It's never easy planning spring and summer collections when it's freezing outside - it's a struggle to channel sunny weather and warm temperatures.
So it's January, the sky is currently grey, it's 8am and the temperature closer to -10 than 10 degrees... but we are in the amazing Victoria Baths in Manchester.
Victoria Baths is an iconic building in Manchester and has been host to a number of vintage fairs that I have visited. It has been made more infamous for recent filming of Peaky Blinders.
It is an exquisite building created as a swimming baths at the turn of the 20th century and has been made all the better for its sympathetic restoration which is not yet complete. This is a designers dream and a photographer's heaven. Luscious emerald green art nouveau wall tiles bedeck the hallways and there are rooms with exquisite original stained glass windows which create astonishing light. There are areas which have been left which gives it even more charm...
The baths still have the original blue wooden changing rooms with stripe curtains which surround the pools, the seating gallery above also remains unchanged. But one of the most amazing features is the flat upstairs that would have housed the caretaker - it's like walking out of a time machine! Original and 'worn' wallpaper, flooring and fireplaces throughout gave the perfect canvas for this shoot. So much so we were completely spoilt for choice. Let's also not forget the turkish bath areas which are again adorned with emerald green tiles and stained glass. We have so many scenes from this shoot - it is proving difficult to choose our favourite images.
There was so much to work with here and a dream of ours to use this venue for a shoot. We were delighted to work with photographer Kate McCarthy who had worked at the venue before and this was extremely helpful. She is a very talented photographer and brought so many ideas and a new approach and energy to our shoot.
About the new collection
We have 3 iconic prints this season - 'Spring orient' is our early spring print which has hues of coral and pink in an exotic and stunning design. Bloomsbury is a vibrant and very bright jewel colour reproduction 1940s print from our personal collection. Finally, our light and bright crocus print is a 1930s interpretation of an original design. We cant photograph everything so we brought a selection of our styles in each. Suffice to say i always try and do as much as possible in a short time. I try to push the limits and I am lucky everyone else goes along with me! More about the collection in another posting coming soon as we have new styles to shout about.
Hair & Makeup
So - onto the hair and makeup. We regularly work with Bethany from The Vintage Beauty Parlour on our shoots and she also styles our models for our fashion show at The Festival of Vintage in York.
I wanted two 'looks' for this shoot - with a combination of 30s art deco and 40s femme fatale. We have much more 1930s styles in this shoot - this is where im going at the moment with the designs :-) Bethany styled Tanya's hair is a faux 30's curly bob and gave her smokey eyes. This worked extremely well with the beach pyjamas and because we also wanted to explore a more masculine Marlene Dietrich look for some of the styles. This worked well on Tanya and of course, she rocked it!
Leela is our new model and is another 'Yorkshire Lass' so she fitted in to the team really well :-) We styled her differently to Tanya - a 40's/50's fusion with a soft curl in her luscious dark hair. More sensual and film noir than pin up. We loved the contrast between these two looks and it, again, helped us get the most out of the shoot.
Check out our 'behind the scenes' video below!
The Lido Scene
Following the success of our 1930s Beach Pyjamas last year and my current obsession with the late 1920s and 30s styles - i will admit that this influenced my decision to do the shoot at Victoria Baths. We wanted to create that '30s Lido' feel - and since the pools are tiled in stunning ivory and green in the classic lines, it was the perfect canvas for creating this scene. Our spring seasonal collection colours are ivory, soft 30s coral and celadon green - so a perfect match with the pool floor! We had such fun here and the light from the glass ceiling was simply stunning. See a phone snap from the shoot below. Check out the stunning beach pyjamas and the pleated shorts - i cannot wait for warmer weather now :-)
There are so many wonderful images - we are still working through them and i must say, the choice can sometimes be daunting! A nice problem to have of course. We will be releasing the images over the SS season and have part 1 available in our lookbook here: http://www.thehouseoffoxy.com/lookbook/spring-2018-part-1
Thanks to Bethany for her work, Kate for being inspiring, so flexible and extra speedy! Thanks also to Models & muses Tanya & Leela.