I had a great time styling two photo shoots with three awesome models- Diondra, Donnella and Quecyon! I had been dying to get my hands on reconstructed pieces by Cleveland designer Kimberly Alexander, creator of Virgo Voodoo, every since I started following her work on Facebook. Kimberly designs handbags and jewelry, but also has a talent for shopping at thrift stores and re-imaging the garments for one of a kind looks. You can shop her original designs and thrifted finds on Vinted.com
Once I secured the clothes I started planning the shoot. I laid out all 15 pieces Kimberly let me pull, draped my mannequin and took photos to get an idea of how to piece it altogether. Then I narrowed down the complete looks including accessories and add ons, always remembering to keep an open mind and other options cause sometimes things look right on a mannequin, but awkward on a real person.
I looked through my contacts to see what models would properly serve the looks. I knew I had the clothes for a limited amount of time and only one free weekend available to do this so it all went into the picking and choosing and added a sense of urgency. I chose Quecyon, a professional dancer/model I met when she walked my first style show in 2010, and my other two picks were Diondra and Donella. I actually work with Dion at my desk job, she also modeled in a fashion presentation I did last year and I met Donella sometime a year or two ago when she came to a model call that I had and walked in another one of my style shows.
I try to come up with a theme, or a story based around the clothes, even if nobody ever knows because it helps with cohesion and gives the models something to play around with in their head while posing.
The (very loose) theme I chose for Donnella and Dion played on the contrasting fabrics and colors. Fabrics ranged from rugged leather, stiff cotton and soft tulle, fluffy and skinny, pastels and brights, prints and solids etc...
I also played with the line of the neck by using a white Victorian collar ruffle bib shirt on Donnella and a hot pink tie bow crop top with black splotches on Dion.
Quecyon actually had a story based around a modern day urban geisha who comes to an urban city in America and immediately starts to assimilate through clothes. Like I said sometimes they don't make sense but it helps me narrow down my selection and set up a few shots lol.
As a stylist I prefer to concentrate strictly on the fashion, but sometimes it is hard to coordinate a photographer, a makeup artist, a hairstylist and a model so I do most of it myself. Obviously I am not a photographer or any of those other things and I don't pretend to be, but when I need to play other roles to get the job done I will.
The first shoot with Dion and Donnella was on Saturday. I had chosen the Cleveland Public Library downtown cause it is one of our most beautiful buildings and they let me have complete use of it for my shoots as long as I don't block any doorways and ask for permission first. It had been raining all week and I really wanted the shoot to be outside in the downtown area, but I secured the library anyway just in case. And thank goodness I did cause it rained lol! I had asked another photographer Essence (read more about her, here) to join me and see if she wanted to shoot models for her own portfolio a s well. Both models were sooo fun to work with and we got a lot done in under two hours.
Quecyon's shoot was the very next day on Sunday and I had her meet me at the rapid station (again just in case of rain, you better have back up locations lol) but we ended up walking to a nice area where you could see downtown Cleveland in the background. She slayed three separate looks and we were done in a little over an hour and a half.
For me, there is more work to be done... After we wrap, I quickly check the clothes for any damages, gather any jewelry, accessories or shoes and pack them away.
When I get home, I round up all the pieces I pulled from Kimberly, including the ones I did not use and hang them all in a garment bag to return. Then I sit down and look at all the photos on my computer and discard any blurry photos, the ones where the clothes don't look right, or the model's eyes are not focused, and then I place the ones that really stand out in a folder. It's the process of elimination from there, I narrow the photos down to around 15 or 20 out of 100s and then do very basic editing. I place my watermark on them, email them to the designer and then to my models. Then I am done!
It's a lot of work for sure, but I love the results of collaborating with new models, clothes and energy! Just like any production there is a lot of planning and replanning, organization and timely execution that helps it go smoothly, but in the end it's all worth it!
I hope you enjoy the pics!!
*And check out other shoots that I have done on my styling page!*
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