With each new collection, a new photography campaign is required to promote, capture and draw attention to the clothes. Producing a photography campaign that reflects the new collection is a process between designers, stylist and photographer. We enter into conversation with Velveteen founder Laura Egloff and her go to stylist Jessica Zindren to talk about their process in creating the imagery for a collection and gain some insight into how the AW17 Velveteen campaign developed into a fun, eclectic Wes Anderson inspired shoot.
Hi Laura and Jessica, firstly how did you meet?
Laura: Jessica and I met in the summer of 2015 at Playtime New York following an introduction by a mutual colleague. Jessica and Zoe were working together a lot and graciously stepped in to help me out with our AW15 campaign at the last minute. The result was so perfect and it came together so easily that we’ve been working together on our major campaigns ever since.
Jessica: We did! I was so excited to sit in Velveteen’s booth with Laura and get to see and feel the new collection and hear the extraordinary process that she goes through to bring something of this calibre to life. I was truly honored and excited when Laura asked me to style the AW collection! And Zoe is a good friend and an amazing photographer I had no doubt she would be able to bring Laura’s vision to life.
With AW17 you have worked as a team with Laura the designer, Jessica working on the styling, and Zoe Berkovic doing the photography. Can you talk us through the process of how you go from designing the collection to achieving the final imagery?
Laura: I develop each collection with a story behind it. We usually start with a time and place and build a story around what the children would be doing, feeling, listening to, etc. I get into every detail from what kind of weather they’re experiencing, to the type of music they would hear in the background to bring the story to life. Jessica and Zoe usually receive half-crazy emails from me that include mood boards, paint chips, weather reports, obscure movie references and music clips so they can really become part of the story. From that point, Zoe and Jessica brainstorm locations and treatments for the campaign. Jessica receives the collections and starts to out the styling but the rest is really just left to the magic that they create on the day. Zoe has an amazing talent for capturing images that feel spontaneous and natural despite the incredible amount of meticulous planning the goes on behind the scenes.
Jessica: So Laura does an INCREDIBLE job of putting us in the headspace of where she was when she designed the collection, and as she said the children who are wearing her clothes. I get so excited when I get her mood board every season. She has an incredible talent for speaking to trends and pleasing her customer but at the same time, it is uniquely her vision. Being based abroad Laura puts a lot of trust in us to execute her creation – Zoe and I spend a good amount of time finding the perfect location, models, props and accessories to create something really unique and special. And of course most importantly staying true to the DNA of her vision and the Velveteen brand.
How many pieces are in this AW17 collection?
Laura: We’re running approximately 170 references in each collection across girls, boys and babies.
Jessica: I’m especially loving the baby pieces! The girl’s collection is stunning but there is a real void in the market for well-crafted and designed timeless pieces for babies. I love the elegance of the collection, she isn’t tempted to make it too ‘cutesy’. Gold lamé for your toddler? Yes, please!!!
Never enough gold in my book…! I have the gold dress from Laura first women’s collection. It’s my “who are you dress!”. Wear it out and you are guaranteed to be noticed and remembered. Sorry, getting back on course, how many lifestyle images does a collection like this require to promote it during the season?
Laura: Social media has really increased our need to have constant content. In addition to the product shots, each collection requires 1 big location shoot, 1 studio shoot and 2 smaller supporting shoots in order to meet the needs of the growing demographic (girls, boys, babies) and social media content.
Jessica: That is so true – Velveteen has such a huge following on social media that we need a ton of content these days. Gone are the days of shooting one huge campaign for the season… now followers want to see the process, behind the scenes, how trendsetters wear the clothing- on top of the major campaign every season..
The photography in this collection seems more cinematic. Was there a specific style or influence used to inspire this shoot?
Laura: The AW17 collection tells the story of the children of an eclectic group of adult friends in LA playing make believe while their parents are having a dinner party in the other room. The parents are academics and hipsters that come from all walks of life (various artists, Hollywood executives and musicians with a very bohemian 1960s -70s vibe). The inspiration came from my own childhood experiences and obsession with Wes Anderson movies like The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Zoe and Jessica did an amazing job of bringing this inspiration to life.
Jessica: We are all huge Wes Anderson fans so were SO excited to plan a shoot with his imagery in mind. Zoe found this amazingly eclectic century old farmhouse in upstate NY that couldn’t have been more perfect. The interior design was quirky and fun yet elegant. I kept the styling loose and playful and the addition of the knee high socks and tights to the collection was a great asset to complete the looks. I love to mix prints with Velveteen because Laura does such a great job with the color palate that it looks really cool and modern. We let the hair be loose and unfussy and let the kids play and do what they do best!
To what point is the original inspiration for the collection reflected in the final photography? Does it matter if the two are not linked?
Laura: I’m definitely drawn to photography that tells a story in complex layers but I don’t think the story has to necessarily be aligned with the designer’s original vision. It can be really interesting when a collection takes a turn away from your original inspiration and ends up being something completely different – as long as it’s still meaningful and inviting. That’s partly why I like to step back and leave the shoot day to Jessica and Zoe – I enjoy seeing the story that comes to life when the collection is in their hands.
Jessica: We honestly try our very best to execute Laura’s original vision but one of my personal favorite parts about working with kids is that no matter how much thought, effort and preparation we put into a shoot they (the models) are going to put their stamp on it. We could have the most beautiful shot planned with headphones and the models break them in half (true story)… or we want a quiet, reflective shot and the model just ate an ice cream sundae and is bouncing off the walls (true story) – we make it work! I love their honesty and unpredictability.
What is your relation to the imagery after it is released, (mother and chick scenario). Are you happy watching it get printed, tweeted mashed instagrammed and hash tagged?
Laura: That’s an interesting question and I admit that the control freak in me struggles with letting go! It’s important to remember that, once the images begin to emerge, there are so many more people who legitimately feel like they’re a part of the collection. Shoot days are long and can be challenging but they’re often very bonding so the parents, models and crew have this incredibly personal experience associated with the collection which is pretty cool.
Jessica: That is so true – everyone is chomping at the bit to share the excitement of being involved in such great projects but we try and honor the designer and let her decide where, when and how her campaign gets released. Then after its release, we are ecstatic to see it on blogs and magazines! I think social media is crucial in getting these images out to a broad audience – from influencers and magazine editors to the stylish Mom who can’t wait to get her kids in these looks.
Thank you, ladies for sharing!
You may also recognise one of the models Chloe Leor from our Q&A game when she explained why she doesn’t believe in Aliens