The IFF comes back this year with an exciting and innovating approach to promoting fashionable fur with an environmental conscious!
The IFF has recruited a series of external experts to lend their voice to narrate this year’s campaign and to present their own observations and conclusions on both, natural fur as a material as well as the industry. Their views endorse what the industry has been repeating through the past few years; natural fur is the responsible choice and goes as far as concluding that the fashion industry all together could learn from the fur industry practices.
An environmentalist, a conservationist, a fashion influencer, an avid customer, a business owner and a journalist as well as an artisan all discuss what makes fur responsible from their own expertise.
Sustainability is the main theme that will carry on this year, and those fashion films will promote how sustainability is embedded within fur as a material and within the industry all together. Sustaining ecosystems, sustaining the environment, sustaining jobs, sustaining tradition and skill, sustaining responsible consumption are all themes you should expect to hear about throughout the campaign endorsed by the external experts.
We have chosen a stunning natural backdrop, a lake side location with mountain ranges in the background, plenty of greenery, moss, water and an un-assuming raw setting all together that puts fur in its natural habitat.
An ‘army’ of four models have been recruited to give face to the campaign, often posing in groups emulating a society of fur lovers; a community that is unapologetic proudly wearing natural fur in a variety of styles. The campaign presents the beautiful fashion from over 18 IFF members’ brands and a list of high fashion brands as well.
What went down behind the scenes? And what does it take to produce this annual fashion campaign? Here is a rundown of my personal journal and experience being on location on this year’s campaign!
From the outside, fashion shoots seem glamorous, stylish and exciting – but have you wondered what it takes to make a fashion shoot work? Do you know what is needed to create that stunning image? Or, what happens behind-the-scenes to make sure everything goes to plan? So that the models are in check fitting the part, the camera men have impeccable lighting ready for the next round of photos they’ll be taking, the hair and make-up is seamless, the setting fits the picturesque message that’s in mind and more? So much more so that you’ll be looking at a fashion campaign photo reflecting on all of the hours spent to create THE perfect shot. Luckily, I had first-hand access to our annual fashion campaign behind-the-scenes photoshoot and can uncover all that happened.
Hair and makeup:
7:30am – Models needed to be at the hotel where our shoot was, ready and barefaced. Evidently makeup is extremely important, it takes the direction of where the theme of your shoot is going. In our case, modest, unapologetic and simplistic was where we were headed. The same goes with hair… natural waves and a loose bun, as after all our shoot focuses on the natural beauty of fur – the overall aesthetic needed to replicate that. Makeup for all three models took the route of a lightly smoked eye, with very minimal contouring and natural lip.
In between shots, and back at the hotel waiting for the set-up of the next location to be prepped, models were always getting ‘touched-up’, whether that was with extra lipstick, more hair-gel, a re-blow-dry or to re-adjust an out-of-place piece of hair that fell at the front of the model’s face – nothing went unnoticed, and everything was made to ensure that the models looked exactly as we wanted them to. You never really notice how much work goes on behind the scenes to make sure even the slightest bit of hair or makeup is altered; it was fascinating to witness all of the looks gradually come together to produce a piece of art. Although when the models were getting these touch-ups, not that they necessarily needed them (I thought so), you could undeniably see the difference after the hair scrunch, or the clipping of the male model’s hair sleeked backwards over the ear instead of above… it’s the smallest of touches that make such a difference.
The impeccable photos that catch the mountains, the nature, the ambiance, the models and everything else you see are all down to the cameramen and videographer on set making it happen.
It takes hard-work to make an idea materialise into something magnificent, and it wouldn’t be possible without the camera crew. Although the models looked incredible, it was intriguing to watch the way the cameramen would run up and down, with their cameras and foam board reflector in their hands, chasing the models every move, whether they were walking or standing – making sure to capture every moment of the photoshoot to create something mesmerising. One doesn’t really comprehend how much work and effort is put into creating a photoshoot, but from having a look at just how in-depth it is, there really is much more than what meets the eye on a pictorial image. The thousands of ‘click’ noises on the camera, and the different poses from the models were all part of the exhilarating experience BTS. I reminisce watching one of the models strut down the grassy pavement, with the cameramen and videographer behind her and realising just how much she and nature looked virtuous together and moulded the idea behind why natural fur is the responsible choice.
The location was set outside a scenic hotel in the Lake District, UK, where the lake was glistening. It was an astonishing sight that perfectly fit the message of our campaign. The set was beautiful, with plenty of breath-taking views for each different location… it was dreamy! The weather was grey and cloudy, but it made it all that better, really allowing the fur to POP against the moodiness. While it did start to rain later on during the day, nothing metaphorically rained on our parade! The ‘wet’ look allowed to create a different kind of melancholy composition, in comparison to the other shots that we obtained. With so many stunning locations paired together with the weather, each shot allowed for a different backdrop and feel.
Other behind-the-scenes happenings were the stylist always being on hand. When you see a photo, you assume that there has been time taken to organise what piece will go with what piece, and rightly so, but even on the day things can change. A look won’t fit the location or look the way you assume so during a fitting. Naturally, our stylist had to change a few things like sunglasses, or a bandana to enhance a look. Depending on the setting, changes to style are bound to happen and this is the beauty of it all – what seems proficient all varies on the day, the weather, and the overall aesthetic of the location. The styling looks were very modern, chic and up-to-date, reflecting on our message. As an example of one look, the stylist paired sunglasses with a bandana and fur coat… you wouldn’t usually put the three together and expect a worthy outfit, but there is creativity in fur like no other that combining the unexpected will give you innovation. A sneak peak of some of the brands that were used to enhance the lakeside were, equally naturistic, a butterfly Valentino fur coat, a Saks Potts multicoloured mink coat and SPOTTED, a Yves Salomon fur coat! A mini list of other brands that showed their fur were Louis Vuitton, Oscar De La Renta, Astrid Andersen, Edward Crutchley, J. Mendel, Kopenhagen Fur, Saga Furs, and many more. Each bought a different aesthetic and allowed for distinctive looks upon each location to really be conspicuous. An example of this was J. Mendel’s long black swakara coat with black fox cuffs in the woods – this lingered in my mind as the look was unforgettable. This location in the woods seemed like a mini hollow where it seemed near impossible to reach… at least in my position above the pathways.
Director running the shoot:
‘Look serious’, ‘more cheeky fun’ and sometimes ‘no smiling’ were just some of what the director of the shoot was saying to the models. This in very simple terms, is how he produced our campaign. By saying this, the director ensured that the work of the models articulated what we wanted from this campaign, both tactically and explicitly. The director oversaw all on set so that we gotperfect shots and films, from different face gestures, to how the models should move (either more touching between each other or moving faster/slower), where they should be positioned, to where hands and legs should be placed, like on a rock, or on other models’ shoulders. The smallest of details can make the world of difference, so much so that even with a remarkable view, a model’s hand on their hip instead of free-flowing is the difference between an average image and THE image.
To conclude, there is much more that takes place behind a photoshoot – with people working on aspects that one wouldn’t necessarily put their mind to. It takes a big group of dedicated individuals to produce something so spectacular and having behind-the-scenes access to see what it’s like on the other side of the camera is edifying in terms of what it actually takes to turn our ideas into a reality.