Sep 18 2014
I’m suffering from withdrawal after the glorious (if tiring) road trip and workshop in Italy. As well as a wagon load of washing and dry cleaning, I also brought back ten words in Italian, so I now profess to be practically bilingual. Although… come to think of it, my French is even better so perhaps I should say trilingual. Luckily, I will have the opportunity to brush up on the Francais next week ☺ on Andrew’s Paris Fashion Workshop!
The language of style is universal and my brief for Paris has given me scope to make the most of it so I am rubbing my little hands together in glee.
’Fashion’ is a word open to a number of interpretations and it helps, of course, to have three fabulous models: Amber Tutton, Gemma Huh and Zara Watson. When Andrew first mentioned the workshop, I started to think of how I would go about putting a collection together and this is kind of how my though process developed…
Over the course of the three days in Paris, says Andrew, photographers on the course will have three workshops and four extended opportunities to shoot for their portfolios, including one night shoot. I nod encouragingly/enthusiastically. He outlines the historical and picturesque locations he has planned, drawing partly on ideas from his previous shoots and workshops in the city – Montmartre, The Eiffel Tower, the banks of the Seine and Notre Dame. Now I can visualise the backdrops for the outfits and the models who will be wearing them.
I always try to put myself in the shoes of the students doing the workshop. They have come to learn new skills and polish up their existing camera craft but you can do that anywhere. So, accepting that Paris adds atmosphere, ambiance and that all-important contextual element, my job is to try and add a frisson of excitement through the creative styling and wardrobe decisions I make. And don’t forget that models take their cues from what they are wearing; it influences pose, expression and attitude. I muse over whether we need classic, romantic, funky, sensual, rockin’…? At this point, I add feedback and past experiences from other shoots to the pot. I always like to hear what people thought of a dress, a hairstyle or an overall look.
Getting closer to some concrete decisions. It takes a while.
Now I have some ideas, I ferret around in my wardrobe department for a bit and emerge with possibles. I dig about in the jewellery and throw a few hats, bags and belts around. By this time, more than one room is in use and cats are under strict instruction to avoid certain areas. I often have half an outfit and need to beg, borrow, shop or phone a friend to complete it. I am constantly shopping for future shoots so you can imagine my happy dance when I turn up something I had bought on spec ages ago and had forgotten about. Fortunately, every model I have ever met also has a master’s degree in shopping so, if I’m stuck for an item, they will kindly oblige. Even Andrew, the little rascal, has been known to buy the odd item (as long as it does not involve leaving his computer).
Am I ever going to get to the point? What are our three lovely models going to be wearing this September in Paris? Well, their hair colour and styles are conveniently redhead (long), blonde (shoulder length) and brunette (short) so each has a very different look. Already fabulous! Each day will be devoted to a different fashion style: Casual, Contemporary and Vintage with evening gowns all lined up for the night shoot. Personally, I can’t wait!