Monday, August 10, 2009

There is a good reason

Things with this blog have fallen away I know - I have been sucked in by Twitter and also due to things outside of my control and my other commitments - I have felt it prudent to scale back my blogging. I will still try and blog from time to time but until then I suggest you follow and read (if you don't already the following blogs on the side bar of this blog).

Monday, March 30, 2009

A word of warning...

This is more of a word of warning for photographers / stylists out there (and also their agents and production companies). This is worth a read so I have included all of it. For warned is for armed. If you know - make sure your agents are working on your behalf (as it is us ... the little fry in this chain of command who get hurt the most).


Stephen Best / APA National CEO March 21, 2009

APA on Omnicom statement..."our policy has not changed"

The last week has seen ever-increasing concern and anger in the advertising community concerning a change in the way the Omnicom Group and its subsidiaries conduct business between Omnicom subsidiaries and suppliers. Advertising Photographers of America (APA) reached out for comment from the Omnicom Group about the crisis. With the Omnicom Group being the world's largest advertising holding company, a change in terms and conditions affects the advertising community on so many levels. The policy of concern is called Sequential Liability. Sequential Liability simply means that the agency only pays the suppliers after it has been paid.

Quoted from The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) published guidelines dealing with this trend:

"Certain agencies have inserted a Sequential Liability clause in their contracts. Others have added a side letter to be signed by the production company. Still other agency contracts do not overtly refer to Sequential Liability as being in effect, but do refer to the agency "acting as agent for" (the advertiser), which suggests the same thing.

If the agency is requesting the recognitions of a "principal-agent" relationship, then the client (principal) should not be released from the obligation of payment until total payment is made to the production company. It should be clarified that even if the client pays the agency, the client remains liable if the agent defaults in fulfilling the payment obligation.

Sequential Liability means that the agency as agent for its principal, the advertiser, is liable for payment to the production company only if the advertiser has paid the agency; otherwise the advertiser is directly responsible for the payment."

On Thursday, March 20, 2009, at 11:47 AM, APA spoke with Pat Sloan, Omnicom Director of Public Relations, to express the concerns of APA and others to the
opposition of this policy. APA members are not able to finance major advertising projects and these terms and conditions are not acceptable. Director Sloan's statement is that there has been no change to their policy on this matter.

Sequential Liability has been policy in the industry for many years. The reality is that advertising agencies, many are Omnicom's subsidiaries, have provided advances and credit to production companies and photographers to begin awarded projects with substantial expense. "Business as usual" must continue was stated to Director Sloan. APA members, independent photographers and small business owners, are not in a position to finance commercial projects of possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars.

APA business practices have long promoted the inclusion of "statements of intent" to receive 50% to 100% of expenses before the start of a job. It is imperative that this practice continues without removal of advances by clients. Photographers should also include that the photographer owns the copyright and any license agreement must be paid before the release of images.

As creators of intellectual property, photographers hold the copyright on their images. It is imperative that registration of images be immediately submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright law and licensing agreements with your clients provide you strong legal protection. APA recommends legal action only as a last resort but registration is needed to recover statutory damages and legal fees.

We must stand together and confront these terms and conditions because they are not in the best interest of photographers and their community of support. If even one accepts them, it will cascade and the role of advertising photographer will change to one of being a financial institution or bank for clients. We must not go down that heavily liable road.

The Omnicom Director of PR did promise to recommend a meeting to discuss these matters. It is APA's hope that a meeting will be arranged and discussions will continue to a successful resolution.

As previously stated, BE CAUTIOUS and don't be afraid to walk away. We must stand together.

Stephen Best
APA National CEO

When I gaze into the Mirror

A lovely thanks to Erica Crompton for her lovely mention of me in her piece in the Mirror! I am not (for those who know this blog well) the most prolific blogger out there but I try to keep things interesting.

Sorry for my absence is a crazy mad press week this week. In the usual instance they are crammed somewhat into two weeks where everyone insists on holding theirs on a Tues - Thurs slot. Due to Easter ... it seems everything is crammed into 1! Is everyone nuts?

Our well heeled Fashion Editor shoes can not make it at the best of time to catch everything and I have a 1 shoot in heavy post production and 2 more in pre-production so when in goodness name I am supposed to pull this off and keep the advertisers happy .. only the heavens know.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Yes well I have been twittering for a while but for some reason .. it never occurred to me to link them. You can find me on WardrobeSlave on Twitter. Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tatler Editor

So it seems that Catherine Ostler is Heading to Tatler. Not too much of a surprise there as she was always in the frame and obviously is going to continue with much of the same. The job swap - she is leaving the ES magazine while Geordie heads over to head up the whole newspaper - is the least likely to make waves. In this climate, no one can afford to rock the boat. Time will tell!

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I am back. I got the job and all is very well with the world. No the photographer in question is not my new BFF but he was charming to the subject and wasn't too dismissive of me (which was a relief).

I can't wait for the pictures to come out. Although not useful for my book - for my CV, they should do wonders.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Closing my eyes and keeping my fingers crossed.

The annoying thing in this line of work is often, the jobs that will never be. It is usual to be optioned for a job (along with several others) and we sit and wait; like the girl waiting at the prom to be asked to dance. This isn't to difficult to handle but every once in a while you have an option come in that is like having George Clooney / Brad Pitt (delete as appropriate) twirl you around the dance floor. One that you want so badly you can taste it.

Those options are career builders (when they come off) - if Brad for example is willing to dance with you .. you would be surprised how many others also suddenly think you are rather desirable (and also those who thought you were crap before suddenly want to be your new BFF). So I am optioned at the moment, with every finger crossed and anything else I can - that I will be the stylist chosen. The option in question has taken a look, approves and now the nail biting starts. Will I get it, won't I?

I am sure that by the end of the week I will be covering the grey.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Predicting the Future

Sometimes I do wonder about things. For example the title of the last blog - a silly fun play on words. Or so you would think, until I find myself on my couture sitting today. Everyone has been very helpful but every shot taken, every shot covered but we all sit hear waiting, waiting and waiting some more. The Couture house that we are waiting for?

It isn't the PR's fault as I was promised my dress at 5pm, by 6 - nothing. The client before hasn't released it, and now it is 7:30 the dress is finally on its way. This is the way of Couture and to be honest I am bloody lucky not to be shooting through the night. Most of the girls are leaving today / tomorrow to get to NYC for the start of fashion week there mid month.

It has been a crazy few days. A shoot yesterday which went as well as I could have hoped. I am just waiting to hear the verdict. The present shoot is lovely and far, far better than I could have hoped given less than 12 hours ago, I didn't have a studio, clothes, hair + makeup or a girl with a top 20 rating.

Sometimes, although I love this job at times - it can makes me tear my hair out. So here I sit - writing while wasting time (thank god no overtime rates), until the beautiful Gaultier gets here.

Right now however I really could do with a G+T.

*Update - it arrived. It was my first choice and all is forgiven as it is just stunning and worth ever minute of the 2.5 hours late that it was. Viva la Couture!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gaultier, Gaultier - where out thou o Gaultier .....

The final day was quite quiet. Due to the general strike in Paris tomorrow everyone I know is trying to jump ship from Paris before the chaos starts. Now I have to admit - other commitments prevented me from going to the Valentino show but Gaultier was his best by miles - all the signatures of Gaultier, corsets, visible boning .. Kyle in the front row (the scrum to get a picture of her was silly), I might add. Kanye was here again (that boy - Music artist or Fashion floozy?). Innes on the Catwalk - milking it for all it was worth and we were lapping up every moment of it. Elli Saab, was ok but given the strength of many of the other collections - it was all a little to soft and girlie for my tastes.

On the news that Take 2 was closing .. I am hearing rumours (and again Rumours only) that also 1 MNGT in NYC is also going the same way?

Thank you also the lovely Liberty London Girl for a heads up in her blog yesterday. She is one of my favourite bloggers out there and if for some ungodly reason you haven't seen her musings - Go NOW!!!!! Furthermore I let out a delighted squeal this morning, as Make Do Style kindly has given me an Award I didn't deserve (rightly so) … I am listed in her top 10 blogs - no bad as I am not a regular blogger, I am consistently un-consistent.

Well I am off to see if there are any Velib Bikes left and go biking across Paris in the Chaos.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Regal Ice

Some times I thank god I am a Stylist and not a writer by trade, because nothing that I can say or type will come close to the Chanel show today. One multi tiered gorgeous frothy regal icing confection of perfection would be the closest I could come and well - that description is a roaring pastiche if I ever said one. However, to say it was breath taking … would be selling it very short. The room, the tables (and yes people were trying to sneak out with the table cloths, the paper cut centre pieces (pathetic … but understandable) and that was before we even had a chance to look at the clothes.

When the time comes to leave fashion and on to pastures new, these are the shows, which I will take with me. From there it was on to Lacroix. Also a regal showing, the technicality was there, the collection wonderful - the catwalk …. Longer than the rue de Rivoli. For 39 looks, one end of the room was clapping while the other half still had 6 looks to see. It was a minor annoyance in a technically brilliant show.

Maison Martin Margella - was an interesting presentation. If only as the only two other people in the room with me were Suzy Menkies and Carine Roitfeld. Talk about being in the shadow of brilliance. I have to say it was a moment of pure Couture heaven. If only I could have dipped into either of their brains (aka Being John M) for a moment.

Givenchy was a bit of a let down but on top of a cracking day … who has room for critics?

Well I guess me…

More Gareth. So LVMH is looking to buy him … so reports However he was at Chanel as well today so I would imagine he is courting buyers, seeing to be seen or at least trying to get someone to invest in him, as the poor love has no money. Investment isn't easy to come by especially right now. Can't see him taking over Dior Homme but stranger things have happened…..

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I now pronounce you …

You see, sometimes in tough times - the big boys look to the past and say: "What happened when the economy went belly up last time?" Besides our loyal clients, who else spends money on Couture? Brides of course! Not everyone can be a year in, year out Couture client but there are still many very rich elite women in this world, which will spend money (no matter how bad the economy) on that dress of a lifetime. No surprise then, that there was more than a spattering of off-white confections to grace the catwalk at Dior today.

This in no way detracted from the wonderful presentation, which I thought, was spot on. Great use of colour, hand painted silks and yummy embroidery and bead-work. The silhouettes were old school glamour, with the odd nod to the up-coming Oscars. Dior is always a house where Couture still reigns supreme and John, as ever is the master of ceremonies. However, one could not help noticing that the Master has been lax at the gym or eating one to many pies as he is looking a tad round at the moment.

Sergio Rossi Puma launch was interesting over at Collette if you are a fan of Satin trainers (both the flat and heeled varieties in a selection of strong bold colours). Fun, but given the London weather, perhaps not practical. I am not a fan of suede or satin as they tend to get trashed in one outing, however that won't stop me from shooting them as soon as I can.

As for Armani, well I would rather just skip that. What did come to my attention was a press release that went out that announced the closing of Take 2 models. Gabriella was to London modelling - well, like Sarah Dukas, or Carol White. So although I know things are tight …well I was not so much shocked but saddened by the news. I hope this isn't a sign of further closures to come.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Not the new world order

I try not to be a cynic. Hard it must be said in this environment. However, Gareth's show was as predicted a bit of a scrum, full of the Pony step club kids, fashion stylists, editors and general hangers. Did I see anything new? Unfortunately not. It was his first menswear show, and predictably he sent out more of the same, Goth boy dressing. However, in a very hard financial climate one has to ponder how much of a market there is for very rich, anorexic skinny Goth boys/men to dress? Men are not usually the most adventurous with their attire so besides the piles of editorial that he will get .. I can't see much else. I don't believe Gareth is bankrolled to the point where he has a very commercial watered down commercial collection waiting in the wings (I could be very wrong, we shall see). So to concur with Make Do Style - Mad boy indeed, if there was a time to try and develop your ideas and move forward, the time would have been now.

The highlights of today - Dior and one could argue Armani Privee (the later being a bit of a stretch). I have already been asked by a few to judge the general mood. Is it as sombre as everywhere else or is there a fashion buzz on? I suspect it will not be a "grand" couture, a more paired back demure season to reflect the times. It is not the time to be flaunting excessive wealth (for those fleeting Couture clients - I suspect they have in many ways been hit more than most - as a percentage of overall income).

Anyway … more to follow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Staring at boys

A long absence I know but it seems that my professional life is difficult to blog about. Given the nature of shoots, one has to be very careful of what one says. Frequently, you can't discuss things - less a competitor knick and idea, shoot a model and pip you at the post - so a blog can be a bit of a pitfall. Furthermore, you don't want to land your publication in the merde (and yourself with it). So it seems, I leave you for months on end and only blog from the safe haven of the shows. Or perhaps - I just don't have anything that interesting to say…. take it as you will.

Now I find myself back in Paris, to attend the holiest of holy, the Haute Couture, which will commence on Monday. With the tough economic times however, drastic measures have to be taken and I was dispatched to Paris early…. Something about Saturday night stays and cheaper tickets (false economy given that an extra night in a hotel is required - however due to concern to my personal wellbeing… I opted not to point this fact out). Everyone seems so techy at the moment. So I arrived a full day and a half early to enjoy the sights, sounds (and Sales) of Paris.

I miss Editor X, as she was a ray of sunshine, which made this circus far more tolerable. She will be back no doubt and not a moment too soon. Unfortunately my colleague, USC has to get back to the office so I have been generously gifted a healthy allocation to the menswear shows. Something that in all of my years, I have never darkened the doorstep of. So I guess you could say I am popping my Menswear cherry, and with Hermes no less. Well if a girl is going to do it…..

The show was clean, classic (with twists of Yellow and Red) and rather tasty. However, if you want a review … go and read Suzy, she would put it far more eloquently than I. Over all however, loved the casting especially. Surprising as I usually find male models of the post millennium all to fey for my tastes. Bring back the muscle bound beef cake men of the early 90's.

I also have a coveted invitation to Gareth Pugh's debut menswear collection tomorrow night but Hermes wins over Gareth for line honours. Just call me an old fashioned. It will be a scene tomorrow. Coupling the fence between closing the Menswear shows and the opening of Couture the following morning, it is guaranteed to be a scrum of silly proportions. Everyone vying for the honour of the coveted " well I was there when Gareth showed his first ….." Is a star to be born? Some would argue he is already. A showman he might be, but a strong designer with longevity in his label has yet to be decided. Perhaps come back in 10 years and with can discuss it further.

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