SHRIMPTON COUTURE: Behind the Seams.

By Shrimpton Couture on July 16, 2009

TORONTO (Herald de Paris) – Sometimes, my vintage dresses get to do far more exciting things that I do. Like go on photo shoots, where they get to share the spotlight with the beautiful girls who wear them.

Recently, I was contacted by Angela Y. Martin of AYM Photography. Angela is a freelance photographer whose fashion and beauty photographs have been featured in a ton of outstanding Canadian publications, such as FASHION Magazine, Flare Magazine, 24 Hours & The Toronto Star.  She is also a regular contributing photographer for The Canadian Press and the Fashion Weekly Magazine.  So when she asked if I would lend out a few armfuls of Shrimpton Couture garments for a photo shoot, it took me about 2 whole seconds before I shouted, “YES!”

People often think photo shoots are always done for a specific reason, but that is not always the case. There is a whole sub-culture of photo shoots. Sometimes photographers like to do shoots as purely creative exercises. Upcoming models, stylists and the hair & make-up people all need pictures and practice on order to build their books and portfolios, while little shops like mine are happy to get the extra exposure gained from the great photographs. Shoots also give people in the business a chance to get to work together and it’s how you slowly, but surely, build a reputation in the fashion industry as being trustworthy (and hopefully fun to work with).

If you have never participated in a shoot before you might think it interesting to know how it works, from start to finish, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the behind the scenes photos with you – there is only space for a select few here but you can look to The Shrimpton Blog for more in the near future. We all see the pictures that end up in the magazines and they always look so effortless that we forget how much work it takes to get them. It’s amazing to see the amount of primping and preparation that takes place to get the perfect picture. It also quite astounding at how many people it takes to get there.

After Angela and I agreed to work on this shoot together, I was then put in touch with the stylist, Ulia Koles. Ulia sent me a list of the items currently listed on Shrimpton Couture that she thought would work and we arranged for a drop off time. This shoot took place right here in Toronto so it was super easy for me to drop everything off myself. Knowing what happens at an actual shoot and how things can change at a moment’s notice depending on the mood, the lighting and the where, I brought two extra garment bags that were bursting with vintage couture from both my studio and my personal archives. Just in case.

My part of the job is now officially done – I have the easiest part in it all! The days that lead up to a shoot are taken up by meetings with the photographer, stylist and the hair & make-up person (Larissa McCourt for this shoot). They go over the clothes, decide on the way the girls will look, decide a location and confirm everyone’s schedules. Ulia also has the task of pulling in all the accessories that will be used at the shoot – sometimes this can be triple the amount of clothing there or more!

Angela was so excited to have such a big selection of clothes to work with that she changed the original plan to shoot one girl, beautiful Toronto socialite Ainsley Kerr to a dual photo shoot and booked a model she has been looking to work with from Elite, Camille Neviere, an upcoming stunner of a girl.

The day of the shoot is, of course, the most fun day. Ainsley is an easy girl to photograph.  Though not a professional model, she certainly has the looks to be one and has a natural ease in front of the camera that shines through. She is used to being photographed so that helps. Ainsley sits on the board of the new, soon-to-be-launched, Style Box venture and is also on the Board of The Textiles Museum of Canada. I love the shots that result from her part of the shoot – Ulia and Larissa went pin-up glam for her look to accent her natural cover girl looks and my pretty 1950s frocks look like a million dollars on her!

Camille is up next and Ulia decides to do a long, lean 1970s look on her. Larissa dries her hair bone straight for the first few shots and then eventually ties it back in a tight bun for the shots with my couture orange 1970s Halston and Bill Tice gowns. The pictures turn out wonderfully and you can instantly see why Camille has been snatched up by Elite. She has an innate sense of what to do in front of the camera.

Every shoot has a “moment”.  The one thing you laugh or cry about whenever you see the photographs and your mind flashes back to that time. During this shoot, that moment happened when we were photographing Ainsley on the stairs in the park, when suddenly her facial expression changed and we all turned to look to see what had distracted her. There, off in the distance, was a couple who were having their own shoot ….a very intimate one …if you get my drift.

And people say Canadians are conservative?

Yours in vintage,


(All photographs By Angela Y. Martin, AYM Photography.  All rights reserved)

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Angela July 16, 2009

Wonderfully written Cherie, you captured the day perfectly! What a wonderful group of women to work with….so much fun!

LuvSunflower July 18, 2009

How awesome was this day? Sounded like you (everyone) had a blast “behind the seams.” Including the couple having their own shoot. Thanks for taking us backstage. 🙂

Mary Hall July 18, 2009

LOVE the glimpse you gave us into what goeson behind the SEAMS!

Frank Somer July 18, 2009

Amazing work, I am really impressed.

Denise @ Swelle July 18, 2009

I love seeing behind the scenes, thanks for sharing this! Great photos and very enjoyable post, as usual. And Camille Neviere – what gorgeous French name!

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