Fashion Shoot Shenanigans – Stylist

At the beginning of last month,  I had the good fortune of being booked to style a fashion shoot for a very exciting Director/Choreographer called Rachel Birch-Lawson. Here is her website: https://www.rachelbirchlawson.co.uk/  check it out!

NB: The images shown in this blog are not the official images. These are test/backstage images to give you a flavour of the day. 

This was a real treat, being hired to style her fashion shoot. The official images will be used for her up and coming show ‘Unassailable Us’ a contemporary dance show that explores the underbelly of her long term relationship with her husband. The highs, the lows, the love, the anguish of making a long term relationship work, come what may, the good, the bad and the ugly! This is what I love about contemporary dance, it can explore emotions like no other dance form, in my opinion. There is something so magical about this genre, perhaps in another life I was a dancer!

There were 2 main locations, the first site was at Shoreham Shipping Yard. That was fun, the manager on site was very kind in letting us work on site. They had to turn off machinery and stay with us the whole time for health and safety, however it was worth it as the raw backdrop really did create a fantastic atmosphere for the photos!

The 2nd location was central Brighton, quite frankly you are just spoiled for locations, so many urban and alternative locations/spaces/backdrops. Too many to choose from if I am honest. However, for these photos the focus was on Rachel, portraying herself as an artist, maker, choreographer, director. Capturing her as a person and professional.

Time was really of the essence for this job, I has 2 days to source the clothes. A challenge that I really loved. Getting to paid to go shopping, my dream come true! Lols. I had a small budget so everything had to come from secondhand/vintage/charity clothes shops. The accessories I sourced from retailers hiring key pieces to finish the outfits off. I had to source 5 outfits in total. Luckily the clothes gods were with me and the right items presented themselves and the retailers were kind enough to let me hire the pieces I needed! The best places to source items on a budget is London Road and the North Laine, there is so many stores to choose from, and it feels like home to me! So rather than me waffle on about the day here are a range of photo’s to give you a feel what happened. These are NOT the official photos, btw. These are a collection of my own and the crew giving you backstage access to this fashion shoot!

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Look at the concentration on my face..LOLs. I bet you are wondering what the hell am I doing with that bit of ribbon. I can’t even explain how much problem solving has to happen on site. Things need pulling in, fixing, moving about. You need allsorts of random items to bring the outfit together for the camera. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors so to speak, so next time you pick up a fashion mag and look at image and think ‘wow’ how lovely does that dress looks on that model, it is probably being pinned and bulldog clipped into place, to create the actual image! There might even be sellotape and padding used in places… there is a lot of trickery used in fashion photography, we all know that now don’t we!

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I am a bit obsessed with Peaky Blinders. So, you can see where the inspo for this look came from! I am huge fan of Stephanie Collie, the costumer designer for the show, she has also overseen costume for a few Guy Ritchie’s movies too. I  love her eye for street style and theatrical glamour for film and TV. Again, I would like to point out the concentration on my face ..LOLS! Have you ever seen a more serious ladder mover. I was a bit worried about Rachel falling, however lets not worry about that now as it didn’t happen. Phew.

The three images below where  the final outfits I built to capture Rachel as a professional artist.  I was asked to push the boundaries, being bold, fierce and brave. I wanted to try and capture the many facets of Rachel’s personality, as an artist, maker, dancer and activist. I love these outfits, them I am bit biased! I think they certainly offer bold images to portray this very talented woman!

Planning a fashion shoot, need a hand, then give us a shout. I am always on the look out for creative collabs. Contact me francesca@fashion-lives-here.com

NB: These are not the official images, these are backstage/test images that I wanted to share with you. 

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