Elizabeth: If you've been reading our previous blog posts and following along then you're already fully aware of the forthcoming release of our new bug collection. There are so many components that go into preparing for a new collection, and just one of those is creating a look-book, which requires its own preparation. Preparing to prepare--so meta but stick with us because today we want to share a sneak peak of that look-book process with you!
E: What is the creative process behind planning a look-book shoot?
Z: I handle both the creative and production elements of our shoots. That definitely comes from my dad being a photographer/director and my mom being a production manager haha. For our shoots I create moodboards, pose boards, makeup + hair boards, and pull the clothing for styling.
I was inspired by this young female photographer from Canada named Nastia so my plan was to do super close up shots of the models mouths, hands, and ears with jewelry on. I wanted the pallet to use grays, mauve, lilac, light pink, and then also darker tones via elements like black lipstick. We used a gray backdrop and shot on the side of my house for natural light. The photographer is one of my best friends Aubrey Janelle and she's really great at capturing the female form, especially in nature.
It seemed obvious to do this shoot in the woods with leaves and greenery etc, so I wanted to push outside that and play with different, unexpected tones. I had wanted to try using cotton candy in the shots, but the local candy store didn’t have the color I was hoping for. So I switched gears and got glass soda bottles to use as props. I had some amazing Grey Knight roses that we also used. The models are awesome ladies, one is a model who Aubrey and I worked with for an art erotica film we produced and the other I met at creative ladies business meetup. Tricia is half Chinese half white and Brittanee is half black half white so their skin tones were amazing next to each other. This is also the first time we have ethnic models which we are stoked for. We didn't plan to previously only have white girls; our first model was one of Ashley's roommates so we used her since it was easy, the second was Neal who was channeling Khaleesi from Game of Thrones, and the last model was white because we knew we wanted to use a black background and black clothes but then have the juxtaposition of her skin tone. Anyway, we are so down to break from that on this shoot.
All images in moodboard by Nastia
E: There are so many different elements and influences at play, and yet they're all so cohesive as well. I can really see your influences and where you wanted to take this shoot through your moodboard. It's really exciting that you guys are breaking away from the traditional to do something different or unexpected here, can you tell me more about that?
Z: I was inspired by Nastia’s cropping and we rented a 100mm lens for the shoot thinking we’d just be doing macro imagery. But as the day progressed, we stuck with Aubrey’s 50mm and also pulled farther away from the girls than originally anticipated. It all worked really great because Aubrey used a small aperture while shooting and it really honed the focus to a specific point, but we get to see a lot more around the focal point than we would had if we’d stuck with using the 100. Brittanee and Tricia are great at doing their own makeup, plus both are creative women, so I showed them ideas of the makeup I wanted and then let them go for what they thought would work best.
I was inspired to push outside the expected aesthetic for this shoot because I knew we could get something totally stunning and different. The stunning part was easy with the models, and I pushed my styling eye to find wardrobe, hair and makeup that would highlight the jewelry and be enticing to look at. When I tried to think of garments I’d want Brittanee and Tricia in, it just seemed unnecessary. Instead, we borrowed bras from Vava Lingerie which were absolutely perfect in color and fit.
This was one of those shoots where everything worked so well. I followed my gut when it came to the look I wanted and lucked out with getting all these amazing ladies on board. At the end of the day, I wanted to feature and work with women I’m inspired by, and create really exciting, beautiful imagery.
E: I'm totally in love with the feel of this and I'm dying to see the look-book already! Can we see some behind the scenes footage or a few of your favorite frames!?
Z: Absolutely! Below you'll see a few of our faves from the shoot and also Instax Polaroids we took while shooting. The first five orders from each Mini Collection will receive a surprise Polaroid and discount to Vava Lingerie. Newsletter subscribers will get early access too all collections so sign up to be part of the inner circle.