How do you create a fashion story in a luxury hotel suite? Let me take you on a journey to see…
‘In the beginning I imagined myself as a character. A woman travelling with her businessman husband. Alone by day in Prague. And I called her Eva.
That day Eva was dressed and waiting for her husband who was due back from a meeting. She opened a bottle of Czech sparkling wine right on 4PM, the time of his return, as a pre-dinner drink in the suite; to be followed by a candlelit dinner, an opera and so on. In other words she was in a state of high anticipation of a romantic night out in glorious Prague!’
‘And so it’s ACTION!
Kent and I started our shoot with my favourite cliché: a life is fabulous happy portrait. Well why not? So there I was draping myself lightly across the lavish carved and gold gilded divan like some femme fatale. With a glass of the Czech sparkling wine in my hand… “Cheers~”‘
‘Where’s my shot? How best could I show this marvellous room with it’s red drapery, rich gold finishes on the beautiful furniture and make sure Viv was looking good as well… And could I work a special Prague souvenir, my “new” chess set into the shot somehow?’
‘We moved our “film set” from the regal divan to the exotic Persian carpet, because I spotted all the richness – the colours and the textures all beautifully packed in that amazing corner!
Kent added his “new toy” – an antique chess set he had found at a fancy junk shop in Ječná, Nové Město as part of the scene. Motivation for the photo: “Eva’s husband was two-hour late; couldn’t be reached by phone and Eva felt betrayed and trapped.” My story had a dramatic turn.’
‘Often when working with Viv I let her set the shot and try to follow her lead, like a good collaborator, but it wasn’t working that day so it was time to start directing.’
‘”Pick up the King!” “You’re mad, you want revenge!” “Bite the King’s head off!” – directed Kent.
“What??” I thought. As you could imagine, Eva was no longer sweet. Doubt, jealousy and anger had replaced her cheerful mood.’
‘The real reason we ended up shooting on the carpet was the standing shots and lying on the divan just didn’t seem to be working very well; close but no cigar as the saying goes. We had been in Prague for over a week by now, this was our second suite and we had been doing fashion shots almost every day. Along with photographing interiors, locations; scenery, food; I think we were a little tired in fact! I can’t remember if Vivienne told me her back story for the pictures but at some point in time I decided she should just get angry at the chess set, maybe knock it over – and the safest place was on the floor.
At last we started to get some real energy into the shots! Which as far as I am concerned is always the name of the game.’
‘Later on I viewed all the photos from that day’s collaboration, and the second series – the insecure, moody portraits were much stronger and clearly a lot more interesting. As a oriental woman I tend to favour the sweet face in pictures, don’t ask me why, it’s a cultural thing. However, from this shoot, I saw and experienced first-hand that those theatrical expressions, and even slightly menacing and bitter looks could be fabulous too!
Then again, I also knew it all came down to Kent’s vision. He is never satisfied with boring and always like to push the visual boundaries in a shoot; while at the same time, having the depth of skill and being daring enough to take you there.’
Outfit Of The Day
Joyce Jewellery stud earrings
Spazio Concept – Milano dress
Just Gold rings