Posted on March 06 2021
What you may not know when you look at all these lovely clothes and images of gorgeous Spring newness is the hell that goes into creating a lookbook and prepping for a new season when your samples arrive in a cold, windy, wet England! Not exactly easy to get the beach vibe and sunshine smiles when the little lads are shivering and it looks like it might rain. Oh the joys of English weather...and samples arriving hideously late (July) for a launch in just one month's time!
But for Spring 2020 last year we were blessed... surely...the weather we had in the UK during those months was divine - possibly the nicest Spring/early Summer we had encountered for years so weather wasn't an issue.....and the minute lockdown in the UK lifted we put the call out for kids to join us for a few days in London and then a week in Cornwall. Unsure exactly who would sign up for it we were overwhelmed with excited parents eager to get out and have their children be part of something fun.
So first stop was Southbank the first week of July - exciting to get some iconic London skyline in the backdrop of what is after all an English brand! And what happened? It rained. It was cold and miserable and two children were so cold they wouldn't stop crying and we had to give up.
But look at us....we got some great pics - the camera lies quite well and hides the cold, damp English weather or maybe its just the bright eyed excited kids that are just thrilled to be doing something other than home schooling and of course the clothes are super bright! But we got some great shots with some amazing children.
Our next location was Clapham Common and although the dreary weather carried into the next day something happened around 3pm and the elusive Mr Sun showed his warm happy face and everything suddenly looked very different.
By rolling around on the floor and getting bitten by bugs, you would never know we were in a crowded park with dogs and ball games interfering with us - we look like we are in a quiet English meadow on a balmy Summers day.
The next leg of this magical mystery tour involved a 7hr drive to Cornwall in the South West of England - an area much frequented by me personally and very well known. Famous for stunning beaches, cute coastal villages and great seafood and restaurants. Could we manage to pull off a 4 day photoshoot and get at least 20 kids on board despite not living there? Thanks to a wonderful friend, Hannah, we were inundated with offers and our worries and the dodgy weather faded away the closer we got.
There is something truly spectacular about the Cornish coastline and its wide, deep beaches. The afternoon we arrived, wasting no time at all we contacted one group of mothers to see if they wanted to do an impromptu hour as the sun was setting at a nearby cove. Of course they did! Some quick last minute purchases of wind breakers and blankets meant we could plonk ourselves on the stunning Mawgan Porth beach and capture some lovely shots.
Day 2 and we head to Rock - a stunning stretch of beach with perfect sand, calm shallow waters and a beautiful backdrop with the odd pretty boat floating by. We had day after day of just gorgeous sunshine, blue skies and happy children playing in the dunes - heavenly! New friends made, Henry having the time of his life and Josh sunburnt beyond belief.
The next morning was a quick and final session at the truly epic Watergate Bay with its rock pools, awesome waves and impressive cliff backdrop - the perfect way to spend a few hours.
For anyone that hasn't been to Cornwall - when travel restrictions lift this year and there and the world opens up again, make sure you visit - it is a stunning part of the World and we are aiming to return this year to do another shoot.
Even when we thought we were done and having an afternoon off strolling around the adorable tiny harbour of Mousehole we decided to take advantage of the fact the tide was out and take some flat shots.
We then spent a whole day with a truly exhausted Henry, ignoring the gorgeous weather, trying to focus on designing and laying out the lookbooks which are then printed to sell to stores with.
It's like telling a child to stay in bed on Christmas Day morning....all those beaches and cafes and shops to wander around....but we did it and you can see the finished digital books by clicking on either book here:
But - things don't always go to plan and a chunk of samples just didn't make it in time but we still need photos so that we can sell them to you lovely people on our website and also share them with all our boutiques. So even though we launched the new season collections in the US at the end of July, we really really needed those missing photos taken.
Only one thing for it - before coming back to the UK in September I flew home via San Diego, the home of the owners of Vignette, where the beaches and sunshine are usually the default location for our non-Covid non-lockdown world.
Although we have done many a photoshoot in this part of the world and have had to deal with grey May and June gloom, despite a decidedly cloudy start in La Jolla ...the sun DID do what it should do and shone all day, getting us those final fabulous pics with some familiar faces who are ALWAYS happy to be in the photoshoot (Jaxon!) and we ALWAYS want them too but they annoyingly keep growing bigger than our sample sizes.
A truly stunning location and perfect way to end what was an incredible Spring 21 launch - who is going to complain about taking pics of kids in the sunshine! (ok...maybe me with aching back, bruised knees and a sunburnt forehead).
Thank you to all of the parents, kids and friends that made this happen and thank you to my trusty iPhone for producing stunning pics. Now for the new challenge - how to do a photoshoot in 2021 when there is an even stricter travel ban - who thought we would still be here a year on....well onwards and upwards with positivity and a smile...check back to see how we manage!