It’s not often I’m asked to shoot fashion but twice a year I gather together a small team to shoot Misa Harada’s forthcoming collection of exquisite hats. I’ve known Misa for many years and it’s always great fun working together. She’s a real talent and respected worldwide, having created pieces for some of the biggest fashion houses including Katherine Hamnett, Yohji Yamamoto, Hermes and Missoni. Her work has graced the heads of Jennifer Aniston, Britney Spears, the Rolling Stones and the cast of Sex in the City but contrary to this celebrity line up, Misa is very modest – probably a reflection of her Japanese culture – which makes her very easy to work with.
So last week, the team, consisting of Yuko Murakami (Hair and Make Up), Karl Bridgeman (Lighting), Helen Jacks (Model), myself and Misa got together to shoot the 2016 Autumn/Winter collection. With Paris Fashion Week imminent it’s always a bit of a scramble to get the hats finished in time for the shoot and the Look Book printed and ready to present to the buyers. For this latest collection, “Kaleidoscope Modern”, Misa was inspired by the works and abstract paintings of Sonia Delaunay with her bold use of block colour and pattern as well as that of American sculptor, Alexander Calder. The task for me was to compliment this theme through the set design and lighting whilst adding a touch of glamour – an important ingredient when shooting fashion!
For this I used a simple set with just a table as a prop but by gelling the lights, I was able to blend colours to create a mood in the shadows and replicate some of the block colouring in Sonia Delaunay’s work. For me the real interest lies in the dark spaces and shadows within a photo and I’ve always liked the way they used to light the old 1930-40’s Hollywood movies with the big Fresnel lights. It’s one of the tools I often use as it gives a very direct light with deep shadows but a silky drop off between the light and dark.
See more images in the Misa Harada portfolio here.