Behind the Scenes at a Hudson’s Bay Photoshoot

One of my favorite types of projects is creating full rooms from top to bottom. To my extreme pleasure, that is exactly what I get to do with Hudson’s Bay!  Today I am going to bring you behind the scenes of a recent photoshoot that we did to showcase brand new linen collections for spring. As usual, shoots like these are HUGE productions with big crews, multiple photographers and lots and lots (and LOTS) of options.  What do I mean by options?  I mean that for every item that you see in the final shot, we probably brought 4 others to choose from.  And yes, that includes furniture.  Why do we need so many? Because I never know how things are going to look until I see them in the space, with lighting and bedding etc etc.  I would rather have an extra bedside table or two on hand and swap them in quickly than wish I had something different and get stuck.  Options are my best friend when I’m styling…unfortunately they can also be my assistant’s nightmare (thanks Biagio!).  On shoots for Hudson’s Bay I always, ALWAYS bring lots of flowers because there are bouquets in every shot and sometimes it can be a long process to get them exactly right.  We have to consider what looks good in the room, which blooms are seasonal/available (even though we are shooting months in advance), what speaks to the brand, what was done previously and what my clients prefer.  Luckily, flowers are my absolutely favorite thing to do.  See if you can spot our choices in the final images.

Anyway, without much further ado, I present to you images from the Spring Linens Book photoshoot.  Yes, we work really hard BUT we also have a lot of fun.  First is the cover image (you might recognize it from last week’s Globe and Mail insert):

hudsons bay may 17-30 2013 stephanie 1Setting up for the same shot.  Our locations was a super-hip furniture store in the West end.

IMG_0202On the other side of the camera: OPTIONS!!  And my makeshift desk is in there too somewhere.  Yes, it looks like chaos but I swear that we have a system.


Oh there it is! Among the flowers…on the most adorable Bay garden table.  Hey! It matches my phone!  And I always keep my receipts in a chic glass vase. Don’t you?


Biagio and I are in constant contact…and we bring our own phones.


We shot an alternative angle for the Esprit bedding and it included me (in a pink dress!) walking up and down the staircase in the background.  The image was meant to be blurred….LOL!

IMG_0227The last time you might ever see me in a dress this pink:


This is the final shot of new Distinctly Home bedding.  We were going for a uptown Kate Spade style.  I am in love with the gladiolas and the fabulous painted pipe wall! Amazing!  Oh and here’s a tip: garden stools as bedside tables. Why not?

hudsons bay may 17-30 2013 stephanie 2An alternative bike option for the above shot.  Super-chic no?

IMG_0215Here’s amazing off-figure stylist Rodney Smith (with photographer Paul Chmielowiec) creating those fantastic towel insert shots.

IMG_0218A better shot of Paul (the master behind all of the off figure shots in the book):

IMG_0219And who shot all the big room shots you ask?  Michael Graydon of course!  Here he is with our incredible Art Director Rebecca Watson.  Go Team!

IMG_0211All right now a few other random but fun shots. It’s raining chairs! Hallelujah!

IMG_0221Biagio, looking handsome, with “options”:


I love a pretty vignette:
IMG_0198Photo assistant Rudo working on his tan:

IMG_0220The communal inspiration desk:

IMG_0214Oh and here’s me (in my regular clothes) trying to get a handle on things.

IMG_0208What a fun shoot!!  Thanks very much to all involved especially those at Fuel Advertising and Hudson’s Bay.  A very special thank you to our tireless clients Arren Williams and Jen Radway.  Can’t wait to see you all again very soon.

PS: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention bed-stylist Charlene Walton and producer Rosanna Tanti.  Nice work ladies!!!


A Holiday Preview on Christmas Street

While I know that it’s still early for some people, I have been working on Christmas photo-shoots and gift guides for months now and so I am already super-excited about the coming season.  It’s almost as if I’ve skipped over Halloween entirely and am now ready to put up the tree and start sipping cocoa with Baileys.  I guess I’ll have to put the brakes on gently for now but maybe in the meantime you’ll allow me to share some gorgeous holiday ideas that I saw at yesterday’s HBC Christmas Street sneak-peek.  As always, The Bay does an outstanding job with their holiday decorations and it was such a treat to walk-through the extensive Queen Street department with designer Brian Gluckstein and The Bay’s Creative Director of Home Fashions, Arren Williams.
I’ll start with my favorite look: blue/grey and gold (you’ll notice I took more pictures here than anywhere else).   If I could re-do my entire holiday look to match this I totally would.  I think that the key here is a hit of elegant French aesthetic that I can imagine in a very chic Parisian apartment.  The golds are in every patina from tarnished to sparkling and the blues go from soft grey to baby.  It’s an elegant look for an elegant home with a bit of whimsy to keep it light.
The candles are long and tall to add elegance and a touch of antique-styling.  I love all the vases and vintage bowls filled with ornaments.  This can simply be reproduced on a mantle or buffet.
The fancy flocked wallpaper and antiqued mirror are well-balanced by the modern black lampshade and oversize nutcracker.  This is a great vignette.  Again, bowls of ornaments are a simple way to decorate that takes almost no time at all.
I am a total nut for table-top and I loved this setting. It’s modern yet elegant and goes quite well with the stainless flatware (this is a good example of well-mixed metallics).  Also the trio of crystal stemware is a perfect touch.  The table has been left bare to let the marble show.  Gorge!
If I had to pick one favorite thing that I want to bring home it would be this wreath.  It reminds me of a Napoleonic or Roman crown.  And while maybe Napoleon wasn’t such a great guy, the Napoleonic style was sumptuous and regal.
Anyhoo, the next room is a little more casual (but just a little) and based on a creamy palette with hits of light woods and raw brick to ground it.  The decorations are etherial with lots of sparkle and big creamy poinsettas and ribbon everywhere.  There are pretty antiques in this look as well and I love the vintage luggage stacked in front of the carved mantle.
On the more traditional side, the Bay’s crack design team created a tartan-inspired room with a manor house feel called “Highland”. This one is all about layering plaid on plaid with little scottie dogs and wellies on the tree.  There are lots of bears to play with and hefty tarnished gold candle sticks (sorry for the blur but you get the idea).
This old Underwood fits right in with the theme.  It’s masculine and old-world and you can make the kids guess what the heck it is.
Here is Arren Williams showing off his favorite sparkling bird in the “Regency” room.  This one is all about chic black, white and shiny silver.  It’s a new twist that I think will be very popular with the urban set.
Okay, last one: I would call this one Christmas Lodge.  It has a fantastic Canadian style that is in keeping with The Bay’s heritage.  Lots of antlers, birch candles, furs, and faux-greenery abound.
Here is Brian Gluckstein showing off an antler candle-holder.  He was also pleased with the collection of soft-toy decorations that are perfect for kids.
The layering here gives a wonderful feeling of abundance which is so key to Christmas. Don’t be afraid to over-fill the table on the big day.  Your guess will love it and yes, the food will still fit somewhere….
So what is your favorite look?  Do you change it up every year or are you more inclined towards the hand-made and handed down?