Video

Sightseeing

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Willi Smith for WilliWear, Sightseeing Spring 1985 Presentation, 1984.

Smith’s Spring 1985 Sightseeing collection took WilliWear basics on a thematic tour of his global and cultural influences. “What’s the point if you can’t put clothing anywhere in this world?” Smith said. WilliWear collections celebrated a diversity of cultures, geographies, and practices, pulling references from the Caribbean islands, the golf courses of middle America, and the New York Stock Exchange. He designed for “anyone who loves my clothes.” Suburban teenagers, working artists, home sewers, and Upper East Side society mavens all felt comfortable in WilliWear. Sightseeing illustrates this confluence of communities and celebrates their difference together on the same stage.

TRANSCRIPT

 An audio-described version of the video can be found here

00 01

Two sets of hands beat standing drums. “Sightseeing Spring ’85—WilliWear—WilliSmith”

 

00 11

Women dance slowly, and lounge in a cave-like setting, fanning themselves with hand fans.

 

00 19

The women constantly fade in and out, overlapping with the hands beating the drums. They wear loose clothing in browns, tans, creams, and grays. Several wear scarves in their hair.

 

00 36

One Black man watches them, and another with long dreadlocks sits with his elbows on his widespread knees.

 

00 47

A bald man with an open shirt sits on a pile of straw while a woman lies back with her head in his lap.

 

00 56

The group of twelve men and women lounge—making music and fanning themselves.

 

01 03

A woman in a tan and cream striped jumpsuit stands, shifting to the music while another woman bounces behind her.

 

01 16

A seated woman with feathers in her headscarf sways and fans herself.

 

01 24

Vegetables are tossed into a wicker basket, hands make music on ornate drums, and fans flit back and forth.

 

01 37

The men and women chat as they lounge on the straw-covered floor.

 

01 51

The man shares a smile with the woman in the feathered headscarf, who shifts her hips and swings her arms.

 

02 03

A woman with thick white socks rolled down around her ankles crosses her long legs.

 

02 12

A woman wearing a long brown coat over yellow pants and a yellow blouse sways with another woman while the others lounge and fan themselves.

 

02 25

The image freezes and quickly recedes as if in a digital tunnel.

 

02 30

Elsewhere, a group of White teenagers hangs out, dressed in red-and-white gingham, black leather loafers with thick white socks, and baggy plaid pants with neatly rolled cuffs. A preppy girl talks on the phone while her friends stand in a line holding golf clubs.

 

02 47

The images flip by with a visual stutter like a slow stop-motion film. Several girls wear white headbands, pleated plaid shirts, and rolled short sleeves.

 

03 00

Some of the boys sit at a table stacking dominos, dressed in gingham and plaid. The screen breaks into vertical panels of repeating images.

 

03 20

A young man in an oversized peach-colored suit with rolled-up sleeves leans against a white lattice wall. The teens mill about and chat as the freeze-frame images continue to stutter.

 

03 35

A golfball rolls along the Astroturf floor as blond teens in white headbands look on.

 

03 46

One girl passes a telephone handset to another, and a golfball is putted across the floor. Images of the preppy teens flit by like stop motion.

 

03 58

The screen splits into separate images of the teens hanging out, putting golfballs, and stacking dominoes beside teacups.

 

04 15

The young man in the peach suit rests a golf club on his shoulder, and a girl in a white headband lies on the Astroturf.

 

04 29

Dominoes are stacked, and a teenage girl smiles. The guy in the peach suit poses with his hands in the pockets of his pleated pants.

 

04 39

The image is wiped away, replaced by a thin grid of white-on-black. New footage appears in one large rectangle after the other. The blocks of film slot themselves into place until the screen is full, like an irregular checkerboard. In each block, young White people in glasses check clipboards, standing against a backdrop of gray machinery.

 

05 00

In the largest block, the images flip by like cards in a Rolodex. The young men and women wear gray and blue suits with loose ties, and white dress shirts with open collars. One woman wears a sleeveless dress shirt with a black tie and a matching blazer over one shoulder.

 

05 19

The Rolodex block fills the screen, then splits into four and wipes to the corners, leaving behind the thin white grid. More film blocks appear, and slot themselves into place. The separate films show men and women in gray and blue suits with loose ties, consulting clipboards and each other. One woman wears a sleeveless dress shirt with a black tie and a matching blazer over one shoulder.

 

05 50

The Rolodex block fills the screen, then splits into four and wipes to the corners, leaving behind the thin white grid. More film blocks appear, and slot themselves into place. The separate films show men and women in gray and blue suits with loose ties, consulting clipboards and each other. Another large Rolodex block occupies our upper right. In it, women in gray and plaid knee-length dress skirts consult with men in large spectacles.

 

06 37

The image wipes to the corners revealing a synthesizer being played by a woman with a red bob and bangs, dark sunglasses, and a red blazer worn across her shoulders.

 

06 43

Other young White people in sunglasses look on, grinning.

 

06 48

Another woman in a similar red bob interviews people wearing white-and-black patterned shirts, while the keyboard player performs.

 

07 00

A blonde in a baggy blue overcoat and patterned shirt grooves to the music.

 

07 05

Appetizers are served, and a man in a yellow-and-black patterned sports coat dances.

 

07 13

The interviewer gives away her microphone and others begin to dance, all wearing baggy clothes heavily adorned with abstract patterns. On the painted backdrop, the name “Willi Smith” spans a hillside like the iconic letters in the Hollywood Hills.

 

07 30

More appetizers are served to the dancing, smiling guests.

 

07 43

The interviewer asks more questions, and a man takes a drink from a tray.

 

07 50

A woman in a black-and-white sweater plays the synthesizer while a woman with curly blond hair looks on, snapping her fingers.

  

08 00

Partygoers gather before the painted backdrop, while others dance, shimmying their shoulders back and forth.

 

08 30

A camera’s flash washes across the dancing partygoers as the woman in the red bob and sunglasses plays the synthesizer.

 

08 44

The screen pulses white, and a woman with long black lashes and pursed red lips stares straight at us. She poses, dressed entirely in white.

 

08 56

Another woman with painted pink cheeks and cherry-red lipstick poses beside her, also dressed in white. Other people in white pose with them, some using white cloth hand puppets with black heads.

 

09 14

A woman in a short white dress sits on a stool, gazing over her frilly white collar. Shocks of white makeup adorn her eyelids and brows. Flanking her, two men in white lift long brass horns.

 

09 25

The image freezes.

 

09 29

A Black man with round glasses, Willi Smith, turns and smiles.

 

09 36

End Credits

‘Sightseeing Spring ’85—WilliWear—WilliSmith”

Pixelated credits scroll across the bottom of the screen:

“Copyright 1984 WilliWear Limited

Video by Paul Garrin

Post Production: Nexus, NYC”

 

09 50

The image fades to black leaving the thin red line at the right edge of the screen.