Today's blog is a special guest post from Katherine O'Sullivan, Co-Founder of Klickpicks who we partnered with to shoot some incredible on-location editorials for Leota's Spring 2020 collection. Read on for a sneak peak into the inspirations and adventures behind the scenes of this glamorous shoot!
The crew met me (@kat_klickpicks) in the lush heart of Palm Springs. I had been celebrating my 30th birthday with girlfriends of 20+ years. It was the perfect way to get in the right mindset to shoot Leota, a NY-based female-empowered company, which would kick off our 6 day 7 night production tour of California. Leota is a brand defined by inclusive sizes and empowering, bold prints. It was fate and an absolute certainty that our LA team was destined for greatness after we had already had a successful first shoot with Leota in the South of France.
The models came from far and wide, LA and San Diego adding a few local hires to help with the heavy lifting. Models Alexandra and Arianna drove in from Santa Monica early morning on a Tuesday in January. Endless blue skies added a cinematic touch for our on location shoot. Coming from NYC in the dead of winter, this was an extra special treat for us. We were eager to get started. The stories of Frank Sinatra overtipping the locals and hosting celebrity parties are legendary. The end of Hollywoodland gave way for a new generation of filmmakers with new ideas while the art deco charm of Palm Springs stayed exactly the same.
Hair and makeup artist Jessica Gonzalez (@jesskissnmakeup) was a local hire who we met over a few brief exchanges over Instagram. It was a bit of a risk but the looks were classic and she turned out to be fantastic. We cranked up our portable speaker roped around my co-founder Jose Pinto’s (@joseklickpicks) neck and blasted some tunes from the land of The Rat Pack to The Doors.
The first look was shot at the mid-century modern Hilton Palm Springs. Located near the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains, it evoked Palm Springs’ artistic intersection of old Hollywood and rich nature. At the pool area of our hotel, both models stood confidently in their Leota dresses, standing out brightly against the desert terrain. In the background, yellow umbrellas and bright pink flowers brought the shots to life. The desert had never looked so glamorous. Side by side they strutted with vintage accessories in tow to evoke the ease of the Palm Springs lifestyle. Shot after shot all went by without a hitch. We’re ahead of schedule.
We then ventured out into the sleepy downtown of Palm Springs. Settling into our Southern California pace, we still efficiently utilized our bespoke Klickpicks Production Method. The best way to describe our style of shooting would have to a jazz band. We know what we need to get, but we really never know where the day is going to take us. For example, we discovered a street art festival in full swing in the downtown area and we couldn’t resist getting in a few shots of the models strolling through the rows of paintings on easels framed by rows of palm trees. Two more summer dresses shot and we pop in the car for a quick touch up. We could have taken a break but everyone was having too much fun so our desire for adventure made us forge ahead.
Turning onto North Canyon Drive, we were immediately immersed in the historic views of Palm Springs. Our usual view of skyscrapers were replaced by palm trees of nearly the same size. You could hear every type of music echoing down the block. As we pulled into our first stop in front of the infamous Shag Store, Sinatra’s song “Pennies from Heaven” came pouring out of the open doors and windows at the bar next door. The Shag Store is a Palm Springs staple, with paintings by Josh Agle depicting quintessential views of the swinging 60s lifestyle.
The Klickpicks team got back into the rented SUV to find a cozy parking lot with a stunning, picturesque mountain range in the backdrop to shoot our models in their matching sundresses. Next we downshifted into some Elvis, and now that we're a few hours into shooting everyone suddenly felt comfortable enough to let their hair down and get down like they were on Soul Train in the 70’s. The cameras kept rolling so we captured some incredible behind the scenes clips of the girls dancing and letting loose as the sun went down.
The last two looks are now complete. I checked my watch and we are now technically a few minutes into overtime but nobody was worried. When you truly enjoy what you’re doing, time flies. With 6 more days of shooting on our schedule I knew we were in for an adventure, so we got back in the truck and headed for the city of angels, where dreams can become reality overnight.
Our team had successfully done it... by improvising, allowing time for solos, jamming on the same note, then circling back to the chorus until we got the shot. As they say in the biz, it’s in the can. Until next time...