Behind the Scenes of The Shoot: An Amish Wonderland

The story of this shoot is an interesting one. It was borne out of the research of the shoot from last September, 3 Mill Lane, the shoot that focused on the Victorian trend from last autumn/winter. While researching editorials for 3 Mill Lane on Pinterest, (an amazing tool for finding fashion editorials from all over the place) I came across a couple of editorials done in the Amish style. They intrigued me so much, I took a screengrab on my phone and kept it in my Camera Roll for the last year, always reminding me and enticing me to do this shoot. Though the research and preparation work for this year’s The September Issue happened much later than last year, this shoot idea was included in the list of shoots pretty early on. I always knew it should be done for this year’s The September Issue, because like those images last year, I saw something in the idea.

Unsurprisingly the Victorian trend remained in fashion for autumn/winter 2016, though it did surprise me how its influence waned more this season than I expected. And like the issues I had to contend with last year, the outfits for this shoot weren’t finalised until the week of the shoot itself, because the high street is unfortunately not as up to speed as their designer counterparts. So while I had entire folders made up for each outfit for each shoot, knowing what the press photos were telling you and what actually comes out in the shops are often two entirely different things. It’s a serious frustration when you’re doing a shoot that’s looking ahead to some of the biggest trends of the season before the new season has even officially been launched. Thankfully, I had enough alternate outfits made up and I was able to come up with four different outfits for this shoot, made up of two main pieces. This is actually quite remarkable, considering I’m usually never this lucky, but it just goes to show that the high street has much more faith in the Victorian trend than the designers did.

In regards to how these outfits were selected and presented; though the editorials that this shoot are based on often showed more skin, I was keen on going the exact opposite and not show too much flesh. I often show quite a bit of skin, because it really doesn’t bother me, so it was nice to stick to the point of the Amish clothing; to maintain that purity and innocence through stark black and white pieces and the skin mostly covered up. I was also not keen on using one of the head coverings usually worn by Amish women because it seemed to me to be trying to copy the style too much and therefore losing some of that integral creativity. Instead I went with an old ASOS Matador hat used in various other shoots on the blog.

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There were three main editorials that inspired this shoot. The first was this shoot from Elle Ukraine from August 2013 called ‘Simple Life’. It was the most predominant of the three editorials and if you look through the images you can see why I was so struck by it. the outfits chosen are simple and bold and there’s an individuality to the styling and how the model holds herself throughout. I also loved how she interacted with the farm, whether it’s pouring milk, carrying chickens or reading a book under a shaded tree. Though I didn’t have a farm on hand for this shoot, I wanted to recreate parts of this, especially the one image of the model sitting under the tree.

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The second shoot that influenced my shoot is this image from Harper’s Bazaar China from December 2013. It is also in chronological order the second shoot of the three, and I loved the black dress and the high collar detailing. Amusingly the rest of the shoot embraces its location much more, which was shot in Scotland and looks completely different to the Amish shoot I created.
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The final shoot that heavily inspired this shoot was this one from Elle France from January 2014. It was actually called ‘Daughter of the West’ and is much more prairie than Amish,  but there’s a similarity to the two shoots in how this model is dressed and holds herself.
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The location for this shoot was Richmond Park, an obvious choice for this shoot, though it was almost usurped by Hampstead Heath. But then again, while Hampstead Heath is beautiful and has that vastness that Richmond Park has, it didn’t have the various lodges where parts of this shoot were done. In the end is it really surprising that I done this shoot in Richmond Park? Readers of this blog are well aware it is one of my favourite places in all of London.

I also love seeing the deer early in the morning, even if they still refuse to be a part of my shoot, no matter how hard I try. I was lucky that morning though to have some autumn morning mist instead, which added an aura of mystery to this shoot that I really didn’t expect. But I love that about shoots in places like Richmond; it doesn’t matter how much you plan them done to a fine detail, this park always surprises me and gives me something new every time I shoot here.

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