AW21 Behind the Scenes | Shooting a look book during the COVID-19 pandemic
Despite the unfortunate rise in numbers of Coronavirus cases and ever-changing restrictions, our CEO Fleur was delighted to have been able to shoot the AW/21 collection and took some time out to tell us about the precautions she had to take in these unusual times.
When and where did you produce your last photoshoot?
We shot A/W21 in North London. We usually shoot this season about six weeks later but I decided to pull it forward as cases of COVID-19 were increasing and I wanted to keep the shoot as safe as possible.
What was most challenging about shooting A/W21 during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
It was making sure I had an understudy for every member of the team in case they had to self-isolate at the last minute so it was like organising two photoshoots rather than one.
How did it differ to ‘normal’ photoshoots?
I am super lucky as I have a trusted team of creatives I always work with. After not shooting for nearly a year it was so lovely to see everybody in 3D but of course at a social distance.
Sadly it was only me from the Fleur of England team, we had to keep numbers as low as possible, so I had to be everywhere on the day doing three people’s tasks! I had to drink lots of tea.
The Fleur of England team were amazing though, they did so much preparation in advance to make my life as easy as possible during the shoot. All the collections were placed in shoot order on hangers and beautifully pressed. This helped massively on the day.
I started Zoom fittings with the beautiful Rose back in May to make sure the garments were the correct size for her. It took a few Zoom fit sessions but they looked stunning on her so it was all well worth the time.
I also did more Zoom meetings with my photographer, make-up artist and videographer in advance of the shoot, so everybody knew what the expectations were.
What new things did you have to consider? Did you have to put any special measures in place?
Everyone had to fill out a form in advance of the shoot confirming they hadn’t be in contact with anybody who has tested positive. I also had to take everybody’s temperature before they were allowed in the building. Nobody could use public transport to get to the location and we all had to bring our own food and drink, and stayed one meter plus apart at all times.
We all wore masks all day apart from the models when we were shooting and I provided all the crew with a Fleur of England COVID-19 protection pack when they arrived, when they arrived containing:
- Re-usable Mask
- Disposable tissues
- Hand sanitiser.
I was the only member of the team who helped the models get dressed and I used hand sanitiser every single time I had to help one of my lovely models. My photographer Louise is so clever with her camera; it looks like they were together in some shots but they were always socially distanced.
When planning it what is the first thing you usually do and does it differ now you have to be mindful of COVID-19 measures?
Booking a location, I wanted to make sure we had enough space to keep everybody safe, so I booked a somewhere I have used before and am familiar with. It’s stunning with a lovely Mexican vibe but lots of studio space for the crew.
How did you organise it?
I have been organising shoots for twenty years now, so I am really confident with the process but this is one of the most challenging shoots I have worked on. It was just so important to keep everybody safe.
I had a huge amount of help from my team in advance helping organising the collections and packing all the equipment I needed for the day.
Are there any changes you made that you would keep in place in the future?
Being more organised with the collections before the shoot, this worked like a dream, each look was on its own hanger. I had created a shoot count, including which model was needed in which look and whether we were taking a video too, so every crew member knew what they had to do.
I would also do more Zoom meetings in advance of the shoot with the other creatives.
How long did the process of shooting take from start to finish? Did you notice a difference compared to say this time last year?
A shoot day starts at 9am and finishes at 6pm, so this was the same, I decided to only shoot three collections instead of four, so this gave us more time to be socially distanced and not rush and make mistakes.
What was your favourite thing to shoot and why?
The Kittie collection, the strap balcony looked stunning!
Did you have to limit the number of people and what classed as essential?
We kept the crew to 7, usually we have 10.
How different was the process?
It just took more hours of thinking and I needed to plan, plan, plan; just be really organised and not get too anxious about anything.
Has it impacted the way you interact with models and others on-site?
Yes I think we will always be a bit more careful post-COVID-19.
Did you get any feedback on the day from the crew?
Yes it was extremely positive. Everybody told me they felt very safe and Rose and Maddy (the models) commented that they felt it was the safest shoot they had done.
We are thrilled that we were still able to shoot our new collections during these uncertain times and cannot wait to reveal them to you all next year.