Vincent Lacrocq and Kristell Chenut met in the most fitting way for two creatives to start their shared journey of inspiration - in an East Village bar in New York City, on a Sunday evening. “I had just moved there three months before,” says Kristell. “I went to meet a couple of friends and ran into a girl I had never met, but knew from Bali. She was in NYC for a shoot and was having drinks with her team, where she introduced me to Vincent thinking we should connect because we were both French.” Naturally, their mutual friend convinced them to exchange numbers, but Kristell’s first impression of Vincent was that she had “no interest whatsoever to meet anyone French in NYC.” Of course, through the power of hindsight, they are both thankful for that East Village bar meet up.
Before they officially embarked on their shared creative journey, their first project together was a Carolina Herrera fragrance campaign with Gisele Bundchen, where they were creating the digital assets. “I was just there to help Vincent out, who was one man down - not to mention I had never worked in film before,” shares Kristell. Nevertheless, their collaboration felt very natural to both and it eventually brought them more opportunities to work together, which they took in a heartbeat. “It was only about a year later we thought we should officially form a duo.”
“I think we complement each other because we are such opposing characters, yet we align in our taste, which gives us the ability to push further everything we do,” explains Vincent. Although they both have very different sets of skills, they match up where the other is lacking, which helps them to challenge each other constantly and bring their shared projects to the next level. Kristell admits that Vincent tends to be more technical, while she is more abstract, so together they feel all grounds are covered. “Having very different personalities also means that we have a good chance of getting along with everyone on set. Human interactions are extremely important to us in our process and our differences help us create affinities with the majority of people we meet,” she says.
These differences are their strength, but also can prove themselves as weaknesses when both sides of the duo get frustrated with each other – Vincent admits to not being very happy when he believes he has a great idea, but Kristell makes him quickly realise it might not be the greatest one after all. “When Vincent gets too technical with me, it’s like a foreign language to my ears,” shares Kristell in turn. Their creative disagreements are unavoidable, but important for the overall dynamic and success of the projects they embark on, especially when they are tackled through good communication. “I thoroughly consider Vincent’s opinions and feel it helps overcome any creative disagreement we may have,” points out Kristell.
She believes that truly trusting his taste is something that helps her reflect on why he challenges certain ideas in a good way and elevates whatever they do. “Creative disagreements are good! Also…I pick my fights,” she says. Vincent agrees, but also shares a little system they have developed over time – the so-called ‘single joker’ system per project. “If Kristell loves an idea so much she will not give up on it, she will use her joker and vice versa. It has become sort of a game between us!” Pretty efficient, we would say!
Their most proud collaboration is not easy to pinpoint, in between so many successful projects. “If I had to pick one,” says Kristell, “it would be the collaboration we achieved on our work for Aman
. It was an old dream of mine to work for them, and when we first approached them they did not make any films. Together with Vincent and their brand director we created a visual identity, a sensorial sanctuary. Working from scratch for a brand we love is extremely interesting and gratifying.”
Vincent also points to the film they made for Zara – ‘Matur Suksma’
– during lockdown in Bali, which proved to be very special, not only for its embedded meaning, but also because at the time Venkay didn’t have any equipment or crew at all, so they had to make do with what they had!
They ended up doing something similar recently, when in March they shot a self-produced music video for an upcoming band without any funds in Joshua Tree and the Mojave desert. “Because we like to bring a twist to any concept, I came up with an idea that was very tricky to execute properly without a crew and the right gear,” shares Vincent. “Kristell found herself behind the camera although she’s so uncomfortable with equipment. It was physically and psychologically quite a challenge, but we managed to pull it off and the band was really happy with it.” Kristell herself remembers that that particular project ran into ‘every possible obstacle’ from failing location sets to a total blackout in the town they were based that made them lose almost a day of shooting out of the three days allocated. “I thought more than once it would never happen, and even filming it I thought we would never be able to make anything decent out of it, but Vincent never lost faith. A great great lesson learned, never to give up and trust yourself.”
And those great lessons are in abundance with this duo – while Kristell admits to learning patience from Vincent, and how to have trust in her own creative process and to underwire everything she puts her mind to with a great deal of resilience, Vincent has learned from her how to pace himself and take a moment to breathe before acting on things. Together, they make Venkay what it ought to be – a surge of creativity and passion.