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British Hat Shoot - Velvet Storm Photography 101

And now for something a little different…

Step into a lost English summer spent playing dress-up and cavorting through the rooms of a deserted mansion. Imagine you’re the kooky heroine of nineteenth or twentieth century literature, and your abandoned home is decaying around you while you’ve never looked more beautiful.

This is the setting for one of the best styled shoots I’ve seen. The context isn’t wedding, even if the accessories are, and it allows you to see them clearly just as they are, removing someone else’s bridal vision (which can sometimes cloud things if their style isn’t yours) and adding in its place the spirit of freedom and of uninhibited glamour with the memory of long, hot days spent having adventures. I really love it.

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The Story of the Shoot by Gina McAdam

I have always loved the faded beauty of typically eccentric English mansions. We found this one nestling off a Cricket Green in a sleepy Surrey village. It seemed to fit with my millinery, as I love to use reclaimed vintage jewels and gems rescued from heavily embodied dresses in which the material has disintegrated.

There is much beauty to be found in bringing something back to its former glory, especially when it’s then evolved into something entirely new all of its own.

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I felt the same way as soon as I stepped inside the Jacobean hallway of this grand home. Heavy curtains opened across grand rooms to shed light across decades of opulence; each room had a different story to tell. I created a collection of headwear for I would paint a picture as unique and individual as the various parts of the house were, and film starlet style drama was the key.

I absolutely cannot resist making an entrance; I think it’s one of the most powerful things a bride can do on her wedding day. Wherever she chooses to be, she should have a presence all of her own. I believe good headwear can do that. We all enjoy trying various hats on for precisely that reason; it transforms and instantly adds a touch of glamour and mystery.

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If you the choose the right headwear to complement your face shape and eye colour then it can literally turn heads, and I have seen this in action many times.

In this shoot, our lady of the manor reflects this perfectly as she descends the staircase, or awaits her guests on a windswept lawn.

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For the scenes in the garden, I chose the beautiful lingerie of UK designer Stephie Ann Designs. I love the way Stephie transforms flowers into beautiful watercolour prints on silk by freezing petals in ice and then drawing the process as they melt, and since parts of the house had remained untouched for many years, it seemed to perfectly encapsulate the very essence of the shoot.

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I think that presence on the big day is all important. When I undertake a millinery commission, I am aiming to create an overall look – the headwear must work perfectly with the outfit. I do not make duplicates of any of my bespoke designs; they are entirely made for that person alone.

I’m very passionate about creating an all over look for my client. The headwear has to boost the whole outfit, and even complement the make-up. The end result must be the right combination of classical elegance with a touch of drama.

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From Velvet Storm Photography

We love working with Gina, from her simplicity to the extravagant design it has always excited us inside, and we understand her creativeness completely… We always know that when we work with Gina we have massive opportunity to ‘think outside the box,’ and that is what we love! This shoot gave us a chance to really show the true talent that is Gina McAdam, and we are very proud of what the results were. The whole team on this shoot were amazing, and we all understood Gina’s thinking and pushed it to its limits.

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Credits

Photography – Velvet Storm Photography

Styling and headwear – Gina McAdam

MUA – Queen G Make-up Artist

Lingerie – Stephie Ann

Location – Hambledon House, Surrey

Models – Tamara Palmer; Emma Palmer