So The Only Way is Essexmas aired on the 10th & Lydia got loads of screen time, a piece on her outfit on Reveal's website & on ITV's Only Way is Essex site plus more press images were shared on various social media.
*I note that it appears by time Lydia filmed her piece to camera she was a little bit tiddly & had been in her corset a long time. It also looks like it had been adjusted since I originally put her it it & was sitting 1 1/2" higher on her torso than it should have been, so it probably does feel tight; it's sitting too high & if they are too tight after you've eaten.... a gap in the back from a loosened ribbon looks fine - cute even x
LYDIA BRIGHT WEARS CHANTAL MALLETT WHITE DRESS &CROWN TO FILM TOWIE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL.
Last week I was asked by stylist Joey Bevan if I had a white, Marie Antoinette gown to loan to Lydia Bright for The Only Way Is Essex / #TOWIE Essexmas Special going out on ITVBe on the 10th & 14th December. I don't have any samples in white & there wasn't time to make anything big & complex, so I suggested I sketch something I could turn around in the time frame (4 days) & create a costume to fit Lydia & her Frozen Marie Antoinette theme. I watch the show & have a good idea of Lydia's taste & what she looks good in, so designed something that worked to the theme, reflected my style & hopefully captured hers too.
First thing Wednesday morning I had Lydia's measurements (I don't usually work blind from just measurements, as they don't give you a full picture but 4 days does not allow fitting time) & went shopping for all things white & wow is it hard to find actual brilliant, proper white! I found a white lace that had a snowy quality to it & some white lining to go underneath, then it was lots of white dress net, some fab merry widow net from my local hat supplier & the hardest forage of all (even at Christmas) was white flowers! Not Ivory, not cream! Dunelm Mill has some proper satin white Orchids that worked a treat & I remembered I had a couple of pretty white organza magnolias, sitting in a box I bought years ago, so I dug those out too. The corset & straps were hand beaded in a mix of crystals & pearls using my signature beading
.I know I said 'costume' but in honesty the corset was made almost exactly as I would my couture work, though the skirt was more 'built', rather than created from copious amounts of planning & pattern cutting; a sort of organic design based on the sketch.
I can't say I clocked in much sleep for the latter half of the week or at all Saturday night & didn't have much time to stop & eat but it was totally worth it! Sunday morning (30/11) we delivered the dress to Essex & actually had a lovely & slightly surreal morning sitting in Debbie's (Lydia's mum) kitchen with tea & toast watching Lydia transformed into Marie Antoinette by stylist Joey Bevan & his team (Abbi Rose Make Up & Charlie Loves Hair).
I waited around to get her into the dress & it honestly couldn't have fitted any better or Lydia look any cuter! Joey chose my silver Lilique crown to complete her look. We took some photos, which I will probably share after the show but for now check out the ones taken by the press:
The family are really lovely so it was a pleasure to be able to work with them & hopefully I might do again x And of course I can't wait to see the show :)
On 1st December images of Lydia appeared online, on the OK, Daily Mail & Mirror's sites. With OK saying:
"While Gemma Collins made her much-awaited return to the show following a brief break in the I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! 2014 jungle, it was Lydia Bright who somewhat stole the show.
With her on-off boyfriend James Argent still absent, the fashion designer guaranteed her air time by turning up to the glitzy end-of-series party held at Lympne Castle, Kent, dressed as a real-life festive fairy."
*I also have making of & close up photos on my Instagram feed x
A Behind the scenes video for Ashleigh Hodges Asylum Collection.
Hair- Ashleigh Hodges Photographer-Barry Jeffery Stylist- Kate Jeffery Make Up- Gemma Kimmings
Hair Assistant Ruby Cooper Hobbs & Jade Hewitt Make Up assistants Lorna McEvoy & Marta Wozniak
With thanks to: Errol Douglas | Matthew Gavin | Chantal Mallett | Joanne Fleming | Matrix Haircare
BEHIND THE GLOSS
PHOTOSHOOTS: To outsiders they seem like such fun & they really really can be or they can be a car crash.
Whilst writing the blog entry below, I felt the need to unburden & share my experiences of working on photoshoots. I know I am not alone in my experiences but for the most part those that have bad experiences keep quiet & take these things on the chin. Contacts on my professional Facebook profile tell me of models wanting to not return items or photographers that beg to shoot head-dresses then forget to credit the designer afterwards or shoots that happened a year ago & the photos never showed up. Waiting months on end for images without explanation & being dropped from credits are all too common.
THE GOOD: Photoshoots can & sometimes are fabulous to be a part of. Get the right team; one that gels, has no hierarchy or egos & is just a group of talented people working together & respecting each other's talent to create amazing images & the shoot & the images will exceed everyone's expectations.
*I met this great hair stylist called Andy on Emily's most recent shoot & apart from really feeling like I've met him before & liking him instantly, I liked & appreciated that when we decided to shoot my opera cape from the back, I looked around to see that Andy had already pulled Abi's hair around to the front & fanned out the collar to show it off; even though it no longer showcased the hair. Because he knew it was what was right for the photographs. A great guy, a team player & like me; sees the big picture. And I called him Eddie all day because I misheard the introduction via a thick Russian accent & he was too sweet to correct me. I was mortified when I realised afterwards & apologised profusely but he was lovely about it.
THE BAD: But just like in any job or office where people work together, it isn't always so dreamy. Not everyone is a Emily, Steve, Konrad, Tris, Andy, Andreea, Lucy, Abi, Dominika, Yanina, Charlotte, Phoebe, to name a few. And 'we' are 'arty' with those 'temperaments'. Promises are made & broken, images take months to turn up, you are seemingly dropped off credits on social media & sometimes don't even know your work has been published. One can turn up to these things expecting the shoot to be as described & find the parameters have radically changed for the worse & you are there, essentially wasting your time on images that you know you are going to hate & are never going to use.
Wouldn't it be so much better if we shared? To those not in the industry this post will probably be a little eyebrow raising & intriguing & to those that are, this post might help you learn from some of my experiences; experiences that mainly come from expecting behaviour of others, equal to my own.
Whilst it is completely understandable to not be able to be on set when mainstream magazines organise shoots, shoots put together to submit to publications or for portfolios (known as TFP or time for print) one would expect to welcome designers into the creative mix - Emily Soto is very welcoming, as is my friend Andreea Virna for instance. But you would be shocked (or if you are a fellow designer you may not) by the resistance, on occasion, to our being on set. I go to set to protect my interest; my working collection, keep it clean & safe & to see that the pieces go on correctly, that they are not on sideways, back to front, upside down or that the hanging loops are being used as straps. That they are worn as designed, with the cleavage as it should be, laced properly & not left purposely loose to achieve the flat chested 'couture' look which defeats the purpose of my corsets! Because otherwise what is the point? An opportunity to have my work shot correctly & beautifully rather than to let people go wild with my pieces, style it any old how & shoot it regardless of potential damage or my brand image? It's really not worth it to me & if PR people from the big labels are welcome on set, why is it so strange independant designers be there? The likes of Chanel & Dior can more easily absorb a ruined gown or two than a small independent.
As someone who has participated in a number of shoots, particularly this year, I find attitudes by some to the clothing designers very odd? I never expect to be treated like Karl Largerfeld but equally do expect to be acknowledged & greeted when I arrive (I have been snubbed) & I have also been treated like an unpaid servant. These garments which, at the couture end of the scale, take 100's of hours & are costly to make, actually take far longer to create than the collective hours spent on a shoot by a team. Yet are treated by some publications & creatives as inconsequential; not worthy of mention & in some cases even respect!. Our work is even on occasions abused; dragged across filthy floors, not put on correctly or altered in photoshop & not for the better. Whilst most models I have worked with are highly professional, some models (if I wasn't there) would eat, drink & smoke whilst wearing my clothes & the garments will get watermarked & stained: from dew/mud/grass/make-up/blood & even vomit! Most of which will not be removed by dry cleaning & with a little thought or planning could have been avoided. They will be styled with things we forbid the stylist to use with our work & I have even had the experience of having some gowns called in by a stylist for what was seemingly a fictional bridal shoot in a print magazine & subsequently one of them was in fact loaned by the stylist to a hairdresser for a live event on stage at a trade show! I found that out via the stylist being tagged on social media whilst I got no mention & the images were being shared all over twitter. The stylist then handed the garments back to me crumpled up in the bottom of my garment bag (they'd fallen off the hanger at some point on their little trip up North) & which I had taken the time & born the cost to both deliver & collect!
I have had such awful experiences between the lovely ones that I am determined to design a garment release/contract to protect my work , guarantee credits & with an ever growing list of T&C's.
This year has taught me that I will not loan to group shoots where photographers pay an organiser & my getting images are at the whim of the photographers & I will only loan to workshops run by photographers that are top of their field & extremely professional & whom I really want to work with. I will ask to see any commissioning documents provided to stylists by publications & ask a lot more questions & I have promised myself that if I arrive on set in good faith & discover the shoot is not as it was purported to be or I was deceived in any way, I will leave; even if I am painted as the one to look unprofessional. Because photoshoots can be great fun- exhilarating, inspiring, adrenalin fueled & happily exhausting but they are also part of running a business & one can not bend over backwards to accommodate others at a detriment to oneself or one's business.
PROFESSIONAL HAIRDRESSER MAGAZINE
My work is featured in Professional Hairdresser Magazine, October 2014 as part of a spread showcasing Ashleigh Hodges / the Asylum Shoot I participated in. Unfortunately, however, the magazine has not credited the clothing designers.
*This appears to be common with hair magazines; they choose to credit the stylist only, instead of crediting clothing designers & stylist. Indeed the models do not get a credit either.
Personally I am deeply unhappy with this industry snub to contributors & am making it a policy to no longer work with this sector of the industry, regardless of how nice individual hair dressers & stylists are, until the hair dressing community wises up & I & all the other designers contributing get credits for their work.
Designers loan clothing to shoots for free as part of running their business in exchange for images & exposure & whilst fashion magazines credit the whole creative team, hair magazines do not follow the same industry standard. And whilst it may be "all about the hair", I am all about the clothes; without which these publications would not be so dynamic or interesting & would all be suffering from a case of The Emperors New Clothes- X rated & relegated to the top shelf or full of art nudes. So unless those publications are happy to feature iPhone images of stylist's creations on wig blocks or modelled by their better looking mates, they should have the decency to credit all the contributors; photographer, stylist, make-up, hair, post production, models AND designers.
I am not the only person taking issue with missing credits either. Model Jen Brook blogged about her missing credit this week on images that appeared in a US hair magazine. As Jen says 'Credit, where it is due'.
So for anyone searching for the clothing designers behind the Ashleigh Hodges Asylum Collection featured in Professional Hairdresser Magazine, October 2014; those designers are myself & Joanne Flemming.
Photography Barry Jeffery | Stylist: Kate Jeffery | Hair Ashleigh Hodges | Make-up Gemma Kimmings
I've just added a selection of Emily Soto's images from Ireland to the Photoshoot Archive page. Emily's style is so soft, feminine & romantic & really reminds me of the Pre-Paphaelite painters like Waterhouse. Emily shoots digital, film & uses poloroids & uses a selection of fashion actions she designed to add the distinctive vintage signature to her work. A piece she wrote on her photography was published on the Huffington Post's site recently, to learn more about this rising star in the industry, read the piece she wrote here.
Just a month after working with Emily Soto in Ireland, we were shooting again together. Emily flew in from NYC for the week & we shot with a beautiful model called Abi on a beautiful, warm & sunny, late October day at Capel Manor, Enfield. I know it well- I studied garden design there for three years & it made a wonderful backdrop. Images are under wraps for now but we shot some new pieces: Valentina, Dolce Vita with a huge black tulle skirt & Coquette with a matching tulle & lace opera cape, so come back soon for an update x.
This past weekend I was involved with an Emily Soto workshop at Russborough House in Ireland.
Emily Soto is a very talented, well known NYC based fashion photographer. Emily was running a course teaching photographers her techniques & as part of her workshop she & the attendees photograph an editorialesque shoot.
Emily always uses wonderfully photogenic, gamine, delicate young models & shoots in a very romantic style that, quite frankly, I have been a fan of for quite some time & I have been keen to work with her. So naturally I was thrilled when she asked me to contribute accessories & gowns for her to shoot & what a day!
A sunny, warm, perfect Irish September day & my first experience of Ireland. I arrived home the next morning quite exaused but having had just the best time & everyone was lovely. And it is so nice to meet a well known photographer that is so down to earth, warm, enthusiastic & appreciative of others talents & the part they place in a great collaboration.
And the shoot team were top notch; I worked with stylist Yanina Nikitina again (from the Fan Museum shoot) - a Russian girl living in London with a fabulous accent & who pronounces wedges VEDGES & smoothies SMOOZIES. Dominika Laureckis from Cork created fantabulous hair, Sheila Kenny also from Cork created great make-up & finally Cat & Phoebe from 1st Option Models were both beautiful, perfect "Emily" girls & total troopers in 5" heels.
We shot three of my gowns. Coquette, Aurelia & Valentina IV & lots of accessories on all six looks.
I just know we have some great images coming our way & that Emily will have created some wonderful photographs.
And until then here's some BTS (behind the scenes) goodies xxx
Chantal Mallett gowns in LA based magazine DeVour Magazine:
Sunday's charity show raised £4770 for the two chosen charities which is great x Portrait & boudoir photographer Mikaela Morgan has posted a great blog piece about her part in the show & given me a lovely mention with some images she took of my scene - thank you Mikaela x
Below: Aurelia modelled by the very striking Charlotte.
Check out page 6 of Jute Magazine: Whisp x
From a photoshoot I participated in at the Fan Museum, Greenwich withRhian Cox Photography, stylist Yanina Nikitina, makeup Alisha Bailey, hair Sharon Robinson & modelled by Gemma Huh.
I've worked on some collaborative photoshoots lately & have mentions & images on some of the creatives's blogs :
Chantal Mallett will be participating in local hair salon, The Annexx's, Charity Fashion Show in nearby Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital & Riding for the Disabled.
The event is on 25th May 2014 at 5pm at Centenary Hall, Berkhamstead.
4th May 2014:
An exciting new section has been added to the site featuring recent & archive photoshoots of Chantal's shoots & shoots she has participated in.
28th April 2014:
This year Chantal has taken part in six photoshoots:
A Caged Couture inspired shoot at Fennes,
A shoot in an derelict grade II listed building in Margate with birds of prey,
A high end couture bridalwear shoot at Cliveden House, Berkshire,
A shoot at the Fan Museum in Greenwich,
A Bruce Smith shoot at Preswold Hall ,
And her own accessory shoot.
Whilst some are yet to be added to the site because we're awaiting images or the photographers are securing publishing of images first.... Fennes (Les Courtesans), Margate (Ladyhawk) & Cliveden images are either featured in the gowns portfolio or will be available to view imminently in the new photoshoot archive section on the site. You can also find images from recent shoots on our Facebook fan page too.
Ladyhawk was a particularly cool shoot (also quite literally as it was so cold inside the building that day). I had met a lovely bunch of photographers on a shoot at Fennes & had subsequently been invited by one of the photographers to another shoot in a derelict building. I initially declined because handmade silk couture & mouldy walls do not, in reality, make sensible bed fellows but then I read a post on Facebook saying they had secured birds of prey for the shoot & the project caught my interest.... And whilst I still wasn't prepared to bring my main collection to shoot, I was prepared to invest a week in creating a semi-couture gown that would: have the right vibe for the shoot (made mainly from bits I had in the showroom), to fit the 6' model & be washable as it seemed inevitable that it would fall victim to a birds digestive system; which it did. The gown I created was made in black net & coloured in tones of blues, greens & browns & featured a very racy, plunging neckline. A similar, couture gown can be made, should anyone admire the design. And the shoot was worth it - the images are fabulous.