Closer look into the Value Retail Fall and Winter campaign by Linda Elander.
As part of the team responsible for the Value Retail Villages advertising, we were tasked with creating a new campaign that showed the Villages to be a place of excitement, with amazing brand offers and service, and where the unexpected happens. The idea we came up with was ‘Destination Happy.’
From a creative’s perspective Value Retail is a dream client. The campaign allowed me to create scenarios that were bold, full of personality, had energy, colour and were fashion savvy and fun throughout. We wanted to create a campaign that would not only appeal to the regular avid shopper but to the Fashion world too.
Coming from an editorial background, earning my stripes at Vogue as a young designer and having worked there on and off throughout my career, fashion has been a love and passion since I can remember. Spending hours locked away in my bedroom as a young girl designing and making dresses for my Barbie dolls, cutting and re-styling and colouring their hair, making homes for them, creating is in my DNA. I now get to create these magical lands professionally so to work on a brief that really allows your mind to really go for it is amazing. I wanted each scenario to feel fantastical and really celebrate the seasons but still be cool and fun. I wanted to capture the spirit of autumn and the falling of the leaves as a symbol but how could we do this in a playful high fashion way? Why not have three girls having a pillow fight in the middle of the Village with the leaves? Why have pillowcases when they can have designer handbags? For winter, we wanted to be traditional and feature a beautiful Christmas Tree in classic colours, but instead of your average decorations we had designer shoes and handbags made as baubles; little white dresses that hung on tiny wire hangers that had little lights inside of each one so it shone. And so we crafted and developed 6 stories that would roll out through Autumn-Winter ensuring each one had a little bit of fashion sparkle, fun and magic to it.
As production began it was great to see the ideas start to snowball and come to life. We commissioned the fantastic ‘Queen of Fashion Photography’ Ellen Von Unwerth as our campaign photographer and with an A List team of stylists and props people started to build and develop our world.
We shot on location in Paris over 2 days, with half a day beforehand for fittings and wardrobe, so everything needed to run with military precision to capture all the content.
I was slightly anxious setting off to Paris to head to La Vallée Village, our chosen location, as I had watched the news the night before and seen footage of Paris underwater during the summer floods. I had however been reassured by Ellen’s producer ‘that it never rains for Ellen’ so I put on my rose tinted glasses on and boarded the Eurostar.
So how many people does it take to make this magic happen? With an essential crew of 34 on board, not including catering, with a large motorhome for wardrobe, an undercover area for hair and make-up and a large outdoor makeshift studio for the props team we set about bringing this world to life.
With final on set discussions with hair, make up, wardrobe, Ellen and her DOP, and time being of the essence, working shoot days like this keeps you on your toes. You need to make quick decisions and know your vision and keep on strategy. I am constantly running through mental checklists with each shot and set up we do. I could easily get carried away with the fun of the day especially in Ellen’s world, so I always have to keep my objectives at the forefront of my mind. I always have my shoot bible with me with my ideas and mood boards, all my scenarios listed, along with a breakdown of what we are doing each day, plus back up mini stories- you never know what might not work once its on camera. Without any of this I couldn’t function. Too many ideas have been crafted and written in advance and in such a digital age, long gone are the days when you have the luxury to go on a shoot for a few days and come back with 6 stills. With social media integrated into our lives there are so many permutations we create to keep content fresh and engaging.
No matter how many years I have been doing this I still get the same thrill and butterflies in my tummy when we first kick off on a shoot. It is incredibly rewarding to see your vision brought to life and to work with the best creatives’ in the industry to make it happen. It’s like being a kid again and the night before Christmas when you know the magic is about to happen! I love the collaborative process of a team on a shoot. This was my first time shooting with Ellen and she was a dream to work with. There will always be some photographers that you get that extra bit excited to collaborate with and she was one of mine. We were creatively in sync and had a lot of fun along the way. Shoot days are long and intense but seeing the whole team work so hard, everyone caring so much about the tiniest detail and then seeing the end result makes it all worthwhile. It was a fashion festive fun filled few days, that was wrapped up en mode with a crew can can and champagne- all of which magically happened without a drop of rain on set. Maybe Madam Unwerth really is linked in with the weather gods?