2 Minutes With ... Véronique Halbrey, ECD at Spring Studios

On her work for Just Dance, The Webster and Glam Slam

Véronique Halbrey is executive creative director at agency Spring Studios, where she leads the creative  output for the U.S. With over 15 years of experience across beauty, fashion, entertainment and trend forecasting, Véronique is passionate about crafting meaningful stories driven by deep visual and emotional impact.

Prior to joining Spring, Véronique was VP, creative director at Rent the Runway. Before that, she was global creative director, digital for MAC at Estée Lauder. She also lead global creative at Ubisoft in Paris, guiding efforts on the award-winning game Just Dance, creating 150+ experiences played by millions of fans worldwide.

Véronique began her career at design and style studio Carlin International Group, where she pioneered  trends forecasting methods.

We spent two minutes with Véronique to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.

Véronique, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in France, in Lyon and then Paris. I now live in Brooklyn, New York.

How you first realized you were creative.

As far as I remember I have always been fascinated by the human ability of being creative and making art, but I think the first time it became clear to me that I wanted to be a creative myself, I was a teenager. I spent ages looking at music videos. I was obsessed with Daft Punk's Around The World, The Pharcyde's Drop and Björk's All is Full of Love. Since then, every time I heard music that moved me, a full world of images unfolded in my mind.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Richard Avedon, specifically for his American West's portraits. But also, fashion photographers like Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton. Today, however, I have a slightly different opinion about their male gaze on femininity. 

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

When I dropped out of college while I was studying art history. Eventually I went back to school for a master's degree, but I realized at that moment that I wanted to be part of a making process, somehow, and not only study art movements.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Three women from different visual fields: Viviane Sassen (photo) / Pina Bausch (choreography) / Sophie Calle (conceptual artist weaving mediums).

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

Actually some magazines have inspired me for a while now: The Life of Things, Beauty Papers, and Atmos. Also, Sociotype Journal (the first issue of Studio Socio), and the exhibition catalog for Wolfgang Tillmans' To look without fear.

Your favorite fictional character.

Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family and Walter White/Heisenberg from Breaking Bad.

Someone or something worth following in social media.

@joepease on Instagram.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

I learned that I can become resilient and adapt to something I cannot control (in some extreme conditions though). I had the constant narrative that I needed a lot of everything to feel entertained, but like everyone else, this collective pause forced me to reflect on life differently and create new routines, rhythms. I also just had a baby at that time so I imagine it was easier for me to stay stuck at home and nest than it was for others.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

During the few years as global creative director of Just Dance at Ubisoft, I had the chance to work on transforming a small casual game into a pop culture phenomenon. Concepting an experience at the crossroads of game design, music, character/fashion design, dance and video was definitely one of the richest creative adventures I have been part of. And it's not every day that you get to see millions of people in the world playing with one of your pieces of work. 

A recent project you're proud of.

Two recent Spring NY projects:

For The Webster, we had to rethink their approach for seasonal photoshoots to be able to accelerate their digitalization and elevate their overall expression; as a brand and not only a retailer. We managed to give a sophisticated editorial flare to a very high volume of images optimized for their different channels.

Then Glam Slam. We partnered with IMG to co-create a new kind of cultural event and experience. On the rooftop of our studios in Tribeca, we celebrated the intersection of tennis and style through a series of daily programming, screenings, fashion presentations and limited merch collaboration. It happened during two of New York's biggest franchises, the U.S Open and New York Fashion Week. This event had a massive reach, 2.8 billion total earned media impressions.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

All the 80s/90s original campaign films by Jean-Paul Goude but more recently the epic Lacoste Films by Megaforce or Spike Lee for Kenzo. 

Someone else's work you admired lately.

Torso Solutions work for Mugler and Burberry. Everything Daniel Sannwald. The collectif La Horde.

Your main strength as a creative person.

I am obsessive. I think you need a certain degree of obsessive thinking to be a good creative. I can be obsessed over a color combination, an artist, filming people a certain way, a subculture or other people's obsessions…

Your biggest weakness.

I am bored very easily; I feel that everything needs to happen quickly and intensely.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Looking at my daughter laughing.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Seeing other people sad.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Technically I am not in advertising, in the traditional sense, but in another life I could see myself being a choreographer/dancer. 

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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