Cinematically framed against the always-illuminated Las Vegas night, immersed in pure colour, Amanda Murphy is the protagonist of Neon Dream, the new chronicle of 365. A shimmering avatar amongst a lightscape that intermingles the clichés of Vegas with signs and signifiers drawn from the universe of Prada - emblazoned across both the night sky and her own body - Murphy herself becomes a luminous representation of Prada.
Centre-screen, she becomes another neon symbol in a city composed of hyperreal reflections of actuality, captured by Willy Vanderperre. Exuberant fluorescent pink, red, and orange contrasts with the inky blue-black skies in blurred, impressionistic vistas of Las Vegas - images that, ultimately, represent an idea of the city, a mirage, an ideal. Throughout, this woman’s personality and power shines through - she is a woman in the night but in control, unafraid. The reality controlling the dream.
Translating the visual identity of the Fall/Winter 2018 Prada womenswear campaign into moving image, Neon Dream is a short movie featuring model Amanda Murphy, and starring Hollywood actress Sarah Paulson. Here, Murphy is a mysterious heroine, while Paulson plays multiple incarnations of one character, both women moving constantly through the glowing nocturnal landscape of Las Vegas and its famous Sunset Strip, in an ever-transforming narrative.
Inspired by the distinct visual language of the city, its showgirls and neons, mid-century iconography and totems of Americana, the film situates Murphy in a surreal reflection of the materiality of Las Vegas, envisaged as an oasis of light in a desert of darkness. Although filmed on location, this Las Vegas is nevertheless a fiction, composed of archetypes - red velvet drapes, glittering lights, glowing Technicolor, billboards and convertibles. Reality, reimagined. A neon dream.
In a striking turn, heightening the sense of the dreamlike and hypnagogic, Sarah Paulson features in a cameo role, punctuating the action throughout the film. She plays a series of roles, but each represents a different facet of the same character, a guardian angel figure who reappears again and again like an aesthetic echo. Paulson’s reiteration in these different guises - these separate illusions of one self - emphasizes the unreality of the scenes. It also underlines Prada’s continual and deep fascination with the multiplicity of roles of singular women, and the constant shifting of personal identity through fashion.
“Wearing Prada has always been an easy way to connect to myself... all parts of me. So to have been asked to be part of this inventive and evocative film, which embraces the multidimensionality of womanhood, was truly thrilling.” Sarah Paulson said.
Photography by Willy Vanderperre
Model Amanda Murphy