A few months ago, the January 2013 issue of ELLE provided me with one of the proudest moments of my life so far: being able to finally walk up to any newsstand, point to the fashion section and say "hey, I'm in that one!" Before I got a hold of the physical copy of the Jessica Biel cover, I wasn't actually sure if my name (Caroline Mason) would actually appear in the credits or not, so you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I hesitantly searched for the story and found my own name in the fine print.
I am someone who always reads ever single credit in every single story, so even if most readers barely even glance at this little section of the page I'm hopeful that it will register with someone (even if that someone is my mom... Some parents hang up their child's good grades on the fridge, mine put up a tear sheet from ELLE magazine. Whatever.)
We shot the Bella Heathcote back in October at Pier 59 Studios- the day before I went back home to North Carolina for fall break. It was my first time working with a celebrity/'personality' and thankfully the Australian 'Dark Shadows' actress was very low-maintance and super sweet to work with. It was definitely a good learning experience because, while the general outline of the shoot is remained consistent, the on-set dynamics were quite different from a normal day of shooting. For example, because the story will reflect upon the 'personality' and will register with his/her fans and therefor have some influence on their career, he/she actually has a say in what they are being put in. With a professional model it's a bit like, "here, put this on and stand like this." But that is definitely not the case in personality-driven situations. If they want to hide what they believe to be their flaws (though to us mortals, those so-called flaws are probably toned and trim body parts you and I would die for), then we will respectfully dress them in pieces that conceal said area. If they decide for some reason that they don't want to wear black, then all of our black pieces will be checked out and re-packed into their original garment bags, no questions asked.
The collaboration here is much stronger between the personality (and her PR team/on-set entourage) and the stylist. While it's certainly important that the looks still encompass the stylist's original vision, the 'personality' still has the final say and the ultimate authority. On a normal shoot, however, the stylist is the one who can choose to take it in any direction they feel appropriate while the main collaboration takes place mostly between the model and the photographer in terms of choreographing and creating that final image.
My favorite look from the editorial is the second one with the pink Oscar de la Renta dress and white Giuseppe Zanotti booties. Normally a dress so over the top and feminine would repulse me, but somehow, when balanced out with those cowboy boots, it came out just fucked up enough that I was obsessed. Very Marie Amelie Sauve circa the '90s, no?