A Day In The Life Of a Jewellery Shoot
On one of the first days of spring, there are few more picturesque places to be than the tranquil surroundings of Kew Gardens. The blooming evidence for the new season was everywhere, and the bright rays of tentative new sunshine were reflected in a gorgeous carpet of yellow daffodils.
There were plenty of people taking advantage of the fine weather and enjoying a relaxed walk around the gardens, tourists and Londoners alike – but we were there with an important job to do. Photo shoots, especially those on location, require a great deal of hard work.
Our task? To create images that speak of a tropical world; sultry, humid, and a little dark and brooding, to contrast with Selfridges’ pick of the Autumn/Winter collections’ amazing floral prints and the array of stunning high jewellery that can be found in the infamous Wonder Room.
The day dawned more like our shoot brief – that is, brooding and a more than a little foreboding (thankfully the fog gave way to sunshine as the day wore on). After meeting up with our location contact and our Winnebago driver in the wee hours of the morning, we parked up outside of the Palm House and got straight to business.
The first job was to unpack and put the location vehicle’s built-in rail and steamer to good use. The dresses were like pieces of high jewellery themselves; Mary Katrantzou’s Autumn Winter collection covered with artisanal embroidery and glittering embellishments, Giambattista Valli’s creations finely covered with lace, and Dries Van Noten’s crafts adorned with iridescent silver flowers. Stunning creations from Chanel, Erdem, and Peter Pilotto were also present and correct. The once innocuous rail was transformed.
The crew squeezed in breakfast in between the all-important shoot prep. Photographer Matilda Temperley and her brilliant assistants headed off to the glasshouse to scope out the best locations for shots, and our stellar hair and makeup team set about transforming our model into a tropical goddess.
By mid-morning, we were ready for the final touches – the most spectacular jewellery that money can buy. Each high joallerie brand sent their
own guard to ensure the safety of their precious cargo. When fastening a gorgeous floral necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels, its guard warned us to be careful – it was worth over £500, 000. As if it wasn’t already abundantly clear, that moment epitomised the extreme high-end aesthetic of the shoot. And the fact that we were in a single room with the equivalent value of several properties!
Each brand got its chance to (literally) shine, with the exquisite pieces showed off in a myriad of original ways. A Cartier brooch found a new use as a stunning hairpiece, and our talented art stylist/art director (Thea Lewis-Yates) played up the glamour of rings by the contrast with earthy branches and overhanging palms. Chanel pearls and diamonds glimmered in the shadows.
The resulting pictures were breath-taking – the shadow-play from the palm leaves overhead and the sunlight just piercing through created the very atmosphere we’d imagined would
compliment fine jewellery and Autumn/Winter florals perfectly. Our beautiful model and her glamorous gems took the place of Henri Rousseau’s brooding tiger (from the painting Tiger in a Tropical Storm)
amidst the sultry palms.
As the afternoon flew on, we found ourselves tasked with everything from guiding bodyguards to scouting around for prop leaves, to fielding last minute deliveries and emails. By four, no one wanted to stop shooting – the atmosphere was too good to leave behind. It was time to turn on the charm with the events manager, and we managed to wangle an extra half an hour to capitalise on the flowing creativity and get those final shots.
With the camera down at 430, everyone felt satisfied. We all knew that the amazing team (including photographer Matilda Temperley and stylist/art director Thea Lewis-Yates) had done an amazing job and gotten some incredible images that will undoubtedly give the magazine the hallmark of high-end authenticity.
A few days on, our best suspicions were confirmed. Selfridges were as thrilled as we are. We can’t wait to share the final product with the world! Keep an eye on the Rhubarb Fool website, because you won’t want to miss these fantastic images when we put them up.