Mario Testino

A few weeks ago I was sat in a my 9am Monday morning lecture expecting to not take anything in, when it was about fashion photography. For me fashion photography is my passion, it's something I really love & am leaning more and more towards career wise.

Surprisingly though I didn't actually know that many variations of fashion photographers before this lecture- I mean I have my few favourites but nothing major. 

Mario Testino really stood out to me, so much so I manage to stay wide awake for the entire lecture!

Mario Testino is widely regarded as one of the most influential fashion and portrait photographers of our times. His photographs have been published internationally in magazines such as Vogue, V Magazine and Vanity Fair. He has contributed to the success of leading fashion and beauty houses, creating emblematic images for brands from Gucci, Burberry, Versace and Michael Kors to Chanel, Estée Lauder and Lancôme.

Alongside his 40-year practice as a photographer, Testino has realised a body of work as a creative director, guest editor, museum founder, art collector/collaborator and entrepreneur.

Testino transgresses genders, mixes masculinity and femininity and suggests sensuality rather than sexuality. Suzy Menkes, Vogue’s International Editor explains, “Testino’s skill is first and foremost to catch the moment and to bring out the humanity in his subjects.” Testino’s subjects appear confidently alive; he captures their energy by creating an openness and intimacy with them. Known for the extraordinary way in which he can capture the most private of moments, Testino’s spontaneous, intimate portraits offer the viewer new perspectives on famous faces, often establishing new fashion icons. He has documented subjects from A-list stars, muses, supermodels and artists, to subjects that he has encountered throughout his travels, from magnificent cities by night to mysterious landscapes.

One of Testino’s most memorable pieces to this day is his series with Diana, Princess of Wales. Commissioned for Vanity Fair in 1997, he said: “One of my greatest experiences in life was photographing Princess Diana. It’s not only that the experience itself was amazing, but she opened a door for me because I then started photographing the royal families of Europe extensively…this brings out my love for tradition, for a way of showing family and the longevity of people”. He has photographed many royals including The Prince of Wales, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the King and Queen of Jordan and King and Queen of the Netherlands, among others.

Testino’s work has been exhibited at museums around the world, among them the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (In Your Face, 2012), the Metropolitan Museum in Tokyo (Portraits, 2004) and Foam in Amsterdam (Portraits, 2003). 

His growing personal collection of artworks ranging from painting to sculpture and photography has also been the subject of numerous shows. Testino’s relationship with fine art developed after frequent visits to galleries and artist’s studios. He said: “Just as photography is a vehicle for me to live a new moment, to go to a new place, meet a new person and so on, art is a process of encounter and discovery. The display of art for me is not just about seeing the work isolated in a white cube. It’s also about engaging with the art – and sometimes the artist – to make something new.”

This picture of Cara Delevingne is one of my favourites out of all Mario Testino's work, I just think it's truly stunning! I don't know why I like it, it just makes me stop and stare at it. Maybe it's the contrast between the blue and the beige I don't know, but Testino got this picture perfect! Cara looks almost doll like especially as the paint makes her look like she's made out of plastic. I like how very natural and untouched it looks, makes me think 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' kinda thing. 

Alongside the picture of Cara, this is another favourite of mine. I just think it's a very haunting picture that makes you not want to look at it but and the same time you can't help yourself from looking at it. I also love the fact it's in tonal, black, white & grey- it adds more to the haunting effect. The angle of the model works really well too, like it's as if she's looking back at you. Testino definitely captured something beautiful here, it's all in the eyes. 

If you haven't seen Mario Testino's work before then it's totally worth a look at, he's a very storytelling photographer. It's not just about the image alone but the story behind it. 

What do you think of his work?

Take care & I'll see you all very soon.


All images are taken from Google. 

Kendall Jenner X Pepsi

Probably one of the most controversial stories we've seen for a while... 
Literally everyone is talking about the Kendall Jenner X Pepsi scandal.
Here's why... 

Pepsi has bowed to pressure and is “pulling” its controversial advert featuring Kendall Jenner at a protest. The video has been removed from YouTube and in a statement, the company said: "Pepsi was trying to project a global a message of unity, peace and understanding.Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue".

The advert was widely criticised for appearing to trivialise demonstrations aimed at tackling social justice causes, suggesting that protestors and police would get along better if the former were kinder and being insensitive with regard to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The protesters cheer after she hands a can of Pepsi to a police officer, who takes a sip and smiles at his colleague. Among those mocking the advert was Bernice King, who tweeted a photo of her father, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, being confronted by a police officer at a protest march.
"If only Daddy would have known about the power of Pepsi," the tweet said. 

This isn't the official video because that got taken down but this was the advert:

Besides being massively controversial I just think as far as adverts go this is a weak one. It's just uninteresting, generic and dull. I mean I know Kendall is a supermodel and everything but I think it would be nice if a brand actually used real people who we could actually relate too, because no matter how much Pepsi you drink, you ain't ever going to be like Kendall. 

I get that Pepsi was trying to show that they are a brand that supports global issues but it just doesn't promote that message and when you haven't got anything narrating it apart from music it can be hard to get your point across. But come on Pepsi, just think next time! They've been around for years now, you'd they think they'd know what is appropriate and what isn't. It's great that they shot the video in Thailand using mostly local people because the consumer market can relate to this so much more. When will brands learn that we don't respond to celebrity endorsement anymore, people are more likely to buy a product if it's recommended by a friend than a celebrity. 
Because we know we can trust the friend. 

Kendall Jenner is reportedly ‘lying low’ and feeling ‘traumatised’ after the backlash from her role in the recent controversial Pepsi advert. “Kendall was grateful for the change,” they said. “She is really traumatised over the Pepsi backlash.” They continued: “She had such high hopes for it and now she’s terrified she will never work again or become a laughing stock. The world sees her as this glamorous, sophisticated, jet-setting woman, but she’s only 21 and she’s very sensitive. This has been very painful and embarrassing to her.“She feels like the whole world hates her. She’s never had to deal with this kind of backlash, she’s so upset. Anything offensive is just not her. She means well, always.”

This isn't the first time PepsiCo have had to apologised for an advert. In 2013, they pulled an advert for the soft drink Mountain Dew that was criticised for portraying racial stereotypes and appearing to make light of violence toward women. It's apparent that Pepsi really need to think before they produce a campaign, you'd think a worldwide brand they would be more considerate but obviously not. It makes me sad but I doubt this will be the last time Pepsi produce something controversial- it's only a matter of time till we see something else. Only what will it be next time? 

What do you think to this campaign? Are people over reacting or do you agree? 
Let me know in the comments below. 

Take care & I'll see you all very soon.


All images & videos are not my own. 

Dolly Jones Talk

Optional lectures were not something that I ever thought I'd attend purely because getting out of bed earlier than necessary for me is not a good option. 
Still at Uni I continue to surprise myself so I attended the lecture with Dolly Jones who works at Conde Nast Publications...

Dolly gave us a great deal of insights into working for publications & the demands require in order to do so. Personally I found it really inspiring and it made me more determined to pursue my dream of working for a magazine in the near future.

Conde Nast have roughly around 5.2 million readership, with an increasing number of this being from mobile traffic, Vogue November 16 had 65% of it's readers from online. Which does make me feel sad because I don't think a physical magazine can be beaten. Telling stories is all about the shareablity from the offset , more and more magazines are promoting on other social platforms such as Instagram because 'if content is king then context is country' 

What happens when publishing online?

1. Publish & post
2. Monitor traffic
3. Search ranking
4. Social ranking
5. Updates are made

To think I just thought all you did was hit publish & share, these facts will actually help me blog wise though- It'll be interesting to start monitoring my stats more because I rarely follow them. Keeping track of what's popular and what's not will help you when it comes to writing because at least then you know what will be popular & what won't.

The more digitally informed you are the better, this means keep a track of everything that is going on online. Fair enough you don't have to be glued to your laptop or phone 24/7 but maybe check out the news app when you check your other social media apps in the morning because knowing what is going on in the world is key.

If you run a story without visuals it doesn't go down well. This is something that I have experienced already, when I first started blogging well over a year ago now I was terrible at adding pictures and images to my posts partly because I didn't know what I was doing but also I didn't know the importance of visuals. As I've got better as blogger I've noticed my stats massively improving so much so it's possible I could reach over 100000 views this year which is an insane amount of eyes.

Currently the Conde Nast aren't doing personalisation but they are looking into as an option, however telling people what you think they want closes doors on other stuff. Surely it better to allow the viewer to search for what they want because that way they might stumble across something else that they wouldn't have found otherwise. There is something nice and getting recommendations for what you might like but at the same time it is nice to just surf the web at your own leisure too.

Interestingly Dolly Jones said that print is more female and online is more male, I don't know why I was so surprised by this because thinking about it, it is true. I personally think a printed copy of a magazine can't be beaten but my male friends are much more likely to read something online then invest into the physical copy.

The magazine industry is tough, Vogue thrives on competition which is healthy for a magazine because you want to be constantly pushing yourself to being the best you can be- this is relatable in everyday life too. Standing out is hard but once you've found your niche market your there, you've just got to make sure that you stay there and stay on top.

I am glad I attended this lecture because it was really helpful to hear about what it's really like to work for a publication company, the Conde Nast is one of if not THE biggest publication house in the world. Magazines still are my passion, I did wonder if I'd change my mind whilst at uni but I haven't yet- I guess there's still time to.

What did you think of this post?
Let me know in the comments below.

Take care & I'll see you soon.


Pictures taken from Google.

MET gala

If only I could be lucky enough to attend the MET gala....
Okay so this post is a lot later than I wanted it to be because as we have already established I am an idiot who's got massively behind on all of her work and needs to catch up before the deadline in 2 weeks time. 
Who's stressing? Certainly not me *sobs loudly. 

On May 1st, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors for the Met Gala, the annual invitation-only fundraiser to benefit the museum's Costume Institute, and a launch party for its spring exhibition. Personally it's an event I look forward too every single year- I mean I am a fashion student after all. Living in NYC would be my dream but attending this event would be something else. 
I just love looking at what people choose to wear because at the end of the day it is one of the biggest fashion events of the year. One thing I will say though is that I don't like the 'best & worst dressed' articles that always come out afterwards because everyone is individual, 'each to their own' and all that. There's always going to be someone who loves to hate what your wearing- you can't please everyone all the time! 

To the Costume Institute, the MET gala has always been a massive deal. It's the only department at the Met that has to finance its own activities, and the gala is its biggest fundraiser. The event was initially named the 'Party of the Year', but it's only relatively recently that it fulfilled that promise.
From 1948 to 1971, the benefit wasn't pegged to an exhibition, and was held off-site at the Waldorf Astoria or the Rainbow Room. Guests (mostly New York society types) indulged in fine dining and were entertained by "skits, raffles, and pageants of models in historic costume," according to the museum's records.

Anna Wintour, Vogue's current editor, shifted the focus to celebrities when she took over as chairwoman in 1999, recruiting A-list including Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Tom Brady. The Vogue team's participation in the planning and execution were the highlight of the 2016 documentary "The First Monday in May."
"Ms. Wintour has used an intimate understanding of fashion, and of her own role in that universe, to transform a dowager social event into a frenzied red-carpet romp that now surpasses, at least in terms of frocks, the Oscars,".

This year's exhibition is dedicated to 74-year-old Japanese designer 'Rei Kawakubo'. One of fashion's most revered creative visionaries, she founded the avant garde label Comme des Garçons (French for "like some boys") in 1969, and was part of a cohort of radical Japanese designers to debut in Paris in the early 1980s.
For decades she's served as a source of inspiration to creators across disciplines. In 2010, Edward Enninful, the soon to be new editor of British Vogue, told Another magazine "she proved that you could be an outsider and still be influential, that you could follow your instincts and still make a difference."

"It's a Met show for Comme des Garçons, not a Comme des Garçons show at the Met. Compromises were made."

Slightly controversial opinion but the Kardashian clan aren't my favourite people, personally I just don't get the hype around them. Saying that it doesn't stop me wanting to own a Kylie lip kit or wanting to look like Kendall. So they've converted even me. One thing I do love about the Kardashians though is Kendall's sense of style- I just think she can pull off any outfit incredibly well. I mean if anyone else wore this dress then they wouldn't pull it off but Kendall is the sort of girl who could wear a bin bag and still look good. 

Okay so I'm gonna contradict myself here but I hate Zendaya's outfit, I just think it makes her look so old and frumpy. Like this is THE fashion event of the year, why on earth would you want to waste it on this dress! Even her hair, I don't like hair- it's too wild, too much! For me I think it's a combination of the style of dress & the print, I do like floral chic but would I choose to wear it? Probably not. When I was younger floral, typical girly clothes were definitely my style but now I'm more into the rock chick sort of vibes- I would rather look edgy than girly any day of the week. I feel like Zendaya is such a cool, edgy person that she could totally have worked a ripped style dress. Maybe she wanted to mix things up- who knows but I think this outfit was a mistake. 

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, are literally the cutest couple in the world. Blake is another person who can literally pull off any outfit- she knows her style & what works for her and she will always adapt whatever the theme is to fit with it. 

Watching the Disney channel when I was younger, I was never a massive fan of Selena Gomez- I never had anything against her but she just wasn't my 'cup of tea', Over the last year or so my opinion on her has massively changed especially since she co produced '13 Reasons Why', I just love her so much, her style , her hair and just what she stands for. She just seems like a really nice person!
This dress is absolutely beautiful as well! By far my favourite outfit, I would literally go out and buy this dress tomorrow if I could afford it- lol to the broke student life. 

Rihanna raise the bar every time she wears an outfit, I mean I can't say I am obsessed with this look but I love how she is experimental with her fashion- I wish I was more like that! This isn't the sort of look you can wear just to pop down to the shops but for major events in the calendar it works. 
You go girl!

What was your favourite outfit from this year's MET gala?
Comment below.

Take care & I'll see you all very soon.


Images taken from Google.

Fragrance Shoot & Advert

Art direction wasn't something I'd ever considered as a career option before Uni, partly because I didn't know what it involved... yet on my course it's the one thing that I really love doing besides writing this blog. 

As part of our fragrance project we had to do our own photoshoot to create a press & video advert all with an actual photographer. It was an amazing opportunity and nice to get the chance to work on set in a proper studio- something that I have always dreamed of doing. The photographer was lovely and really helped us out especially when our 'plan A' didn't work. We used two male models in our shoot because as you know we are producing a fragrance for a male audience. It was actually harder than you'd think trying to find a model with the 'right' look, it's not just about good looks- they have to be linkable to the campaign in some way. We needed guys who looked older preferably about 25, which is hard when the majority of lads you know are the same age. 

The basic principles of our shoot were fairly simple, we needed mainly head & shoulder shots that we'd hoped to be able to project cities on the models faces or white shirts. But as always life doesn't necessarily go as planned so we ended up just doing a range of head & shoulder shots at multiple angles which we edited onto in post production. As the projection plan didn't work out as we expected- we needed a stronger light source that was powerful enough to project the cityscapes onto the models. 

As you can see we added a cityscape to the model's face, personally we all felt the model here was perfect for the look of the brand because he just had that messy, rustic look to him. The hair was an added bonus! Inserting the picture to his face rather than his body worked better here as we planned to put the fragrance bottle in the bottom right hand corner- together they just would have been too much.

Adding the bottle made it more of a fragrance advert. It showed what we were trying to sell, yet I think on reflection it might have been better to add more wording to the press ad so you guys (the consumers) would be able to tell what we're trying to sell. Obviously the name of the brand is a key thing to include on the ad but a tagline would work equally as well, our tagline is quite long which I'm not sure works as well because it needs to be sharper & snappy. 

Out of all the shots taken this is one of my favourites I just think it works so well! The scene on the white shirts is stunning- we opted to keep the main photograph black & white and only added colour to the bottle. So both things separately would stand out but together they blend and combine as one. 


Ever since my Art Foundation last year I have developed a real interest for film and making videos, I think because it's just something I can get lost for hours doing- it really relaxes me! Slightly off topic but I want to start YouTube so bad... maybe one day. 

The concept came from videos we'd looked at where they started out in black & white but then quickly faded to to colour as the video went on. We wanted to keep the video really snappy & quick to hold the viewers attention- some videos are so long and boring. Adverts such as the Waitrose one are in my opinion quite dull, personally I don't know how they'd get any business if their videos are anything to go by. The music we used wasn't the one we'd originally intended as you couldn't use that one for free from YouTube, however I do feel this track keeps up the pace and builds the video up to a climax. Originally I was against having any writing on the ad because I wanted the visuals to speak for themselves but I think it definitely looks better with wording- it helps let the audience know who we are & what we're about.

I'd love to hear what you think of our press & videos ads in the comments below.
What style of advert is your favourite? Comment below.

Take care & I'll see you very soon


All imagery used is my own. 

Developing a Fragrance Brand

I don't think I've really spoken about the latest project that much so I thought it was about time I did...
My current Uni project is to create a new innovative fragrance brand, that offers something completely new and exciting to the fragrance market. When I heard about this brief I was a little unsure what I thought about it, especially as I signed up to do a fashion course not a fragrance one. After doing the project for the last couple of months, I can finally say I've got into it & surprisingly it's my favourite project so far.

Coming up with a brand is not as easy as you'd think.... I never imagined how hard it would be to come up with something new that the market hasn't ever seen before. I mean where do you start? 
Initially we decided to go down the festival fragrance route because it was an idea that really got all of us excited about where we could take it. But we'd massively over complicated things and we lost track of the actual task. So each member of the team went away and thought about other ideas we could use instead, which is how we ended up at 'an around the world fragrance'.

We thought it was an interesting idea that brings the 7 continents of the world together, especially with the numerous cultural differences we see in the world today. As we didn't want to do just a standard fragrance we thought we'd target it at men because this sector of the fragrance market isn't as overcrowded as the female market. 

So our brand?

Profectionemis the Latin name for the word ‘Departure’. Opting for the Latin pronunciation adds a more sophisticated, grown up feel to the scent, making it more desirable to own.
Within our brand there is 7 different fragrances, each representing the 7 different continents in the world. Each scent can be purchased individually or as the full collection. As well as having a continent name on each bottle, it will have a prominent city name from each of those continents too, making it easier for consumers to repurchase a particular favourite scent should they wish to.

The bottles will be labelled as followed:
North America- NYC
South America- Brazil
Europe- Amsterdam
Asia- Thailand
Africa- Egypt
Australia- Sydney

Because we're not just creating a brand we're telling a story too, our story is that “Wanderlust is a luxury. Luxury is exclusive. Memories are extensive. Scent is beautiful. Our product is about making everyday as good as your last, wherever in the world that maybe". This is kinda our tag line because it will feature a lot in the video and on the advert, it says who we are as a brand without telling the consumer too much & it leaves them wanting more.

Personality & positioning a the brand is key when it comes to promoting it, targeting the early twenty something man, someone with a disposable income who would be willing to invest into the collection as a whole purchase. Considering their age they still have a massive desire to travel but have not necessary had the time to do so what with work commitments. Our product allows you to travel the 7 continent of the world with your sense of smell. As well as being there to offer memories to those continents the consumer may have travelled to. ”Men are more likely to invest into a product if it means they don’t have to make a repurchase as often”.
Currently on the market there are no other fragrances that offers the 7 different scents of the world. Gap in the market.

The colour palette of our brand is kept minimal. Using tones of monochrome and an electric blue. This immediately indicates to the target consumer that it is a masculine fragrance as these colours are stereotypically linked to the male gender.
When researching double exposure photoshoots the colour palette is mainly black and white due to the fact this creates contrast between the two images.

Our target audience, is predominantly men who like to live the life of luxury but they don’t like to care too much. Which is why purchasing all 7 scents as a collection is perfect for them! As they don’t have to invest too much time in looking for the singular ’perfect’ scent as they have 7 to choose from.
As mid-twenty something male with a disposable income it is likely they have little time to spend fragrance shopping, spent smelling lots of generic scents. We are completely different, offer a rich, luxurious, manly product that not only demonstrates they impeccable wealth but their taste too.

‘CB I Hate Perfume’ would be our biggest competition as their main ethos is “People who smell like everyone else disgust me”. Obviously they create unusual scents that have equally as unusual names. However they are extremely expensive (in the £100 mark) for just one fragrance whereas we’d sell 7 fragrances for £200. Yes our product would be a substantial investment  if purchasing the entire collection but long term works out better value.
This is still a largely underpopulated sector of the male fragrance market therefore there are big gaps.
That's our brand in a nutshell really. 
I will still be doing more posts about the brand and photoshoot over the next couple of weeks. 
Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

Take care & I'll see you all very soon.

Photos are mixture of my own & google images.

Happy Little Life Update

Welcome back!

Well it's certainly been a case of 'long time, no blog' from me which could be seen as the understatement of the century. I just hit a bit of a wall when it can to writing posts, nothing I wrote seemed to come out right & I didn't want to publish something that I wasn't happy with. 
Still I'm back now... blog regularly till at least the end of term & hopefully through-out Summer too. 

Can you actually believe that I have less than a month till I finish first year?!?
like WHAT!!!!!! 
(internally screaming)

I don't know how long you guys have been reading my blog for but back around September/ October I mentioned in several posts that I was really struggling with settling in to Uni life, I felt so alone, so far away from home (even though I'm less than an hour away) & I can't believe I'm even saying this but I had doubts about my course too.
 Looking back now makes me realise how much university has changed me in just a year. 

For me university hasn't at all been what I expected it's been a million times better!
I have loved every single second of first year... a few days ago I was counting up the weeks till I go home for Summer and I just had a flashback to the second week of Uni when was counting down the weeks to Christmas. Only the difference is this time I felt sad about the lack of time I had before heading home for Summer. Obviously I'm looking forward to spending time with family & friends, doing crazy things but at the same time I'm MASSIVELY going to miss my Uni family.

I never expected to make the friends I have, meet the people I have, I love most of my flatmates to pieces- I wouldn't change them for the world!

People said two things to me before I came to Uni:
1. It'll be the making of you
2. It'll fly by in no time so enjoy it
Honestly I can't put into words how true these statements are!

If I had met who I am now at the start of first year, hands down I wouldn't even recognise myself. I've gained SO much more confidence & a real laid-back attitude, which depending which way you look at it can be a good or bad thing (especially when it comes to uni work). Of course my course has helped me grow as a person, but when I really think about it I've learnt so much more from the people around me- I will be forever grateful they came into my life.

There was a time when I was dead set against going to university because 'hey I thought you don't need a degree to do well in life' and truth is you don't. But going to Uni doesn't just give you a degree, it gives you so many more opportunities then you'll ever be given at any other time in your life. It'll give you independence, help you learn about yourself & pushes you forward into adulthood. I've always been a 'home girl' despite saying on numerous occasions I want to live in New York but I never actually believed I would be able to do it. But now I feel I could do anything I set my mind too, it's like that fear has disappeared because at the end of the day I know people will love me the same if I'm 5 minutes or 5000 miles away. Going away to university has taught me that!

I had some great times in school but uni is the BEST educational experience of my life. 
I already owe it a lot!
If you undecided about going to University or College, my advice to you would be 'what have you got to lose?', I don't know anyone who hasn't changed at Uni, you develop so much more as a person. It's like you finally get to be the person you've always wanted to be. 

I'll be back tomorrow with another post because I've got a lot to catch you guys up on.
I'd love to hear about your experiences from first year or if have any other questions about it? If so comment below and I'll answer them.

Take care & see you soon.


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