Fashion Shoot 2020

With just a few days to go until the launch of the AW2020 Collection, there's a real buzz in the air at Helen Moore. It's the culmination of so many months of ideas, discussions, pattern making, meetings and of course planning the styling of the fashion shoot.

In this month's Journal, we're going to be talking to everyone involved in the shoot from the Moores, the photographer, the makeup artist to our lovely model. But we thought we'd start at the beginning with the team who got everything off the ground. We're a family business, as you know, and Helen works alongside her daughter, Hester and daughter-in-law Jessica. They in turn work with with our designers, production managers and a marketing and PR team  - we'll introduce you to some of them later in the year.

This week Hester and Jessica Moore talk about the inspiration behind the collection, the styling of a shoot and how it doesn't always go according to plan!

When you plan a shoot/campaign what is your inspiration?

Hester: I like to think about what inspired the collection, the colours, tones and the textures. This years collection looks and feels very soft and feminine but I wanted the shoot to be strong and sharp, just like the women who run the business!  

Brown Quail Capelet

Brown Quail Capelet

When you work on a shoot how do you prepare for it?

Jessica: Shoots for me are all about organisation, I love a spreadsheet and a Helen Moore photoshoot has multiple. We have to work out all the products and which colours we want to shoot them in to make sure our range is represented. It can be too easy to go crazy for new colours and not represent our classic collection. These spreadsheets are then the backbone for the whole shoot and we know the outfits and products we are working with inside out. It's imperative for adapting our plans in the face of any unforeseen problems. 

Hester: Jess is the pro at planning for a shoot, but for me it's making sure our creative vision can shine through and Jess is great at allowing time for me to change something, or everything, at the last minute!

Are you influenced by Fashion weeks and trends?

Hester: I’m inspired by everything. I love following fashion but it’s not all about what people are wearing, it’s about a style that is in the air - you can see it in exhibitions, film, nature and even what people are talking about. You have to make sure you are absorbing it all. 

Does feedback from customers influence your planning and selection?

Hester: In addition to new products we have many classic pieces that we have been running for years, we know our customers love these as some of these products have remained unchanged for many years. This year is exciting because we have brought back some old favourites including the Lara Hat, Long Collar and Boot Toppers - it seems you missed them!  We work on the new collection of products for about a year, creating, sharing and developing before we get them right, but we never really know how they will go until the launch!

Brown Bear Long Collar and Boot Toppers

How do you put together a colour palette?

Hester: It goes back to what inspired the collection and the fabric colours for the year. This year is pretty, light and feels very feminine so we needed some contrast with burgundy, black and bright bright blaze orange!


Shirt Collar Powder Blue and Blaze

Tell us about the styling of a shoot

Jessica: We agree on the look and feel of the shoot, select the outfits and see how they work on the different looks then add it all into the spreadsheets. Faux fur is so versatile across day wear, evening wear, party and wedding wear it is important that we cover all aspects. Also, our audience consists of a vast age range so we want to make sure everyone feels represented. 
Hester: When we are designing the products we are also thinking about who wears them, what it will look best with and what styles we love…then its time to go shopping! Faux fur goes with everything so we can have a lot of fun choosing the outfits for a shoot.

What do you love most and is there anything you dislike about shoot days

Jessica: I love shoot days but I cannot stop the feeling of fear until the model, the photographer, the faux fur and the clothes have all arrived. Once the styling is set, the hair and makeup done and we hit the first perfect shot the feeling is incredible, we can start to see our website and lookbook appear as the days roll out. It is so exciting. We have a very tight team that we work with over and over and shoot days are full of fun, music and banter as well as hard work. 

Hester: Shoot days are so great. The stress and anxiety leading up to a shoot can be a bit overwhelming as so much work has gone into the collection but once you get there and everything is in place it can feel quite calm and relaxing.

You’ve worked on so many Helen Moore shoots - what moments stand out for you?

Jessica: So many! Mostly the disasters…our first shoot when all the clothes had been sent ahead and they didn’t arrive, another when the faux fur was actually all taken to Ireland! What is interesting is that all of these disasters have had silver linings. We have learned as a team that we don’t panic, we take a deep breath and we can overcome anything. Another standout aspect of the shoots is that I have been fortunate enough to work with my daughter on about six shoots now for our children’s collection, It's great combining a job I love with my family and she loves being a part of my work.
Hester: Oh gosh, Jess has just reminded me of some pretty epic disasters! But we do overcome them all. Our AW2020 shoot really stands out for me as it was so positive and perfect. We worked incredibly hard on this collection, took it back to who and what we are really about. I felt 100% brilliant about every piece, every outfit and every person we were working with. The shoot worked so well, it really felt like we deserved it, I even cried a couple of times because I was so happy (I was also about 10 weeks pregnant!)

Tell us a bit about the process during the shoot - Are you editing as you go

Jessica: We all have specific jobs on a shoot but everyone jumps in to help too. Hester sits up and does most of the green lighting but we still tend to end up with 100s we could use. One of my favourite parts of the shoot is getting all the images and editing them down, it is fantastic when you have 8 shots that are all so good that you are arguing over a finger position!

Hester: It’s all in Jess’s planning! And luckily she plans for me to make a few creative changes along the way. Editing as we go is hard but very necessary, but this shoot editing out images was even more difficult than usual as we loved so many of them.

During lockdown, you must have had to adapt your work totally - tell us about how you did this?

Hester: Absolutely, but it wasn’t all bad. It gave us time to reflect on the business and truly appreciate what we have. Having our own factory meant we were not tied to mass manufacturing abroad with vast amounts of stock. We could react quickly to adjust our business. I needed to be at home with our daughter so started making scrubs for the NHS which was a great way to for me to process what was happening, feel creative and contribute in my own small way. Some of our machinists were making scrub bags, and it wasn’t long before we started manufacturing face masks. 

Has social media changed the way you work?

Hester: Social media is such a part of our lives now that it is hard to think of a time before. However, social media certainly doesn’t define who we are. We were creating and making and selling a long time before Instagram and Facebook. And my Mum, Helen, whilst having an appreciation for its uses has been in fashion for long enough to know it’s not the only way to share your creations or be influenced. 

If you could choose one thing from the 2020 collection what would it be?

Jessica: It would have to be the Diana Collar. It's classic, sharp and goes with everything. I love the velvet ribbons and simple design, it will go just as well over a winter knit as a party dress.

What’s next for you?

Hester: As the AW2020 collection launches I will be starting my maternity leave, so a few busy months ahead!... but I never felt more relaxed. I feel so happy and confident that we are delivering our best collection to date, one true to who we are. 

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