Have a look.

Here’s a Taxi covered in the Meadham Kirchhoff print:


What’s more, each exclusive gift-wrap will also contain image recognition technology from Aurasma, which means you can scan each design with your phone and (magically!) watch videos of the respective artist’s design process.

And if you’re really spoiled this Christmas and still want more, then head on over to Farfetch.com and play the animated game of ‘Pass the Parcel’, where you can play to win daily designer gifts and will also be entered into the grand prize draw to win £3000 to spend on the site! Yes that’s right- Christmas really has come early at Farfetch!


Words and studio photography- Emma Hoareau

Big thanks to Scarlett!

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