Three cheers for Brittany! Our dazzling friend and model has won another title- Ms. Nevada United States 2014! Brittany has been a face for the ‘Co since before it was even an official, real-deal company. We met first at a clothing catalog shoot back in 2009, and have been buzzing and weaving and crossing paths ever since. She is one of my go-to, know it’s gonna look amazing models I call on when I’m working on a collaborative project. Even though she’s absolutely stunning, what I love the very, very most about her is how down-to-earth her personality is. Anyone can be gorgeous, I would know- but it takes a special person to be truly beautiful, and that’s precisely what she is. When she wanted to compete in the most recent pageant to add another crown to her collection and move forward on some of her charitable initiatives, we fully supported her and knew she would earn that crown. I say earn, not win, because let me tell you- I’ve worked with plenty of beauty queens as a hair and makeup artist and those girls WORK for that title! To give you a peek into the world of beauty pageants, even though it’s a lot of work to become a beauty queen the work doesn’t stop when the crown has been placed. At least, the work doesn’t stop if your doing it right. Since Brittany is old hat at this whole crown-wearing thing, she sprinted into action. One of the first tasks at hand was to do a portfolio spread of her reign, complete with crown. A couple of calls later we were shooting with the bad-ass commercial photographer, Brian Brown. Concepts went flying and before the first shoot had even started we all made plans to meet back at the studio for a full-day session with multiple looks. This is what happens when you put several creative minds, a hot model, a bad ass photographer, a couture gown designer, and me in a studio for 6+ hours.
When the Viva Las Vegas shindig comes to town, the pin-ups come out with all their red-lipped, winged liner glory… it’s the quintessential rockin’ good time for greaser boys and pinned up girls! When ‘Co friend and partner Sue over at Altenburg Studio told us she had an opportunity to work with Felina Vie, who was in town for Rockabilly Weekend, we were all over it like corsets on a waistline. One of our resident hair and makeup artists, Tyler, got a chance to work with the infamous Felina to create her signature pinup hair and makeup look. While the rest of the cool cats were jump, jive, and wailing, this trio was in Sue’s studio garden area kicking up heels complete with hammocks and pink flamingos.
Felina’s dress was a signature Bettie Page by Tatyana creation, our local go-to for all things pin-up and retro. From slinky wiggle skirts to full swing dresses, the Bettie Page boutique has all the hot dolls looking their finest. I personally own a few of her pieces, and the cut of her clothing is perfect for more robust derrieres like mine. We are ultra lucky to consider the boutique as our partners for our annual Patriotic Pinups event that we host ever year with Altenburg Studio. For two days, would-be pin-ups can get their hair rolled up, their lips put on, don a Bettie Page dress and have Sue take their portrait. The end result is a super-sweet poster of each participant as a pin-up, and it makes such a cute gift! We donate ALL of the proceeds to our local US Vets organization, who helps rehabilitate and house our homeless veterans. This time of year, especially so close to the Fourth of July, they are in our hearts.
In a previous post, we gave up the goods from our amazing shoot with Bridal Spectacular. In the past three years, we usually did just the one shoot for the magazine, but this year we scored and got invited to be a part of a second shoot as well. And when we heard that we’d be working with Stephen Salazar, it was just icing on the cupcake! The set was out at Lake Las Vegas, a swanky yet quiet area just a few minutes out from the main hub of the city. It’s pretty much the perfect location for a destination bride that doesn’t want the “Vegas” wedding. I’m not sure if you can even see the strip from there! The entrance is tucked between a row of palm trees, and about five minutes down the road you start to see some really upscale resorts surrounding a winding lake. Although it’s definitely off the beaten path, the views and peacefulness of the area is absolutely worth the trip. The beauty of light colors, the flow of the lake, and the stunning backdrop of the area was just perfect for our rendezvous with Chelsea Dawn.
Daileny and Kay were the bridal hair and makeup team for this shoot, and we took inspiration from our surroundings. LLV is lux all the way, so we brought in that same kind of refined luxury into the hair and makeup but still keeping it fresh and modern. A french twist got a little sassy with the addition of a braid in front and lots of texture. Kay proved that classic wedding makeup doesn’t have to be boring, using strong nudes and dramatic eye liner while keeping Chelsea’s face clean and time less. Stephen has a fashion photography background, so getting to work with him on this project had us pretty jazzed. We just knew that he was going to really get the essence of the look we had created, and as usual, he bowled us over with stunning results!
If you grew up in Vegas, you know that the Bridal Spectacular show is where it’s AT for brides. I remember being little and hearing their signature jingle, “If your a bride to be, the place to be is the Spectacular Bridal Show!” Now that I’m a grown woman running the amazing Las Vegas wedding hair and makeup team that is the ‘Co, I actually get to be a part of the bridal fair. It’s pretty surreal! We got our very first booth at the bridal show in 2011- and just to show how human we are, here’s a very incriminating photo of how rough around the edges we were. Yea, it was pretty bad. Thankfully, it only took one botched show for me to figure out that it’s better to hire one of the amazing floral designers in town to do your booth.
Booth swagger aside, there’s also another element that the Bridal Spectacular pulls together. Every late fall, sometime before the holidays but after the big wedding season (October is our busiest month!), the show producers put on a big shoot out. They corral a few stunning models in exquisite gowns, pick some prestigious venues, pull from Las Vegas’s finest wedding vendors, and stage a styled shoot. Of course, you probably didn’t hear much about this on our Facebook page, because the images are all kept very hush hush until the new Spectacular Bride magazine comes out at the following show. For the past three years, we’ve had the privilege of being invited to these well-done photo-shoots as the bridal hair and makeup team. The rush of making incredible images doesn’t get any less with time, if anything, it gets stronger. The original concept for the shoots was to showcase how one bride could be portrayed so differently depending on what photographer was capturing her image. (It’s really incredible how much artistic license impacts how the photo turns out!) And from there it just evolved and flourished, time and time again.
This year, stoked beyond belief, we were invited to not one, but TWO different shoots! Two amazing opportunities to work with super high-caliber photographers, get published, and get some amazing images for our book. In this post, I wanted to share with you the second of the two shoots. It thrilled us to bits when we found out Alex, the cover model for the 2012 issue, was one of our models. We also had a chance to work with Eriko for the first time, and she is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. Both professional models, you could probably put a trash bag on them and they’d make it work. Fortunately, there was a ton of beautiful, curated gowns to choose from. These images come from three different photographers, and are some of the most beautiful photo’s we’ve ever helped to create. Thrilled to be sharing with you!
Photographer Credits, in order of appearance:
Rather than put this gem truly at the end, we are going to stick it right here in the middle. It’s pretty amazing, and while we could wait till everything has been posted, you could be swooning over the amazing gown collection at the Las Vegas designer wedding gown boutique, Couture Bride! There’s a saying that goes something like this- Dec 26th is the busiest day for wedding gown shops. Ok, so maybe it’s more of a rumor than a saying, but the point is this- we are just about half-way through March and that means all you newly engaged brides are on the hunt for THE gown. Our fancy stats show that’s one of the very first things you are going to purchase for your wedding. Which means right about now, about a month after engagement season, you’re probably on the hunt.
For the #30daysgorgeous final shoot, I wanted to do something over-the-top bridal. We had a blast breaking the mold with our non-bridal shoots. Reaching decades back and reviving hair and makeup styles, rocking out our version of classics, it was like a cool remix. However, at the end of the day, there’s something just so perfect about the impeccable beauty that wedding hair and makeup can be. It’s very much the epitome of when a woman looks her most stunning.
Over a month and a half, I had been in the Couture Bride shop so much I started to think of my parking space as assigned. When I’d go in to pick a gown for an upcoming shoot, I’d try to drag out the visit as long as possible without being invasive. The shop is just gorgeous- light, airy, beautiful furniture, stone floors. You just feel prettier when you’re in it, even if your rocking yoga pants like I did most of the time. I’d chat with Dawn, coo over Chloe, and just breath. A couple of times, the only reason why I managed to peel myself off their couch was because one of their brides had walked in and I knew I needed to let them take care of her. I just love how I feel when I am there. I mentioned this to Ron, how beautiful the space was and how it’s make for an amazing shoot, and almost automatically the idea clicked into place. To have models there, with beautiful wedding hair and makeup, and then turn them over to the experts in a store filled with wedding dresses, veils, accessories… it was too perfect. It’s what I imagine all of us dreamed of as little girls. And so, we made it happen. A quick call to our girl Christine over at Floral Couture and we had two stunning floral pieces to add drama to the already breathtaking scene. Add three models, an amazing wedding hair and makeup team, two wedding fashionistas, one way epic wedding photographer, and the cutest assistant in all the land… and this is what you get.
Sometimes you just feel lucky, you know? Outside of the whole “lady luck” situation that Vegas has. This particular #30daysgorgeous session made me feel really lucky. Lucky that photographer Ella Gagiano was on board with the project. Lucky that I happen to know a beyond beautiful model who just so happens to be a friend. Lucky that our friends at Couture Bride would loan us yet another dress. Lucky that this team of ours is 5-star, all the way. Lucky that M Resort liked the idea and would let us shoot there. Lucky, lucky, lucky are we.
In a pow-wow with Christine over at Floral Couture, she mentioned that we should do something over at the M Resort for the project. I admit, for all my candor I can be a bit nervous when it comes to reaching out. But I did, and the results were so awesome that it makes me wonder what else my nerves are getting in the way of. Anyways, after chatting with Tina over at M, she recommended reaching out to Ella Gagiano to do the photography for the shoot. Oh, here we go with nerves again. Ella and I had crossed paths briefly before, but we weren’t exactly on each others Christmas card lists. So I swallowed my nerves and reached out anyways. She was on board too! It was like the stars had aligned just for us, just for the project.
We’ve had the luxury of being at the M several times. The first time was when it first opened, my husband and I did an extended “date night” there and sipped our martini’s over an unparalleled view of the strip. The resort is on the far south side of the strip, far away from pretty much all the other big properties, and at the top the Lux provides an incredible view of the city. Then, a couple years ago, our company sponsored an industry event that was also in that same space. If you’re on the hunt for a sexy, swanky, sophisticated venue, let me tell you this is it. It’s got all the fixings for a glamorous Vegas wedding, easy on the Vegas. Of course, our bride Brittney had to have an equally swanky gown that hugged her curves in all the right places, and Couture Bride had just the dress. The ensemble was finished off with a chic bouquet from Floral Couture, and ‘Co artists Bri and Hayley sealed the deal with all the sexy vibe that the shoot was sure to be. And yes, it was sexy in all the right ways.
In the middle of our #30daysgorgeous project, we also had the massive bridal show that is Bridal Spectacular. Naturally, bridal shows at the start of the year are lavish productions, riding the wave of all the holiday engagements. (Here in the ‘biz, we know you husbands-to-be like to pop the question between Thanksgiving and Valentines day. There ya go, a little insider info for ya!) That means that between organizing, collaborating, and actually doing 30 shoots in 30 days, we also needed to have one EPIC booth for the biggest and best bridal show in Las Vegas. A whole day and several f-bombs later, Chief Dude and I finally got our booth up and promptly went to the nearest margarita distribution facility to toast our hard efforts. The next day, when we got back, we finally took some time to notice our neighbors. Directly across from our booth was a quiet and pretty lady with a dazzling display of jewels. Britni of Blue Luck Bridal was having her first booth at the show, and we exchanged pleasantries and a few hot tips. Towards the end of the show, when my own exhaustion was being replaced with the thrill of meeting loads of beautiful brides, we chatted more about lots of things, including the project. Jewelry was a definite must for truly bridal shoots, and it was a great chance for us to work together to create something beautiful! A couple weeks later, Britni in all her motivation (and let me tell you, she is small but mighty!) pulled together the epitome of wedding-fashion bridal photoshoots. We were way stoked to hear that she had gotten our girl photographer Ella Gagiano on board, and then our beautiful model just make everything perfect. Alana and Hayley completed the picture-perfect bridal look with sultry, smoky eye makeup and a classic hairstyle that would look amazing with dozens of different accessories. The result was absolutely, utterly, and completely perfect. Britni, we couldn’t be more thrilled working with you on this! And to all our brides to be, you gotta swing by Blue Luck Bridal and check out her beautiful jewels. Hair pieces and earrings, necklaces and bracelets, she has a lovely selection to complete the ultimate bridal look!
PS- Still need that Something Blue? At the end of the show, Britni gifted me the sweetest necklace. A double horseshoe, the outside beautiful crystal-clear rhinestones and the inside a kind of perfect-beach blue. It sparkles, it’s adorable in every way, and if you can’t figure out your blue, grab one of her signature necklaces!
There is a kind of reverence that hair and makeup artists have for all things vintage. Well, maybe not ALL hair and makeup artists. But a lot of us, especially my team. So, when Ron wanted to stage an epic 1930′s Seance session for #30daysgorgeous, we were all over it.
Modern day beauty is wonderful, fresh, and has it’s own very fine points. Anything goes, although I’ll be the first to tell you I just don’t get “high fashion” makeup. You know, the kind where a makeup artist makes the model look “heroine chic” or puts a purple triangle over their eye and calls it art. But, then again, I don’t have to like that kind of makeup artistry, because there’s plenty of other makeup artists out there that do. The hair and makeup styles that we saw from the 1920′s until about the 1970′s were very feminine, very perfect, very finished. Finger waves, (which are making a comeback that we love!), were done on Saturday mornings at the beauty parlor. The hair was set wet, and then she would sit under a dryer for God know’s how long to dry the whole thing, and the style was then finished with a comb-out. We’ve found a few ways around this very long, drawn out process and Hayley nailed Ajali’s finger waves using modern, hot-tool techniques. Of course, the hair doesn’t make sense without the right makeup, so Alana created the doe-eyed look that was quite fashionable, complete with cupid’s bow lips. Because the wardrobe for the 1930′s was quite specific, we asked our girl Iliki over at Style Lush to pull together an amazing look that would really help us nail the authentic vibe we were going for. As usual, she nailed it!
There was much back and forth prior to the shoot, working with two models, two hair and makeup artists, a wardrobe stylist, and a photographer. Everyone collaborating was excited, which also means everyone collaborating pulled different inspirational images. What we decided on was a decidedly aged photo shoot that was quite close to being authentic, but with a few modern twists. But, don’t let that distract you from the real star of the show- The Seance. Ouji board in hand, our two models played out the popular past time, and with a little nudge from Ron, we do in fact have levitation and ectoplasm.
Confession: I have a small obsession with all things Film Noir. Sexy crime detectives, swanky fedoras, trench-coats. There probably isn’t a woman on the face of the planet who at one point or another fantasized about living in the world L.A. Confidential created. Women were sexy and curvy, everything was dark and mysterious. The entire era of the 40′s drips with swagger. There’s only a few shoots I personally did as part of this #30daysgorgeous, but this, this one was one of my baby’s.
You’ve met my pal Ron Dillon before, so no introduction is necessary. But, what you may not know, is that this man knows his lighting. When recreating the that smoky signature look, it’s really all about lighting. I suppose ALL photography is all about lighting, but in particular, it’s quite specific. Now, imagine if you will, carting cases full of camera equipment and two full lighting set ups down a urine-reeking back road known as Dead Girl Alley. Of course, it’s Vegas which means pretty much everything here is shiny and new. And at night, of course. To get the grittiness that we were after, we had to shoot at one of the oldest parts of Las Vegas- Downtown. Just to give you a point of reference, the oldest part’s of our city go back maybe to the late ’30′s, and that’s being generous. Where as modern and updated architecture can be hard to track down in most major cities, finding dilapidated buildings and walls is quite a feat here.
I wanted this kind of Asian feel for our model, and Ron confirmed my instinct by telling me how American’s were fascinated by the Oriental culture in that time period. Our model was Amma, a beautiful woman from Indonesia, and she blew us away. Everything that we wanted our lady detective to have, she embraced, and did it far better than we could have imagined. A little creative wardrobe and of course, signature red lips and roller-set hair, and we have what you see here. In love with this #30daysgorgeous session, a thousand times over!
When Ron Dillon and I first “met” each other a couple years ago over cyber space, it was because I had accidentally emailed the wrong person. Unlike most accidents, this turned out to be a happy one! We exchanged a few pleasantries and nothing more, and then just this past November happened to be at the same bridal show at the same time. It was also right when I was getting up the nerve to do #30daysgorgeous, so of course Ron and his girlfriend Angela were promptly verbally assaulted with the idea of 30 shoots in 30 days. Over tea a couple weeks later Ron and I started to “get” each other’s artistic style, and the idea’s for different styled shoots came fast and furious. I don’t know who’s idea it was or how it ended up coming about, all I know is that some kind of perfect harmony happened when Gimme Some Sugar Bakery offered up their newly established dessert bar. Who had the mother of all up-do’s, who had the most designer dresses, who was blinged out enough to blind a passerby? Marie Antoinette, of course. And naturally, she would want to eat cake.
Over at Couture Bride, Dawn and Annette had the perfect Vera Wang gown for our Marie. Corseted but with clean lines, it was the perfect dress for our model Jess and it fit her so well. If Marie were alive today, she probably would have a bit of a rocker chick thing going on, so a faint purple ombre and colorful make was definitely on the menu. Rachel pulled up Jess’s trusses into Marie’s signature coif, adding color gradually to the tips. Melissa, beyond obsessed, gave Jess the kind of feminine fashion makeup that would have been worthy of a 20th century Queen, with vivid pinks and rich blues. And colorful French macaroons? Well, naturally.
Cruise on over to Ron’s blog for his take on what turned out to be an amazing, bright, awesome shoot!