In May of 2016, I had the amazing opportunity to help on a photo shoot for a Central St Martins student’s final collection. I am extremely lucky to have a family friend who works on the Central St Martins course, and I was even luckier that the student, Alex Po, had chosen the Portishead Lido as the location of the shoot, my local open-air swimming pool. This all aligned to create the chance for me to assist, and experience for the first time what it really is like to be behind the scenes of a fashion shoot and the opportunity to view a CSM graduate collection first hand.
On the day of the shoot, I was extremely nervous as I have had little experience in professional situations, however, Alex and the whole team were lovely and all greeted me warmly. Luck seemed to be on their side as the weather was perfect for the shoot, one of the best days of the summer. The sky was a beautiful deep blue, which contrasted with the vibrant orange and yellow hues of the pool walls, which made a striking backdrop within the photographs. I have to admit I had never seen much potential in the aesthetic quality of the pool, however, this day made me see it in a completely different light, as suddenly I noticed the incredible colours and sculptural element to the structure of the pool, such as the staggered steps and the diving boards. This all contributed to making a suitable location for Alex’s ‘Bouncing Boizzz’ collection, made up of garments inspired by 60s tailoring within menswear and 20s/30s swimwear.
The plan for the day was to photograph the three models Chen Xue, Joe Ward and Arnaud Lin wearing the garments in the different areas around the pool and to create a campaign film to run alongside it. The photography was done by London College of Fashion student Maggie Ho, whose beautiful images you can see on http://www.pokalam.com, along with the extremely fun film by Baoyi Liang, (my name was credited on it to my surprise!) Of course we can’t forget the makeup by Jinny Kim, who worked hard to get it to stay put in the sweltering heat.
Below is the storyboard for the campaign film, outlining all the shots that were required. Alex had previously visited the location and therefore was very organised in knowing what he wanted to be featured in his campaign.
Below shows Arnaud Lin and Chen Xue striking a pose for the camera. We had the pool closed to visitors in the morning, as the story for the campaign was that the models had broken into the pool, and therefore it needed to be empty. However, towards the afternoon, a few people began to arrive, looking slightly amused at the models dressed in layers of pastel knitwear in the immense heat.
Below shows Alex art directing the photography by Maggie Ho, as Arnaud Lin and Joe Ward pose with a pastel ‘PO’ branded surfboard. The 60s influence can really be seen through the fitted knitwear and the slightly flared trousers, a nod to the late 60s, early 70s I presume. As you can see the delicate pastels of the garments contrasted with the brash colours of the walls creating a powerful juxtaposition.
Bayou Liang can be seen filming the models sunbathing, whilst blocking their eyes from being blinded by the sun.
Below the models can be seen running alongside the wall, pretending to be chased by the lifeguard who has caught them, this entertaining scene can be viewed in the campaign film. The garments all featured a similar colour palette of blues, pinks, whites and yellows. Also, they often illustrated patterns such as a zig-zag within the knit or a pinstripe on the trousers to imitate the tailoring influence of the collection. Joe Ward (on the far left) can be viewed wearing a top with puff ball sleeves, what can’t be seen in this photograph however is that the same structure is on the hem of the trousers, creating a unique silhouette. Arnaud Lin is wearing a pink asymmetric top with a white hem and blue and yellow patterned shorts. Lastly, Chen Xue wore a knitted bathing suit featuring the blue and yellow zig-zag knit, a common theme throughout the collection.
Looking back this was an invaluable experience for me that I was extremely lucky to have the chance to be involved with, it cemented my longing to have a future career in fashion, however also reminded me of the huge amount of effort and work that goes into a project like this. I would like to also say a huge thank you to Alex for this amazing experience, it truly was an incredible day.