High Heel Jungle

Ever wonder what goes into making a magazine Cover Story? While the cover model is seemingly effortlessly smiling at you from the new-agency stand, the real magic (and sweat equity) has occurred behind the scenes, ensuring the best image is staring back at you.

From picking the perfect cover model to securing the ideal location, logistics, wardrobe, hair, makeup….it’s  a complex and fascinating creative commerce machine few people know about. 

HHJ caught up with Kymberly Marciano Editor and photographer of luxury children’s fashion Mini Maven Magazine to reveal the hidden details behind their latest stunning issue, Style and Grace.

How did you come up with the theme for the cover story, was it clear from the beginning?

We work almost a year ahead with fashion forecasts and attend tradeshows to see the upcoming trends, So when we began to plan the themes for the Style and Grace issue we wanted stories that had a variety of fashion elements, textures, deep rich tones, and a cinematic element to it. We often do not know what shoot will make the cover, however in this case, we did. This shoot originally was to be called the Artist Way and after much research I kept going back to Wes Andersons, The Royal Tannenbaums. I LOVE his style of photography, directing, he is a sheer genius. Once we dove into the research, time period, and fashion, all fell into place.

Once you decided the theme, how did casting fall into place?

The casting  was inspired by the 3 main characters in the film. (siblings). We needed a strong “Margot” and two brothers, one sporty and the other “Dashing & aloof ”. I knew exactly Who would play Margot, it was just a matter of crazy logistics in getting her!

Tell us about your cover girl?

Linnea Lange is a bright, sporty fun loving 9 year old at the time and from Minnesota. We first met Linnea on Instagram when we came out with the ICONIC issue over a year ago. She discovered our publication, bought one, and reached out to tell us how much she loved Mini Maven and posted a shot of herself with the magazine. With her modeling jobs on the rise, we kept a dialogue with her mom Heather and agent Guy. We all discussed should something come up where she fit the role/description we would make it work regardless logistics of her school, and living out of state. This was the time! She was the perfect fit for this role! Linnea is passionate about modeling and together we had so much fun transforming her into a young version of Margot.

She had never been photographed or portrayed in this sophisticated and fashionable way, we completely transformed her by giving her a short bob, strong side part, a wardrobe of the ages “et viola”, she morphed easily into a young Margot thanks to our incredible HMU artist, Martin and Stylist Heather.

How did you find or settle on the location,?

Once we confirmed the overall concept, we brainstormed locations in Los Angeles, we were looking for whimsy, boutique type spaces with a library and several lounge areas, with lots of character. The Pali House could not have been a more perfect fit and I happened to have a connection, so we rolled with it.

How do you decide what brands or designers to use?

Each season brands share with us their collections for consideration for editorial pulls, together with my creative team we honed in on brands that lent themselves to this narrative and aesthetic. We had over 20 brands on this shoot from all corners of the globe.

Do brands pay to be involved?

No they do not, it is in the brands best interest to have optimal exposure in a leading publication for the world to see. I also invite emerging brands to be involved, I am a firm believer we all have to start somewhere.

What is involved in securing the clothes?

We reach out to brands, designers, or showrooms directly, share our concept and request samples. With good timing and luck, they send them. It can be tricky as several are international brands and shipping and customs can be quite difficult.

How many hours do you shoot?

Typically a full day when doing a entire editorial. We plan for 8-10 SOLID looks, which means different hair, makeup, and setups. We stagger the kids and be sure they all get breaks in between shots. The kids are such troopers!

What sort of challenges are you faced with on shoots?

In my opinion, Location shoots have more challenges than studio. For one, you need to work around others and move quickly. The weather can also dictate certain shots, be your friend or enemy, you need to be prepared for the worse always. When talent gets sick, this becomes another BIG obstacle, Kids can wake up any given day not feeling well, getting a replacement is hard and adds a level of panic. :/ If you have a pet joining your shoot, that too can add delays. At times the clothes don’t arrive or get stuck in customs. All of the above are just a few challenges we face.

How do the details play a role?

They are EVERYTHING!!!  The location is the first detail I look for, especially when setting up my shot list and what looks go where. Some shots are specific to singles, doubles or triples. Lighting is another MAIN detail, our Castingwardrobe and shot list too. specific references in each shot; the color of an accessory, a sofa, a pet, food, or even a wall can play a huge part in the overall look of the shot.The possibilities are endless.

Is it like shooting a movie? With different scenes?

While I’ve only directed a few motion shorts, I would say yes in the sense there is a lot of directing that goes into a shoot. Not only with the models, but with the entire team. We have well thought out mood boards from conception to refer to and Shot lists. Typically, After a thorough location scouting, we then need to consider time of day for lighting, etc! For me, my approach has a narrative, a beginning, middle and end. The kids work well within these parameters, they easily take on the personas and really give the camera and the clothes their all.This is one of the reasons I  love working with kids so much, they totally get into it when there’s a theme or story going on. We just want to have fun!

How do you do castings?

Castings are primarily with agents. We do use Social Media to get the word out and there is alot of hidden talents that are not represented and moms/dads are our readership. We get a lot of referrals through FB and through comments, tags and DM on instagram from parents and fans. We carefully refer them to our submission process and guidelines and if they are with an agent, we ask them first.

What is post production like? What makes the cover?

Post is the fun part!! Editing is such an exciting time, especially after taking a day or two away after shooting. Coming back to the story with fresh eyes is always a good idea!

The Cover image and cover story defines the content of the issue. In this case, after reviewing all submissions, for STYLE and GRACE, Linnea portrayed those qualities with her exceptional performance modeling the wardrobe and brands she is wearing. There is a complimentary mix of high end, everyday, and global brands throughout the story. With over 11 editorials throughout the issue, and spotlight features, this cover sets the pantone color spectrum as well  the FW 2017/18 collections that grace the pages of the issue.

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