Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Jewelled Recollections











It was a hot day. Hard to imagine now in the depths of wind and rain. That kind of heat that begins bouncing back up from the tarmac by midday. I arrived halfway through the morning, at a point where the shadows thrown down by the office blocks around Liverpool Street station were still cool. I walked the now familiar stretch of road where glass and steel transition into the less imposing buildings of Shoreditch; suits and briefcases replaced with crop tops and John Lennon-style round sunglasses.

We were meeting in a sandwich shop. As ever, only the most glamorous locations to prep for a fashion shoot… Having my make-up done in the corner of the café, the window table arrayed with brushes, palettes and bottles of foundation, was certainly an experience. More exciting still was seeing the next table briefly transformed into a jeweller’s counter of necklaces, bracelets and rings – laid out in boxes and bags or resting on rolls of fabric. A menagerie of animals from bees to lions, honeycomb hexagons alongside beads and tassels. Many reminded me of a more understated version of what Wallis Simpson might have worn. All the creations of Bill Skinner, a British jewelry brand embracing the whimsical and fantastical. We’d gathered to shoot the new collection, with Jonathan Daniel Pryce (of 100 Beards/ GarconJon fame) as photographer.

Doing the lookbook outside had its memorable moments. Shooting on the streets meant many dashes into cafes to ask if I could quickly change outfits in the loos. Then there was the weather. Trench coats and trousers in a heat-wave required a concerted effort to look cool and breezy where the natural response might be hot and bothered. Always worth it for the image. Modelling requires all sorts of strange things in order to get that ‘natural’ shot – constant striding up and down pavements in precarious heels, or assistants looking in two directions for traffic for me to cross the multi-laned main road back and forth, back and forth, darting away as taxis came around the corner. Then there’s the added intrigue created for the pedestrians around. Take one camera, several people holding bags and one tall girl having her lips re-done, and you’ll inevitably turn heads. When I was younger this kind of attention was unsettling. The model, as well as being the focus of the shot, is also the one who hooks in passersby’s eyes. Now, more than anything, it’s amusing. 

It helps perhaps that I’m quite used to surprising people in my native hills, having wandered around country lanes in newspaper dresses and haunted tumbledown cottages in Havisham-style outfits (all in the name of interesting photos). In a place where a red cape is unusual enough, these more extreme costumes tend to startle unsuspecting hikers, dog-walkers and families driving past. By comparison, in London – a city teeming with photo-shoots and street style snappers – it merely creates a small ripple of interest.

With locations ranging from Columbia Road (odd to see it stripped of flower stalls) to Shoreditch Church, I played at being a girl about town – sitting dreamily on steps in my floral vintage dress, posing by columns in a jumpsuit. All the while my wrists, neck and fingers were adorned with various pieces. Wild horses galloped across a bracelet and a march hare leapt over my hand. I clutched a newspaper-wrapped bouquet of blooms, pretended to hail a bus, leant against doorways.

I enjoy wriggling into the semblance of someone else, inhabiting a particular attitude or story for a few hours. When we finished I ran into another café, changed back into my shorts and shirt, and sloped off to the nearest Overground station – the cool depths of the Hampstead Heath ponds were waiting. I could slough off the skin of this imagined character and step into a swimming costume. The only remaining sign of the morning’s activity was my full face of make-up. I breast-stroked my way to the other side, past ducks and trees, keeping my chin up to avoid splashing my heavily ringed eyes. Where normally to be completely fresh-faced is to stand out, at the ladies' pond I was suddenly the complete and utter anomaly. 


Photographer: Jonathan Daniel Pryce
Hair and make-up: Jodie Hyams 

You can currently see me on the Bill Skinner website, as well as in an extended range of images in this blog post and these behind the scenes snaps.

Hope you've all had a wonderful festive season, and a very happy new year. 2014 is shaping up to be both busy and exciting. 

22 comments:

Frankie Savage said...

Beautiful!

Pelin Onal said...

Loooove those photos!

http://fashmongers.wordpress.com

Ivana Split said...

Yes, I imagine that taking photos in the heat is not much fun, but I like your description of it...and you're right, the photographs are totally worth the effort put in them. Beautiful photographs and it feels like there is a story to them! There is always something special about outdoors photography. The studio ones will never come close in many ways, though there are times when those are great too (like for portrait photography).

Happy 2014! I wish you much happiness and success!

Helen Le Caplain said...

Great pics!

Anupriya DG said...

You are looking ever so stunning, my dear Roz! And the jewelry are pieces of gorgeousness!!! <3
I wish I lived near to you so that I could shoot my lookbooks with you too! *sigh*

P.S.: Have a wonderful year ahead!!! Here's to a year filled with love, happiness, success, creativity & loads of fun! :)

Bri said...

Beautiful photos! It was worth all the marching back and forth!

Closet Fashionista said...

Oh how fun! You look so amazing in all these shots! Definitely worth being super hot.
I'm still not used to people looking at me when I'm doing my photos in public. Normally I'm just in my yard at home.
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

LT said...

Wonderful photographs!

I love your blog :)

LT x

http://kind-regards-c.blogspot.co.uk/

Lydia Armstrong said...

Gorgeous shots. Your hair is looking fabulous right now. I love the layering.

Toshiko Shek said...

Beautiful photos dear! Happy New Year!
www.itsnotheritsme.com

Fashionistable said...

I have been looking forward to these. They are beautiful. What a great team you all made. Xxxx
Happy New Year.

Janey G said...

these are gorgeous x

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

Beautiful! You're such a stunning model :)
Happy New Year! xx

Natalie Suarez said...

this is so so gorgeous!! wow! love it x

natalieoffduty.com

Natalie Off Duty

Rosetinted said...

These are stunning! The jumpsuit in the final shots is so unusual- I would love to hunt something down like that.

www.crownofflowers.co.uk

FASHION TALES said...

I am drawn to the unique jewellery ... all paired and styled so marvellously Roz. A very beautiful you, wishing you a Happy New Year! :-)

Cloud of Secrets said...

What fun to read an honest behind-the-scenes take on the challenges of doing a city streets lookbook during a heat wave! You and the team certainly did a wonderful job making some glowy, breezy, effortlessly chic images though.

I tend to draw some curious stares when I do outfit self-portraits in the city gardens. Usually I try to get them around my own house, though, and the neighbors have gotten used to it.

Flor de Maracujá said...

Nice*
Maybe we follow each other !?
Let me know if you follow me & i´ll follow back :)

Greetings <3
pequenaflordemaracuja.blogspot.pt

Emalina said...

Happy New Year dear Roz! Such a lovely photoshoot - they were lucky to get you for their lookbook.

Rosie said...

You are stunning!!!!

www.lifeisjustrosie.com

Frenie Agbayani said...

This Smart casual dress are fun!!!

Abigail said...

I love that colorful wall! You photograph in some of the coolest places. Thanks for the inspiration