Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A not so Glamorous Assistant’s reflections

The new year brought in extreme ultimatums, to stay around for the olympics or to split to the tropics avoiding the crowds, to throw a tea and china themed street party for the jubilee or to simply, and inevitably, just get royally drunk. All then faced with the doom that the world was going to end 2012 seemed to pose many life changing decisions and events. I did not however imagine one of those questions would be ‘Can you please cut me out 20 penis shapes and make it into bunting please’.... oh are you sure about that? Apparently so. 
When assisting art directors and stylists... or should I say fashion directors as seems to be the new coined title, you find yourself doing and creating things that when you re-sight to your friends over a cocktail they simply do not believe you. Whilst most of my peers shared stories of sewing for hours, tediously beading copious amounts of fabric and tales of bitchy studio managers, I found myself discussing how the boy from skins refused to wear the new KTZ collection and how I was signing my life away daily on loaning thousands of pounds worth of jewelry. 

Most of my time was spent prepping and returning for shoots. This allowed me to cancel my gym membership for a few months as hauling suitcases around London for hours on end was a far better work out then 45 minutes on the tred-mill. Endless PR companies, designers studios and press appointments aided only with a mood board I had to pull options for most shoots, not wanting to disappoint naturally I would grab as much as I could, more clothes, heavier suitcase... another 10 minutes on the tred-mill. 
Being on the shoot of course is always the highlight, first of all the food spread always impressed me, as this seemed to be my payment I, like when pulling clothes, would grab all I could. Rarely would we do a shoot that did not last the entire day, whether it be late models, change of vision, or simply perfectionist photographers shoots are surprisingly draining. The last thing you want to think about is the returns the next day. Especially when you realize that the collection from the designer that you journeyed all the way to somewhere in zone six and walked though deaths alley to find has not even been used and you have to head all the way back there, lie to the designer about how much we loved the stuff and used it throughout the editorial and just pray you never have to go back there.  

Being an assistant is essential all about understanding who you are working for, you have to make their vision happen. Essentially you take on the production role of the entire shoot and ensure that everything is executed seamlessly allowing the stylist or art director to work without stress and simply focus on making the shot amazing. Having worked with a whole range of people you quickly pick up different styles and how to approach each employer differently. This was a key skill I picked up and one that allowed me to quickly evolve and improve as an assistant. As reward for my efforts I was treated to fashion week fun and the occasional press party to mix and mingle. Ending up discussing Oliver Spencer’s show with David Gandy was a highlight believe me. My fashion week exploits are sitting pretty in previous posts so go take a look.


  1. Your blog is SO inspiring! Following you now! =)