Hey friends, Wow, what an insanely wonderful photoshoot and videoshoot we had on Saturday! It turned out spectacularly well, and I couldn't have done it alone.
Actually, I truly want to point this out. I could sit in my apartment drawing pretty dresses all day long, but launching a business and getting all the various and sundry pieces and details together to get it out of your head and into the world is a process that only happens with good people around you. I am so honored to get to work with so many great and talented people, that I am going to do a credit reel at the bottom of this blog post.
There are two reasons I wanted to shoot a video along with the catalog and lookbook. One, everyone likes Behind the Scenes videos. Everyone. It's an internet fact or something. Two, and more importantly, this video is going to become part of a Kickstarter funding campaign, so we can put together the money to produce these pieces at the quality level that makes Cabiria a different product out there, and to do it in the USA and utilize the craftsmanship here (by the way, this link is about the factory where I'm producing the garments in NYC). Job creation! (it's an election cycle - I can't help but use buzz words).
For another perspective, one of the beautiful models, Allison McGevna, also posted on her own blog about Cabiria and her experience on set.
There was a LOT of preparation going into this shoot, in part because I take pride in being as professional as possible to make sure my entire crew and talent get what they need to put out their own creative work, and in part because I don't want to miss opportunities because I've forgotten an important step, like a street permit, or to talk to a location's manager, or snacks for the green room. Details become important.
The whole week before the shoot was super rainy, and I kept hoping it would get over and done with before our shoot day. Also, there is a bad flu going around, so I lost several of my crew members 2 days before due to illness. Thursday night, in a panic trying to replace my sick crew members, my roommate came home with a friend. Turns out, she was interested in helping, so at 2AM, as I sat in my living room lounge chair in my pajamas, I scored my final crew member.
On the prep day, Friday, it dumped buckets of rain on us as we ran around the city picking up gear and groceries, and loading into the theater where we'd shoot the catalog work, but with help we got it all done.
Before dawn on Saturday, I picked up my photographer with my awesome houseguest-now-PA, drove into the city and started to set up the theater space, stage area, and green room. Friends started arriving shortly after, picking up the carts of coffee and baked goods for our breakfast, laying out makeup brushes and camera gear, and even delivering the last of the samples that needed to be assigned to models.
Soon, two of our models were in the makeup and hair chairs, getting even more beautiful than they already were (how is THAT possible?), and it was time for my video interview!
My hair was done, my nose was powdered, and I did some yoga breathing and jumping up and down to let go of my on-camera nerves. When we were done recording my interview, everyone in the room cheered for me. Apparently, what I had said in all earnestness on camera resonated with them - about loving beautiful fabrics and garments, about feeling excluded from the opportunities to even try those garments on in most stores, and about how much I wanted to bring an equal level of garment quality and construction to the plus size market. It was very rewarding for me to get that immediate feedback. A real gift.
On to the cyc! A cyc, short for cyclorama, is a big background for the photographer to shoot against. We shot all three models in 12 looks, for a total of 7 different styles, some in different fabrics. I wore a style that is still in development, pending interest from buyers, I will bring to market as well. One of the unique aspects of Cabiria is that I hunt high and low for the best possible fabrics and prints to make our pieces. This means that sometimes I can get 12 yards of silk jersey, yielding about 3 dresses total, and sometimes that means I can get 1000 yards yielding about 250 dresses, but I have to have the orders in place to make that kind of purchase. Again, why the Kickstarter campaign becomes important for our success and growth. This rarity creates such cache as well - to have a dress that's very unique for a price that falls into a very competitive price point window compared to what is available in the marketplace. So for our catalog, we shot a sampling of what different fabrics can do in different styles.
After lunch, we moved outside to shoot on some picturesque street locations. Since we didn't have permission to stop pedestrian traffic, we got a lot of passersby offering their very favorable comments. Choice favorites were: "Beautiful dress!", "She has a beautiful figure.", and my personal favorite "That looks nice...oooh! and it has pockets!".
I love pockets and put them in almost all my dresses.
We shot until the last light faded towards the horizon over the Hudson, then boogied on to wrap out and head home with our gear. An absolutely fantastic ending to a wonderful day with talented folks. I continue to be a very lucky designer indeed.
Huge thanks to my entire crew and advisors, including:
Colleen Davie Janes
Matthew David Powell
Jen Kennedy Martin
Michael David Bevins
Ragnar Steingrimsson, Jenn & Vinstri
and of course the gorgeous models:
and finally, the gracious Spasso Restaurant, HUB Cycles, and Marc Stuart Weitz of The New Ohio Theatre.
Stay tuned for the relaunch of the website with the photos and video, and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign!