Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Ooh La La! Behind the Scenes at Cafe Rouge Newcastle

For quite a while now I've been meaning to get my accessories on Asos Marketplace, the pinnacle of online fashion boutiques. Originally I thought it would be ok to take some quick pictures, just basic studio close-ups against a white wall. However after checking the boutique guidelines, I found out not only did I need a model (preferably a model), but I also had to find a setting which wasn't a studio, which is when I realised the project was going to be more than a few quick snaps.

Although it meant a lot more work than I'd initially thought, it was also a great excuse for a themed shoot (and I LOVE an excuse to put a theme together!), so I started scouring Pinterest and fashion glossies for inspiration. I needed to find something fairly neutral that would fit with all of my accessories, but I also wanted something with a bit of personality which reflected my style of clean vintage, smart yet decorative and a little romantic. Eventually, I settled on what I found to be the perfect theme of a Parisian-style cafe shoot. After putting an advert for two models online and receiving an amazing response (which was both heart-warming and overwhelming), I decided on working with two models who I already knew, both of whom are gorgeous and lovingly down-to-earth.

Kayleigh Falcus, who also designs and makes jewellery (more on that later), is daintily petite with doll like eyes, killer cheekbones and has a real 'English rose' look about her. I originally knew Kayleigh from Newcastle College where we started our degrees, though it was only more recently I met with her properly for an interview that I actually got to know her a little better. The other model for the shoot, Lauren Marshall, I met only a matter of weeks ago where she modelled at Newcastle Fashion Week. Lauren has a bit of a Liv Tyler look about her, with bold eyebrows, full lips and masses of dark glossy hair. A spring chicken to the modelling scene, she was super excited for her first location shoot.

Kayleigh (Hair/Makeup by Maxine)

Lauren (Hair/Makeup by Maxine)

Looking for a French-style cafe in Newcastle, the first place that came to mind was Cafe Rouge on Grey's Street. Though there are a few lovely independent cafe's with cute outdoor tables down charming back alleys such as 'Cafe De Vie' and 'Intermezzo', Cafe Rouge had a strong French vibe mirrored through their petite woven chairs and flower arrangements, gold trims, film posters and the all important French window decals, which worked perfectly with the Parisian theme. My only hesitation was that with it being a popular chain store, the chances of us actually being able to shoot there, particularly if it happened to be a sunny day (when the outdoor seating gets jam packed), were pretty slim. Thankfully, I was proven wrong when I spoke to the assistant manager Maxine, who said that it would be ok for us to shoot there and was really interested and excited at the prospect of a fashion shoot at Cafe Rouge!

With the theme, models and venue sorted, I then went about finding a few of outfits which were versatile and would compliment the accessories well. As I wanted to show off the versatility of the collars and cuffs, I decided on two outfits each, one smart-casual and the other more evening. Eventually I settled on two chiffon tops with skinny jeans, a black long-sleeved body-con (very Audery Hepburn), and a Jessica Rabbit-style pastel jumpsuit. I especially made a couple more 'Cupid' collars with Swarovski crystals for the shoot, as I'm keen to start bringing more embellishment and embroidery into my work, particularly after Newcastle Fashion Week!

With only two days to go and the weather having being temperamental all week, I checked the forecast and realised it was set to be raining on the day of the shoot, meaning it would have to be set indoors. Knowing that the lighting would be different inside (and needing natural lighting to fit in with Asos Marketplace guidelines), I headed over to take some test shots with my professional camera. Realising how much background there would be inside the frames and unable to get the background to blur unless it was a good ten meters away, I realised that I needed a professional photographer who knew how to handle indoor shoots. I posted a last minute plea online to see if anyone would be interested in helping out, and thankfully with the help of Kayleigh, Penny Edwards of Pennyjane Photography kindly agreed to join us! With a portfolio including a great range of indoor and outdoor fashion editorials, and having worked with Kayleigh several times before, she was the perfect candidate.

Photographer/Model Selfie!!

As well as working with Kayleigh, Lauren and Penny, I was delighted to be working again with Maxine Ayre of Maximillion Makeup and Hair. I hired Maxine only a few months ago for a collaborative shoot at Lane 7 for Darkus Magazine, and she was very easy to get along with, very professional and extremely talented. She kindly agreed to squeeze us in between dropping her children at school and an appointment after lunch which was ideal, though it's a shame she wasn't able to stay and watch the shoot. For the look we were going for, Maxine created a brown smokey eye with bronze-rose lips and carefully curled dishevelled up-dos, which had the perfect balance of looking glossy and sophisticated to a really high standard but without looking overly dramatic.

Hair/Makeup by Maxine

Hair/Makeup by Maxine

On the morning we met up, it was luckily set to be a gloriously sunny day (never trust a weatherman!) and we headed to F6.Studios to get everything prepared. Getting into the vibe of the shoot just a little, I ran out and bought us all some croissants for breakfast, and we had a good play around with finalising the styling whilst listening to Bad Rabbits in the background and the sun streaming through. Kayleigh also brought some of her own jewellery for the shoot which worked amazingly. Minimal, elegant and extremely versatile, Kayleigh Falcus jewellery makes great gifts as it can be worn with almost anything and will always add a touch of class!

Kayleigh Falcus Bracelets

Behind the scenes with Penny, Kayleigh and Lauren

Behind the scenes Kayleigh wearing a 'Cupid' collar

Behind the scenes Penny and Lauren wearing a 'Cupid' collar

All in all it was a really successful day and was far better than I had imagined, the sun was out all day, the outfits worked perfectly with the jewellery and accessories, we managed to get some amazing photographs (credit to Penny, Kayleigh and Lauren) and we even finished half an hour early. We provoked a lot of interest with passers-by on Grey's Street, which included a comment on 'the things places do nowadays to get customers' whilst Lauren was draped over the Cafe Rouge sign, myself (a little merry by this point) dashing down the road with a single pink rose I bought from the Grainer Market as a spur of the moment prop, and just the general beauties that were Kayleigh and Lauren. I was even inspired to buy a French newspaper, which ended up being a copy of Le Monde where we strained to conceal the images of hooligans on the front cover but managed to get it in a few shots. After the shoot unfortunately Penny and Lauren had to set off, but Kayleigh and me met up with the lovely talented Michelle (Tallulah Love) and Elaine (Dimesso Designs) for a little catchup! I can't wait to see the final images and hopefully by the end of this week, my accessories will be available to buy from Asos! Will post as soon as the pics are up...

Melanie xx

Image credits to Maxine Ayre, Pinterest, Kayleigh Falcus, myself.


  1. Oh my word does that shoot look chic.How cool are your pics going to look? Lots of lovely ladies and lovely accessories. Can't wait to see the final pictures. xxxx

    1. Aww thanks Kelly it was such a fun day and an amazing team to work with, I'm dying to see the final pictures! Xxxx

  2. Amazing and inspiring hairstyles! Gorgeous pictures!

  3. The hair styles and makeup are so beautiful! Thank you so much for your comment! Comments really make my day<3 I had been away from the blog for a month and finally got to post again. I think you'll really like it! Would love for you to come by!


  4. Thank you :) Maxine is a very talented HMUA she can even create life-like portraits from make-up, very lucky to have had her and the rest of the girls involved in this project xx Instant Milk glad to hear you're posting again, I love reading your blog! Xx