Pick up any fashion magazine and you’re likely to find a feature that was shot at a private residence somewhere in the hills of Los Angeles. Maybe it was shot at a celebrity’s own home, or it’s an empty space looking for a bit of PR exposure, or maybe it’s one of the many LA homes designed by a famous architect like Frank Lloyd Wright or John Lautner. Between the canyon vistas, city lights, and expansive pooldecks, it’s a look that every photo editor has wanted at some point.
Our last look book shoot was inside an industrial loft. With floor to ceiling windows, wood slats, bricks and cement floors, it lended the Fall 2011 line a definite New York vibe. For spring, we’re bringing it back to Los Angeles, and it’s our turn to try the home in the hills look. A few scouting visits turned up a beautifully maintained 1920’s Spanish style home in Pacific Palisades overlooking the ocean. The stepped gardens, trellises, stone stairways, benches, koi ponds, archways, and stucco surfaces offered exactly the greenery and texture we wanted to complement the spring line.
We got started in hair and makeup early, before jumping right into the shoot. Because we only make denim, we take a lot of time before the shoot to select tops, shoes and accessories that highlight the best features of the jeans. For example, if we’re showing a high waisted trouser, we can’t pair it with a long shirt or the photo won’t show off the height of the rise. For the most part, looks are preselected and arranged on rolling racks so they are ready to go and help the shoot move quickly.
One of the major concerns with shooting outside is lighting. You’re racing to get everything finished before the sun goes down, and styling, changing into and shooting 21 looks in one day makes for a tight schedule. Also, direct sunlight can make for really harsh lighting. Luckily a thin ocean layer rolled in towards the afternoon and created a brilliant soft light.
First priority during the look book shoot was to capture the core product shots we needed for the look book, a vital tool for sales and publicity which needs to show off the best pieces in the line. Things worked very smoothly and we finished all the shots we needed for the look book by 5:00PM, which left some time to have some fun. As our photographer Tamara joked, “we went from selling product to selling sex”. We shot edgier looks with more artistic blocking and camera settings to capture additional photography for promotional use, advertising, or even the look book itself.
As expected, casting worked out perfectly; Angelika was fun to have on set, and knew exactly how to show the clothes. We even snuck in a couple of shots of her tattoo, a small Maltese cross on her back - the exact same shape as the HABITUAL Glory pocket. Back in the office, as we’ve started to review the shots, the raw images are so strong we are realizing we won’t need to do much editing in post at all. We can’t wait to send the final Spring 2012 look book off to the printers in a few days.